Arthur Evans Appreciation Post

Arthur Evans Appreciation Post

Submitted by ProfMurdoc on November 30th, 2015 at 10:55 PM

I like knowing things.  

So when I heard someone on Twitter remark that the Baylor "Sailor Bear" logo and the "Wolverbear" Michigan logo that's been popping up (more?) recently, it got into my head and,  in lieu of being able to focus on anything worthwhile I had to go waste some time sorting it out. 

 

Apparently I'm not the first.

 It's been referenced recently on this very forum.  So, in case you are also interested here's some mascot history that will surely be useful to you in the future. 

 

Not too long after Moe's birthed the collegiate sportwear industry over on North University, it seems it was already a big business nationwide. At this same time spare tires went from decoratively placed on the rear of your car to buried in the trunk. This killed some prime car logo real estate as well as the demand for such printed material. So, an enterprising car tire cover printing executive (because that's a thing that existed) shifted gears and got his chief doodler, Arthur Evans, to pump out college mascot designs that could be slapped on all manner of sellable goods. Any and every college that did or did not want a cartoon animal on the merchandise got one. I get the impression that official licensing was not yet a thing and that it was not always the universities themselves commissioning the mascots, so much as local businesses in a college town making their nut. 

[An equally interesting essay might focus on how Universities started owning/controlling their names and image]

 

So now we have a situation where not only do Baylor and Michigan share a strikingly similar image that represents two different animals, but doppelgängers abound all over college sports apparel. Our wolverbear isn't the only repeatedly-used cartoon mammal

Three schools in the SEC alone use the same Tiger logo by different names.

 

 To alumni of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, he’s known as “Tommy Tiger.” Auburn University’s legions of football fanatics refer to him as “Aubie.”The nation’s 33rd president and Show Me State native provided the moniker for “Truman the Tiger” at the University of Missouri. But to devotees of Louisiana State University, he’ll always be “Sailor Mike.”

Oxy Magazine 

 

The common thread? The sure way to locate an Arthur Davis original?

Sailor hats. 

Why? Who knows

 

Just wanted to share.

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1980

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1980

Submitted by saveferris on August 30th, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Previous MGoHistory [1986, 1971, 1997, 1989]

As the long winter that is the college football offseason approaches its merciful conclusion, we pause once again to review the glory of Michigan past before we witness what is sure to be the glory of Michigan future.  So enter the TARDIS and join me and The Doctor as we take a look at the year that was….1980.

America enters a new decade as a country suffering, as President Jimmy Carter refers to it, a “crisis of confidence”.  Watergate and Vietnam have left the American people disillusioned with their government.  The US economy, battered for the better part of the previous decade by recession, inflation, gasoline shortages, and high unemployment has many doubting in the future of the country.  Adding insult to injury, the Soviet Union’s brash invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis calls into question America’s position on the world stage.  The morale of the country in 1980 is not good. 

Enter this guy.  Former actor and governor of California, Ronald Reagan, bringing a message of optimism and hope, wins a landslide victory in November to become the 40thPresident of the United States.  Reagan’s policies of increased deficit spending and lower taxes help pull the economy out of the doldrums of the 1970’s and sends the American consumer culture into overdrive, a culture that is still strongly imprinted on America to this day.

The countrys’ morale is also given a big boost in 1980 by these guys.  The XIIIth Winter Olympic games in Lake Placid, NY open under the specter of a US-lead boycott of the upcoming Summer Games in Moscow in protest of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  Rather than lead a boycott of their own, the Soviets attend the US-hosted games determined to humiliate the Americans on their home soil.  The event the Soviets are most favored to win is the mens hockey tournament, where the Soviet National Team has been widely regarded as the best hockey squad for going on 20 years.  The US National Team is a collection of 20 college amateurs lead by Minnesota Head Coach Herb Brooks and is not expected to compete for a medal.  The US team surprises many by scrapping its’ way into the medal round only to be faced with a semi-final match-up against the Soviets which nobody believes can be won.  In what is now referred to as the Miracle on Ice, the Americans stun the Soviets 4-3 and then go on to win the gold medal by defeating Finland in the final.  The US win in hockey sparks a wave of patriotism throughout the country and is widely regarded at the greatest sports upset in history.

