Favorite Michigan Minor Sport Athlete Ever?

Submitted by BursleyHall82 on April 8th, 2015 at 11:43 AM

The success of wrestler Adam Coon this year got me to pondering: Who are our favorite Michigan minor sport athletes of all time?

For purposes of this discussion, let's say that baseball is NOT a minor sport. So, not counting football, men's basketball, hockey or baseball, who's your favorite Michigan athlete ever?

I'm going to say a guy from back in my day - wrestler Steve Fraser. He was a stud at U-M, and he won a gold medal in Greco-Roman at the 1984 Olympics. Here's his gold medal match.


How about you?



April 8th, 2015 at 11:50 AM ^

Mine is an indoor track athlete who only competed his freshman year.  From his track bio on MgoBlue, he "finishted ninth in the 60-meter dash at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, missing out on the finals by four-thousandhs of a second...finished fifth in the 60-meter dash at the Meyo Invitational... won 60-meter dash (6.81) in collegiate debut against Ohio State in the "The Dual".

If only he continued his track career, he could have probably been pretty amazing.  I'll never understand why Denard Robinson gave up his indoor track sprinting ambitions...


April 8th, 2015 at 11:54 AM ^

But Jennie Ritter--pitcher who brought Hutch the National Championship in 2005.

I don't consider this a "minor" sport--but in the spirit of what you're asking.


April 8th, 2015 at 2:04 PM ^

Excluding people I knew personally, I'd go with Ritter. She was the key player on the first cold-weather team to break through and win a softball title.

That said, I would consider both baseball and softball to be minor sports because they draw crowds in the hundreds and don't get much media attention. To me, hockey and women's basketball are on the fence between major and minor.



April 8th, 2015 at 11:01 PM ^

and I get the spirit of the term..I just don't like it, because to the athletes that have trained and competed their whole lives, it isn't minor.

From a money making, popularity contest, then, it is what it is. So many good ones though. I do like your point--not only was that huge for Michigan, but that NC was the first ever for a cold weather team, and I believe any team East of the Mississipi. Since then, you've got Florida and Alabama. And now, really, there are many teams that compete at a high level. Ritter was a major cog, since we didn't really have another lights out pitcher, but there were some big bats on that team too. Fun times any time you can watch the school you root for beat the odds and win.


April 8th, 2015 at 11:31 PM ^

I agree with not really loving the minor term, but for me it's because for the vast majority of sports the Big Ten (or the specialty conference M is in) is major league.

It's not all that important but I thought I'd agree and try to add a thought.


April 8th, 2015 at 12:01 PM ^

An old buddy of mine by the name of Vic Hannak tried to walk on to the varsity hockey team in the late '90s. He made it as far as the Blue-White exhibition game before he was cut. So then he joined the little-known men's club hockey team. One day he invited me to one of his games. Hannak scored three goals, and spent about 30 minutes of the game in the penalty box for beating the ever-loving daylights out of some guy on the other team. Only problem was, Vic used to keep his equipment in the hallway outside his room, and for years I'd have to walk by it to get to mine. That's how I know hockey pads stink to high heaven.

901 P

April 8th, 2015 at 12:01 PM ^

I'm not familiar with many of the athletes from minor sports (I guess that's why they are minor sports!) but I did watch the softball championship game in 2005. Samantha Findlay hit a home run in the tenth to win it all, so she's got to be on the list!


April 8th, 2015 at 12:02 PM ^

I know it's baseball, but favorite non-football or basketball is Alan Oaks, mainly because of one swing...


I remember watching it happen live and going crazy.


April 8th, 2015 at 12:04 PM ^

Sierra Romero is competing with Jennie Ritter in these regards for me right now. How she changes games is crazy, but she's 1b to Ritter until she wins a NC.

Softball is hardly a minor sport here anymore, however. It's been a few years since I was more excited about our Hockey team than our softball team, and I've been skating since I was 3.


April 8th, 2015 at 12:06 PM ^

Bruce Kimball is the first name that comes to mind for me.  He always played second fiddle on the national (and international) stage to Greg Louganis but he represented Michigan well.

Bruce's career took a huge hit after leaving Michigan when he killed a couple kids while driving drunk.

Perhaps better representatives and role models are Charlie White and Meryl Davis.

Honk if Ufer M…

April 8th, 2015 at 6:14 PM ^

Wow, represented Michigan well? Kimball kids were always arrogant brats according to one of their teachers whom I know well. I met Bruce after the accident but before prison, very drunk and kind of a snotty dick.

He knew that spot was a kids hangout where they'd be in the street and sitting on cars when he went zooming in there.

Prince Lover

April 8th, 2015 at 12:26 PM ^

Women's basketball player in early 90s. She was great. But then things got a little ugly between the school and her after a bus accident left her blind in one eye and couldn't play anymore. Sad she couldn't play again.

She would play at the park where we always did when I was in high school, held her own against the boys. She was good.


April 8th, 2015 at 12:27 PM ^

I have to go with Nick Willis; dominant while at UM and later an Olympic silver medalist at 1500m while living in Ann Arbor throughout his career. Great guy too, I've met him a couple of times and seen him around campus over the years. He has organized an elite mile in Saline each summer that I recommend all to attend. 

His time at UM was really the heyday for UM T&F, especially indoor when he and Nate Brannen were so dominant and led the team to so many relay victories. I believe he won a couple of NCAA championships and multiple Big Ten championships.