Other notable news items of the year is the eruption of Mt St. Helens in Washington state which kills 57 people and causes upwards of $3 billion in property damage.  The Voyager 1 space probe has a rendezvous with the planet Saturn, giving humans their first up-close look at the spectacular rings around the planet.   The Chrysler Corporation, headed by Lee Iacocca, negotiates a federal loan to avoid bankruptcy.  Consumer products like Post-It Notes, the Rubiks Cube, and the video game Pac-Man appear.  And the Information Age gets somewhat of a start with the development of the telephone modem and the launch of CNN, which will ultimately lead to the 24 hour news cycle and the ubiquitous presence of the media in everyday life.

In the sporting world, 1980 is a banner year for Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania professional teams are represented in every major sporting championship contest in 1980.  The Pittsburgh Steelers, lead by future Hall of Fame quarterback and NutriSystem pitchman Terry Bradshaw, win their 4thSuper Bowl championship by defeating the LA Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.  On the ice, the Philadelphia Flyers fall to the New York Islanders in 6 games of the Stanley Cup Finals.  On the hardwood, the 76ers featuring the legendary Julius Erving lose the NBA Championship in 6 games to the LA Lakers and a rookie Magic Johnson.  The Commonwealth is redeemed by the end of the year when the Mike Schmidt leads the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title, defeating the Kansas City Royals in 6 games (this is not a typo, KC was at one time very good at baseball).

In the entertainment world, people watch “Dallas” by the millions and everyone becomes obsessed with the question of , “Who shot JR?”.  Other popular television programming includes “Three’s Company”, “Little House on the Prairie”, “The Love Boat”, and “The Dukes of Hazzard”.  On the big screen, we flock to see “The Empire Strikes Back” and learn that {SPOILER ALERT} Darth Vader is Luke’s father.  Nobody flocks to see “Heaven’s Gate”, which winds up bankrupting United Artists; and we are all blessed with some of the great comedic releases of all time in “Caddyshack”, “Airplane!”, and “The Blues Brothers”.

On the radio we are enjoying the post-disco sounds of Blondie and Kool and the Gang.  We rock out to power bands such as Queen and AC/DC, who release their classic album “Back In Black”.  The rumblings of a second British invasion are also starting to be felt in New Wave bands such as Devo, The Talking Heads, and David Bowie.  Sadly, the music and entertainment world are dealt a stunning blow late in the year with the murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman. 

Meanwhile, in Ann Arbor, morale is high.  Michigan Football is entering its second century of existence and head coach Bo Schembechler only a year removed from having won the Ten Year War against his nemesis Woody Hayes, sits atop the conference as the master of the Big Ten.  Team 101 is one of Coach Schembechler’s most talent-laden squads featuring All –Americans George Lilja and Anthony Carter as well as future All-Americans Bubba Paris, Kurt Becker, Ed Muransky,  Butch Woolfolk, and…..Anthony Carter.  The Wolverines, coming off a lackluster 8-4 record the previous season begin the season ranked 12thin the country only to fall to 1-2 and out of the polls early in the season with heartbreaking losses to Notre Dame and South Carolina by a grand total of 5 points.

Once conference play is underway though, Michigan finds its legs and rolls through opponents by massive margins including three straight shutouts of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Purdue to set up another showdown with Ohio in Columbus.  The 10thranked Wolverines face off against 2ndyear coach Earle Bruce and the 5thranked Buckeyes with the conference and Rose Bowl hanging in the balance.  Michigan grinds out a 9-3 victory earning  Schembechler his 9thBig 10 title and 6thRose Bowl appearance.

Leading up to Rose Bowl contest against Pac-10 Champion Washington, the primary focus of the media was on Schembechler’s bowl record, which included 5 losses in Pasadena and a loss in the Orange Bowl and Gator Bowl.  Inspired to break the streak, Michigan plays an inspired 2ndhalf, lead by Rose Bowl MVP Butch Woolfolk’s 182 rushing yards to crush the Huskies 23-6 and earn Schembechler his first Rose Bowl Championship and Michigan’s first since 1965.  The 1980 Wolverines finished the season 10-2 and ranked 4thin the country and would be the pre-season Number One team the following season.

The 1980’s saw America emerge from the tumultuous 70’s to a new age of prosperity and affluence.  A parallel that can be drawn to the 1980 Michigan team that entered the season extremely talented but with low expectations coming off a lackluster season previously.  Has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?  As Team 134 embarks on the 2ndthird of Michigan Football’s 2ndcentury, we all wait expectantly to see if this is the year where Brady Hoke and his team of highly touted recruits finally takes hold and leads Michigan back to where it hasn’t been for 9 years, the Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl.  Hope you all enjoyed this stroll through the past and we’ll see you all after the conclusion of the season in 2014.  Go Blue!

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1989

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1989

Submitted by saveferris on March 13th, 2013 at 1:19 PM

[Previous MGoHistory: 1986, 1971, & 1997

We now find ourselves on a strange planet, standing before a large, rocky arch that emits an eerie glow.  Inside the arch scenes flash in rapid succession.  “What the hell is that?”, one of us asks.  Surprisingly the arch responds in a booming voice, “I am the Guardian of Forever!  I can be your guide to any time and place you desire!  Heed the instructions of the man next to you.”  We turn to find a tall, lithe man, with pointed ears dressed in a tight blue shirt staring impassively at a small black box that hums.  “When I tell you”, the strange man says, “step through the portal.”  We turn to each other and shrug.  His shirt isn’t red, so we must be in good hands.  “Go now!” he instructs.  We leap and hurl ourselves through time and space to find ourselves arriving in….1989.

The end of the 80’s kicks off with the end of the Reagan era, sort of.  Reagan’s former Vice President, George HW Bush is inaugurated in January, becoming the 41stPresident of the United States.  The Bush Administration starts off on a positive note when, in February, the Soviets withdraw the last of their troops from Afghanistan, ending their 9 year occupation.  Things take a turn for the negative in March as Americans discover the inconvenient truth that drunk tanker captain, plus broken navigation system, equals bad; resulting in the Exxon Valdex running aground and spills hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil into Prince William Sound off the coast of Alaska.  By spring, world attention turns to China as student protesters march on in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square demanding democratic reforms of China’s communist regime.  The demonstration ends violently in early June as China’s hardliners deploy the military to disperse the protesters, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths.  Meanwhile throughout the year, the Iron Curtain starts to crumble as Soviet-supported regimes across Eastern Europe are deposed in numerous free elections.  This wave of democracy propagates with astonishing speed and incredibly culminates, in late autumn, with the fall of Berlin Wall, symbolically ending the Cold War.

In other news, the American space probe, Voyager 2, makes the final planetary rendezvous of its mission when it flies by Neptune.  Author Salman Rushdie discovers that it’s a bad idea to piss off Iranian clerics after Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa for the publication of “The Satanic Verses”, forcing Rushdie to go into hiding for several years.  Later, he’ll be compensated for this inconvenience by getting to sleep with Padma Lakshmi.  Lastly, an anonymous computer scientist at CERN, Timothy Berners-Lee, invents a revolutionary internet-based information management system that he calls the World Wide Web.  The Web makes the internet accessible to virtually every person on the planet, revolutionizing the way humans communicate and eventually leading to mankind’s greatest achievement; blogs.

In sports, iconic players dominate the championship scenes of several leagues.  Joe Montana wins the 3rdof his 4 Super Bowls by leading the San Francisco 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16, in Super Bowl XXIII, with the great Jerry Rice earning MVP honors.  The Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys”, lead by Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, end years of frustration against the Celtics and Lakers, by besting the LA Lakers in 4 games to finally win the franchise’s first NBA championship.  In golf, British legend Nick Faldo wins his first of 3 Masters titles by defeating American Scott Hoch.  German tennis players dominate the pro circuit with Boris Becker being named the ATP Player of the Year after winning Wimbledon and the US Open.  Meanwhile, on the womens side, Steffi Graf continues her rise to making a claim as the greatest female player of all time by following up her 1988 Grand Slam with victories in 3 of the 4 majors, coming in as a runner-up only in the French Open.  In mid-October, the “Bay” Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants is interrupted 30 minutes before Game 3 by the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The Series is delayed 10 days before Oakland would complete a four game sweep of the Giants.

On the big screen, people flock to see Harrison Ford and Sean Connery quest for the Holy Grail in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”.  “Batman” is released and reinvigorates the superhero movie genre, which continues to thrive to this day.  Kevin Costner and Michigan Alum James Earl Jones star in “Field of Dreams”, which teaches us that “If you build it, he will come”.  And Morgan Freeman achieves mainstream stardom in the Oscar-winning “Driving Miss Daisy”. 

Television sees the premier of several programs that will be archetypes of the 90’s such as “Seinfeld”, “The Simpsons”, and “The Arsenio Hall Show”.  We also see the premier of such Saturday morning cult favorites “Saved By The Bell” and “American Gladiators”.  The year sees the departure of mainstay programming that had endured for decades prior.  “American Bandstand” and the original “Doctor Who” air for the final time.  TV in the 80's gets a symbolic farewell when “Miami Vice” airs for the last time.  In addition to TV programming, people amuse themselves with next generation video game consoles such as Sega Genesis and Ninetendo comes out with the GameBoy.

In other entertainment, more and more of America’s youth are listening to rap and hip hop.  Acts such as Public Enemy and “Fear of a Black Planet”, and N.W.A with their album “Straight Outta Compton” gain mainstream acceptance.  Former Michigan student Madonna continues to be pops biggest draw with her hit “Like A Prayer”, Poison releases the definitive hair metal power ballad, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, and boy band pioneers New Kids on the Block strike it big with their album, “Hangin’ Tough”.

In Michigan football, Bo Schembechler’s 21stMichigan team opens the 1989 season with a #1 vs #2 showdown against Notre Dame in Ann Arbor.  On a dreary, rainy September day, Michigan outplays the defending National Champions but the Irish still prevail 24-19 on the strength of two Raghib Ismail kickoff returns; leaving fans to this day wondering, “Why the {BLEEP} did we kick to Rocket Ismail again?!!”  Michigan would go on to win the remainder of their games that season, including a 28-18 victory over Ohio that clinched the outright Big 10 title and Michigan’s 10thRose Bowl berth under Bo.  The ’89 Wolverines featured All-American safety Tripp Welborne on defense.  The offense was lead by quarterback Michael Taylor along with what is arguably the best backfield in Michigan history in tailbacks Tony Boles and Leroy Hoard and fullback Jarrod Bunch.

The Ohio victory and conference championship proves bittersweet when fans and alumni are shocked in mid-December with Coach Schembechler announcing that the 1990 Rose Bowl would be his last game as head coach.  Stating that “Giving up my football team is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do”, a teary-eyed Schembechler names Assistant Coach Gary Moeller his successor.  Schembechler’s coaching career ends on a sour, but not unfamiliar, note when the #3 ranked Wolverines are defeated by the #12 ranked USC Trojans 17-10 in the Rose Bowl.  Bo’s last team finishes 10-2 and ranked 7th.  After 21 years as Michigan’s head coach, Bo leaves as the winningest coach in program history with a record of 194-48-5, accruing 13 Big 10 titles, 2 Rose Bowl titles, and 10 Rose Bowl appearances, and 17 bowl appearances overall.

While one coaching dynasty was coming to an end in 1989, another was gaining steam.  The 1988-89 Wolverine Hockey team posted their second straight winning season under Coach Red Berenson.  The team, lead by All-American defenseman Myles O’Connor, finished the season 22-15-4 overall and 17-11-4 (4thplace) in the CCHA.  The Wolverines also picked up the first of 13 Great Lakes Invitational titles under Berenson, defeating the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota.  While Berenson's program was still two seasons away from returning to NCAA Tournament play, Red makes one of Michigan hockeys most enduring contributions by introducing the winged helmet as part of the team's uniform on the eve of the CCHA playoffs, a design cue that seems impossible for hockey to go without today.

The 1988-89 Michigan basketball team starts the season expecting to compete for the Big 10 conference championship.  Lead by Coach Bill Frieder, the Wolverines feature a talented roster that includes seniors Glen Rice, Mark Hughes, and Mike Griffin, as well juniors Loy Vaught, Rumeal Robinson, Terry Mills, and Sean Higgins.  The Wolverines have a solid but underwhelming season finishing 24-7 and 12-6 in conference, 3rdbehind Indiana and Illinois and ranked 10thin the polls.  Entering the tournament, Michigan is a 3 seed in the Southeast Region and expectations are modest. 

Michigan’s chances in the tournament seemingly take a turn for the worse when, days before the opening round, Coach Frieder is dismissed by Michigan Athletic Director Bo Schembechler.  Upon learning that Frieder has accepted the job at Arizona State, Schembechler canonically declares, “A Michigan Man will coach Michigan” and installs Steve Fischer as interim coach.  Inspired by fiery pep talks from Schembechler and record setting scoring by Rice, Michigan wins games against Xavier, South Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia to earn a spot in the Final Four.  In the semi-final Michigan upsets 1 seed Illinois 83-81, forever earning the ire of the Illini and cementing Michigan as Illinois’ main rival, unbeknownst to most Michigan fans.  In the finals, Michigan battles Seton Hall to an 80-79 overtime win, the final margin being provided by two free throws from Robinson with just seconds to play, earning Michigan its first National Championship ever in basketball and Glen Rice is named the tournament Most Outstanding Player.

The 1989 Michigan basketball team was considered to be a group of talented underachievers heading into the NCAA Tournament, only to finally have all the pieces fall into place and go on an epic tournament run.  Many comparisons have been made between this years squad and that historic bunch.  With the conference championship just slipping through our grasp and our post-season journey about to begin, let us hope that the Wolverines of 2013 find some of the magic that struck in 1989.  Go Blue.

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1997

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1997

Submitted by saveferris on August 30th, 2012 at 3:22 PM

As kickoff for Team 133 approaches, our MGoHistory journey continues.  Our past stops in 1986 and 1971 found pleasant memories of Michigan glory past.  Now let’s set the Omni to a more recent time, a more familiar time.  We’re arriving just 15 years past (no way it’s been 15 years!) and the Omni shows green, which means history is right….oh so right.  We have arrived in 1997!

The 90’s are in full swing and the PC has become as ubiquitous a household item as the television.  This coupled with the rise of the World Wide Web on the internet has spawned the Dot Com boom.  Speculation into online businesses drives financial markets into huge gains worldwide, making countless computer geeks into millionaires overnight.  Riding the wave of this economic boom, Bill Clinton begins his second term as president after a landslide victory over Bob Dole the previous November.  On the surface, things seem to be running smooth for the president, but the turmoil of the Lewinsky scandal and his impeachment trial loom just a year away.

In Great Britain, Tony Blair wins the general election, becoming Prime Minister and sovereign control of Hong Kong is returned to China.  The British also cause a stir when Scottish scientists announce the successful cloning of an adult sheep, Dolly; and a little known children’s author, J.K. Rowling publishes her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone”.  Britain stays center stage on a sadder note when hundreds of millions mourn the untimely death of Princess Diana.

The Earth sees the return of comet Hale-Bopp for the first time in over 4000 years and NASA successfully lands the Pathfinder probe on the surface of Mars.  Justice is served for many in Oklahoma with the conviction and subsequent death sentence of Timothy McVeigh for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.  More positively, Steve Jobs returns to head a foundering Apple Computer where he will lead the next revolution in consumer technology that most of us take for granted today.

On the popular front, Americans line-up to see “Titanic” and Leonard DiCaprio becomes a star.  Americans also line up to see “Batman and Robin” and it almost ruins George Clooney’s career.   Young people the world over inexplicably go crazy for the Spice Girls and Hanson while fans of hip hop and rap mourn the passing of the Notorious B.I.G.  We all flock to our television sets on Thursday to watch “Must See TV” on NBC and see Ellen DeGeneres come out of the closet on ABC.  Animated TV achieves a few hallmarks when “The Simpsons” become the longest running animated primetime show while another animated cult classic, “South Park”, debuts on cable’s Comedy Central.

Brett Favre leads Green Bay to their first Super Bowl championship in 30 years, the Red Wings bring the Stanley Cup back to Detroit for the first time in 40 years, and the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan win the NBA championship for the 5thtime in 7 years.  Mike Tyson meets Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship, but rather than fight him, he tries to have him for supper.

For Michigan athletics, the 90’s were one of the great decades of the school’s history.  By 1997 Jon Urbanchek has built Michigan Swimming into a powerhouse, winning his 11thBig 10 title in 12 years.  Not to be outdone, the women’s swim team under Jim Richardson wins their 11thstraight Big 10 title.  Women’s softball has also become the dominant program in the Big 10 under Carol Hutchins winning their 3rdstraight Big 10 tournament title and their making their 3rdstraight Super-Regional in the NCAA tourney.  Mens Baseball under Geoff Zahn wins the Big 10 Conference title as well.

The men’s basketball team also continues to be one of the elite teams in the Big 10 under Steve Fischer Featuring notable players such as Robert Traylor (may he rest in peace), Maurice Taylor, and Louis Bullock; Michigan hoops follows up an NIT championship in March by winning the inaugural Big 10 Tournament at the end of the 1997-98 season.  This all becomes overshadowed though with the breaking of the Ed Martin story in June which costs Steve Fischer his job, Michigan all of the banners it won during the decade, and creates a vacuum in Michigan basketball recruiting that allows MSU’s Tom Izzo to become a coaching legend.

In hockey, Red Berenson fields what is arguably one of the greatest hockey teams of all time.  The 1997 Wolverines are the defending National Champions and sport a line-up that include All-Americans Brian Wiseman, John Madden, Marty Turco as well as Hobey Baker winner Brendan Morrison.  The team also includes no less than 5 additional NHL players in Jason Botterill, Mike Legg, Bill Muckalt, Matt Herr, and Bubba Berenzweig. 

The Michigan icers win both the CCHA regular season and tournament championships and are overwhelming favorites to repeat as NCAA champions going to into the tournament.  Michigan cruised to the Frozen Four, dispatching Minnesota 7-4 only to lose in the semi-finals to Boston University in OT, 3-2 and illustrating the highlighting the frustrating fact about the NCAA hockey tournament, the best team doesn’t always win because pucks bounce.  This is why you must always hate BU…always….so much.  In terms of Michigan disappointments in athletics, the 1996-97 teams’ loss to BU has to rank near the top.

Michigan football in 1997 is lead by former assistant coach Lloyd Carr, who is in his third season as Michigan’s top guy.  Unlike the rest of Michigan athletics, the football team is in the midst of a malaise which has seen them finish four straight seasons with four losses.  Grumbling has begun amongst the Michigan faithful and some in the media snidely comment that the “M” in Michigan has come to mean mediocre.  With former walk-on Brian Griese being the starter by Carr over the stronger-armed Scott Dreisbach and Tom Brady and a meh 14thranking in the AP poll coming into their opener with #8 Colorado, expectations are guarded to say the least.

Of course, we all know how this turns out.  Michigan, lead by the legendary Charles Woodson and All-American Glen Steele never let anyone score…ever and Brian Griese heads a workmanlike Michigan offense to an undefeated season, it’s first Big 10 title since 1992.  The regular season is highlighted by an epic shellacking of #2 Penn State and a defeat of #4 Ohio in Ann Arbor to clinch a Rose Bowl berth.  Woodson goes on to win just about every award a player can earn, including becoming the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy, which Tennessee fans deem to be the greatest injustice ever….EVER!  Coach Carr is named Walter Camp Coach of the Year and Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann wins the Frank Broyles Award as the top coaching assistant.

Michigan goes on to defeat Washington State, lead by future NFL super-bust Ryan Leaf, 21-16 in the 1998 Rose Bowl securing the AP Poll National Championship.  Michigan enters the Rose Bowl the undisputed number one team in the country, but Nebraska splits the title off their impressive win over Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl and some strange final Coaches Poll shenanigans, prompting years of speculation from the Michigan fanbase over which coach screwed us.  I’m not saying it was Phil Fulmer, but karma is a bitch and Tennessee has had a pretty precipitous slide in the past decade and a half…just sayin’.

1997 may seem too many to be not that long ago, but it was pre 9/11, pre-Google, pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-Apple iPod/Phone/Pad, pre-reality TV, pre-Great Recession, pre-WiFi.  The world has changed a LOT in the past 15 years.  1997 was the culmination of a dominant era for U of M sports.  An era that saw the football program tower over Ohio and MSU, hockey rise to become the preeminent power in college, and basketball being one of the great programs in the Big 10*.  Let’s hope that the current caretakers of our beloved Maize and Blue are ready to give birth to a new era of Michigan domination that will make our hearts soar and our enemies’ heads explode in frustration.  Enjoy the season and we’ll pick this up again in the winter of 2013.

*vacated

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1971

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1971

Submitted by saveferris on May 23rd, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Since the stroll through 1986 came off pretty well, and since it’s the off-season, and since Seth asked for it, we step into the Quantum Leap accelerator, once again, and journey back into the glorious past to observe Michigan athletics as part of overall history.  We emerge in a time that will be unfamiliar to most of us, including yours truly as this is the year of my birth; a time without PCs, and cell phones, and ESPN, and internets, and blogs.  Journey back to the bizarre and colorful times that were….1971!

We are in the midst of Richard Nixon’s first term as president, where he shows a penchant for pointing at things. Vietnam is still going on and still unpopular.  It gets even more unpopular when the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers, and all the dirty secrets of the war that past administrations have kept from the public are brought to light.  On the international scene, the United Nations formally recognizes the Peoples Republic of China and also declares the first Earth Day, Idi Amin leads a coup and seizes control in Uganda, and IRA-led rioting in Northern Ireland grows worse against British rule.

Human exploration of the Moon continues with the Apollo 14 and 15 missions, with Apollo 15 featuring a crew of Michigan alumni (Space, Bitches….Space) and a sweet ride in the Lunar Rover.  The Soviet Union also achieves a technological milestone with the launch of Salyat 1, the world’s first orbiting space station.  Other milestones in technology include the release of the Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor.  Texas Instruments introduces the first pocket calculator sounding the death knell of the slide rule.  And, the first e-mails and chat rooms appear on the ARPAnet, the precursor of the modern Internet.

1971 is the year that many sporting legacies are born.  Joe Frazier defeats Muhammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” to set off one of the great boxing rivalries in history.  The great Roberto Clemente leads the Pirates to the World Series title.  In the NBA, future legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leads the Milwaukee Bucks to their only world title.  In other areas of sport, legacies are being solidified.  UCLA continues its era of dominance under John Wooden, defeating Villanova to earn their 7thtitle in 8 years.  The Montreal Canadiens win the 17thof what will be 24 Stanley Cups.  In the world of golf, Jack Nicklaus wins the PGA, rounding out the first half of his record 18 major championships.

In our spare time we watched television on just three stations.  We were offered edgy broadcasting like “All In The Family” and “The Odd Couple” and tamer fare like “The Partridge Family”.  On the big screen we were following the exploits of Popeye Doyle in “The French Connection”, Alex and his droogs in “A Clockwork Orange”, and we meet Dirty Harry for the first time.  On the music front, Led Zepplin IV is released, the Allman Brothers record At Fillmore East, Queen is formed, and Jim Morrison is found dead in Paris.

The music of Michigan was different during this time too.  The Michigan Marching Band is an all-men arrangement under the direction of the legendary William T. Revelli and are introduced with the less politically correct “Men, take the field!” during football pre-games.  Women would not be seen amongst their ranks for another year.  Women are not seen amongst the ranks of any of Michigan’s varsity sports in 1971, as Title XI is still a year away from passage into law. 

Bo Schembechler is in his 3rdseason as head coach of the Wolverines and fields one of his greatest teams and points at things while doing so.  Lead by All-Americans Reggie McKenzie, Billy Taylor, Thom Darden, and Mike Taylor, Michigan went 11-0 during the regular season and won Bo’s 2ndBig 10 championship.  Billy Taylor would finish his career as Michigan’s all-time rushing leader with 3,072 yards, a record that would stand for 6 years until broken by Rob Lytle.  Mike Taylor would go on to play 2 seasons for the New York Jets.  Reggie McKenzie would go on to a 13 year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks, blocking for the likes of OJ Simpson.  Thom Darden would be a 3 time All-Pro in his 10 seasons with the Cleveland Browns and is still the career-leader in interceptions for the franchise.

The season was highlighted by a thrilling 10-7 victory over Ohio in Ann Arbor.  The game’s memorable moment came late in the game when Darden came up with a win-preserving interception that Woody Hayes insisted to the referees should have been called pass interference.  Hayes proceeded on a minutes-long tirade, ripping up yard markers, drawing 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and making an embarrassing spectacle that aired on news programs nationally…quite an accomplishment in the days before 24 hour media coverage.

Michigan’s season would end with another disappointing showing in Pasadena with a 13-12 loss to the Stanford Indians (Stanford would not become the “Cardinals” until 1972 and not the “Cardinal” until 1981).  Michigan came into the game ranked 3rdin the country and a 10.5 point favorite against the 8-3 Indians, but Stanford managed to edge out the Wolverines with a 31 yard field goal with 16 seconds to play.  The 1971 Michigan team would finish ranked 6thin the AP and 4thin the UPI and is commonly regarded as the team that came closest to earning Schembechler a National Championship, although it is debatable that even a 12-0 Michigan team would’ve passed up eventual champion Nebraska.

Well, that concludes our nostalgic step through 1971.  A time where clothes were bold and loud, phones were rotary dialed, and Michigan still didn’t sell out every home football game.  It’s hard to imagine a time without video games, personal computers, and 24 hour news coverage, but those times existed.  Here’s hoping that Michigan’s upcoming season sees Michigan back in the Rose Bowl undefeated against Stanford.  I got a feeling Hoke would serve up epic payback topped off with a pointed finger.

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1986

MGoHistory - The Year In Review - 1986

Submitted by saveferris on March 1st, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Since the men’s basketball team is still in the hunt for the Big 10 Conference crown, I feel inspired to look back at the year when Michigan last saw it’s hoopsters as the top of the conference heap.  Let’s journey back to 1986…

 

Ronald Reagan is president and disarmament talks with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev are in full swing.  It is the time of Perestroika and Russia is less scary than it used to be as the Cold War continues its denouement.

Reagan’s popularity takes a hit as the details of the Iran-Contra scandal begin to come to light.  Ferdinand Marcos is ousted from power in the Philippines and his wife’s shoe collection becomes an enduring punch line.  We learn about Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for the first time…and after we bomb Tripoli, we don’t hear from him all that much until the Arab Spring. 

It is the year of the Challenger tragedy and the Chernobyl disaster.  Halleys Comet paid the Earth a visit, the Dow Jones was approaching 2000 and we were joining Hands Across America.  It is the year the Bears did the Super Bowl Shuffle, Buckner doesn’t get his glove to the ground, and Larry Bird tastes champagne for the final time.  Jack Nicklaus wins his last major at 46, Argentina wins the World Cup in Mexico, and Mike Tyson becomes the heavyweight champion of the world.

If you were a teenager, like myself, then you probably had a crush on Alyssa Milano, and lusted after Kathy Ireland or Elle Macpherson.  You learned that Tom Cruise had a “need for speed” and Ferris Bueller explained to you that ‘life moves pretty fast”.  You still wanted your MTV, you watched movies on VHS, listened to music on cassettes, and didn’t know that television or music should be played in HD.  Aerosmith and Run DMC told us to “Walk This Way” while The Bangles wanted us to “Walk Like An Egyptian” and Bon Jovi just liked things “Slippery When Wet”.

1986 was also a pretty good time to be a Michigan Wolverine.  Men’s basketball finished 28-5, 14-4 in the Big 10 and repeating as Big 10 Champions.  That’s right, there was a time when the basketball team was a repeat conference champion.  Bill Frieder’s Wolverines were lead by stars Roy Tarpley, Antoine Joubert and Gary Grant.  Despite their conference title, Michigan continued their frustrating trend under Frieder of falling short of expectations in the NCAA tournament.  In 1986, Michigan entered as a 2 seed but lost in the 2ndround to Iowa State by 3.  Louisville, lead by “Never Nervous” Pervis Ellison would go on to win the tournament (the first tournament to feature a shot clock FWIW) over Duke, who were making their first Final Four appearance under Mike Krzyzewski (and featuring future Michigan coach Tommy Amaker).

On the football front, Bo Schembechler fielded one of his greatest teams lead by senior All-American Jim Harbaugh and Jamie Morris and featuring All-Americans Garland Rivers and John Elliot.  The Wolverines looked like a strong contender for the national championship, climbing to as high as second in the polls before losing on a last second field goal to Minnesota on the 2ndto last game of the season.  Of course the enduring memory of the season now is the Jim Harbaugh guarantee to beat Ohio on the heels of that loss and making good on that promise in Columbus, downing the Bucks 26-24 and winning a share of the Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. 

Michigan would go on to lose the Rose Bowl to John Cooper’s Arizona State Sun Devils, and finish 11-2 and ranked 7th.  Michigan would get the last laugh on John Cooper…or the last dozen laughs when Ohio hired him as their head coach 2 years later and inaugurating 13 years that Buckeye fans now refuse to acknowledge as happening.

The other dominant athletic program on campus was the baseball team, lead by Coach Bud Middaugh.  Having featured future MLB players such as Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo and incoming players such as Jim Abbott, Michigan was winning the 5thof the 6 Big 10 titles they picked up during the 1980’s.  Middaugh’s record would later be tarnished as Michigan would be placed on probation by the NCAA for violations incurred during Middaugh’s tenure.

Other Michigan sports were on the rise.  Two men who now lay legitimate claims to a spot on the Michigan Coaching Mount Rushmore were early into their tenures in Ann Arbor.  John Urbanchek was leading the mens swim team to the first of what would be 13 Big 10 titles over the course of his 22 years at Michigan.  The Michigan hockey program under Red Berenson was only in Year 2-3 of rebuilding in 1986.  Our helmets had no wings, Yost had few fans, and Tiny Jesus was a year away from even being born.   Glory seemed remote and fanciful as we were mostly suffering the indignity of living in the shadow of a Michigan State team that was winning the National Championship.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll through “recent” history, especially since a lot of you probably weren’t even born yet.  Just remember that while 1986 may be nostalgia for a lot of you, for some of us it was a time where a guy could wear pastels without being looked at funny, cell phones were something found in prison, and news was disseminated on paper.  Here’s to hoping that should Michigan earn a share of the Big 10 title this year, we won’t have to wait another 26 years for the next one.  Go Blue!