My (short) conversation with Thomas Wilcher

Submitted by jmdblue on June 3rd, 2015 at 10:20 AM

So I was at my daughter's track regional a few weeks ago and saw Coach Wilcher whose daughter was also competing.  We were both walking alone and I said hello.  He instantly assumed an expression of pure dread.  I told him we'd run against each other once in High School and he had taught me a little about what "fast" meant (as many know he was an All American sprinter/hurdler as well as being a tailback for Detroit Central and M).  His demeanor changed entirely and we chatted for a minute about our daughters.  My guess is he's so used to being accosted by strangers over football and recruiting that he automatically tenses up when he hears his name in public.  Anyway, not such a cool story bra, but thought I'd share.

Also, for a bit of straight up bragging, my kid did make the state meet exceeding all preseason expections! (proud papa here)



June 3rd, 2015 at 4:28 PM ^

Thomas Wilcher still holds the Michigan High School record in the 110 meter high hurdles at 13.6 seconds which he set in 1982. (He's still teaching people about "fast!)

Also of note is Tyrone Wheatley holds the Class B record in both the high hurdles at 13.7 seconds and the long jump at 23' 10.75" , and is one of only 4 athletes to ever win 4 state titles in a single meet when Tyrone won the 100, 200, long jump and high hurdles in 1991.

Mike Martin holds the Division 1 shot put record at 63' 9"






June 3rd, 2015 at 10:29 AM ^

on your daughter advancing!


Wilcher is a good friend of mine and was my track coach at Cass. He LOOOOOVES Michigan through and through, and set it up for my brother and I to walk on at UM football.


He is very humble also. 




June 3rd, 2015 at 10:30 AM ^

Congrats to your daughter!! 

And I'm sure you're right about what he usually deals with. I was a server in Birmingham in high school and we would get athletes in at the restaurant where I worked all the time. Sometimes people would bombard them, sometimes they'd be left alone. I always tried to act like I didn't know who they were so they could just enjoy a meal out like normal people! For Coach Wilcher, it's probably really uncomfortable, because he's probably always asked abour recruiting. 


June 3rd, 2015 at 10:34 AM ^

Was really hoping you were annoying and asked him about Urbz or where DPJ is headed. You made the right call in taking the anti fanboy approach though.


June 3rd, 2015 at 10:39 AM ^

Congrats to your daughter!

Hopefully it's just current football and recruiting Wilcher is tired of talking about. Because if I ever ran into him, I'd want to hear about HIS playing days under Bo. He was the one who scored the game winning TD against Ohio State in '86 (when Harbaugh guaranteed victory in Columbus), and there's no way I wouldn't be able to bring that up.


June 3rd, 2015 at 10:40 AM ^

Yeah, it's hard to imagine what someone with Wilcher's profile - particularly in and around Detroit and in football specifically - goes through on a daily basis when it comes to the conversations he's undoubtedly dragged into whether or not he wants to be part of them. I bet that was a nice change of pace for him indeed. Cool story indeed actually. 


June 3rd, 2015 at 11:42 AM ^

I have a friend who is 6'8". My brother introduced us, and I was warned that my friend HATES when people assume that he played basketball in high school. When I first met him, I looked him up and down and said, "You must play minigolf." He laughed and we became instant friends. I have actually used this on a few other tall people I've met (including one professor who helped me get started in my career) and they have all laughed. Goes to show you that by simply looking past the obvious, people will usually open up to you. 


June 3rd, 2015 at 10:48 AM ^

I can imagine he'd get quite tired after a while of hearing, "Hey coach, where do you think Player X is gonna go? You should really encourage him to go to Michigan, he'd be a perfect fit, etc. etc." 

Come's with the territory I suppose, but was probably refreshing to actually talk about track at his daughter's track meet. 


June 3rd, 2015 at 10:57 AM ^

I know people arent gonna want to hear this but the NICEST coach I've ever met in person was Jim Tressel.  I ran into him leaving a coaches banquet years ago with my son and I was wearing a M polo shirt and he stood and talked to us for at least 10 minutes and really made both me and my son feel good about talking to him.  

FWIW this was shortly after he got named HC at OSU and right after the meeting I called my brother to tell him if this new Ohio State coach was half as nice to recruits as he was to a random stranger wearing a Michigan shirt we were in trouble recruiting-wise in Ohio.


June 3rd, 2015 at 11:44 AM ^

As far as football coaching crimes go, lieing to cover up the fact that your players exchanged their own autographs for tattoos is pretty benign.  He deserved to get fired but the whole thing was overblown.  As usual the coverup is what did him in.  


June 3rd, 2015 at 4:16 PM ^

a lot of people perform unethical acts, and that might not have a whole lot to do with whether they are friendly in social settings.

What gets me is the way coaches or players who do charity work get gushed over so much. It's a part of their job, maybe even of their contracts. It's good that they do it, but it doesn't--by itself--prove that they're great people.

Everyone Murders

June 3rd, 2015 at 3:32 PM ^

That certainly explains that devious Mother Theresa!  Living amongst the poor in Calcutta?  An obvious ruse.

(Agreed, btw, that the fact that Tressel may have been well-mannered does not absolve him of his many transgressions.  And, as you point out, likely assisted him in perpetrating those transgressions.  Your brush seems a bit broad, but as applied to Tressel it seems spot on.)

The Mad Hatter

June 3rd, 2015 at 11:12 AM ^

He kicked our asses for a decade, and MSU has been kicking our asses lately playing Tresselball.  Cheater or not, he was a helluva football coach.

I'm not particularly fond of him, and I wouldn't want him coaching at Michigan, but I respect what he accomplished on the football field.

The Mad Hatter

June 3rd, 2015 at 11:45 AM ^

does that stuff have any impact on the field?  If we found out that he was passing out roids in the locker room (cough, sparty, cough) that would certainly give his players a competitive advantage.  But the only things that ever came to light were related to impermissible benefits.

Maybe the tattoo ink was made with HGH?


June 3rd, 2015 at 1:09 PM ^

 How the hell wouldn't that affect the performance on the field. Players came to the program who wouldnt have otherwise. Players stayed because of the benefits. You gotta be so dense not to see that. Hahaa, steroids? Hahahaha, players getting shit loads of cash doesnt attract 5 stars or anything. Hell, we might have had Pryor and won a National Championship if RR had him right off the bat. You are an ignorant fan.

Mr Miggle

June 3rd, 2015 at 1:32 PM ^

bomb sniffing dogs? Academic shenanigans and a smear campaign against the whistleblowing tutor? Why be so sure they weren't any steroids? Tressel didn't oversign. I'm not sure if any other forms of cheating were off limits under his watch. I certainly wouldn't make the assumption that everything has come to light.

The Mad Hatter

June 3rd, 2015 at 1:40 PM ^

that there wasn't more going on down there than what came to light.  But it all sounds like sour grapes to me.  See my link upthread about recruiting rankings.  Michigan was a couple spots higher than OSU from 02-11.  So even with nominally better players we still got our asses kicked.

Is he dirty?  Yes.  He's also a damn good football coach.


June 3rd, 2015 at 2:15 PM ^

lol at the Pryor Corvette thing. It's amazing how a pic can get totally changed into whatever people want it to be. You know that was a picture from prom, right? And traditionally, people borrow nice cars from neighbors and family friends to take their dates to prom in fancy cars, right? And that there are no other pictures of Pryor in a Corvette, other than that one of him at prom, right? My dad owns a yellow Corvette. My neighbor took his date to prom in it. I guess, he can't play NCAA sports, right? Jesus lord. Tatgate was a real thing that happened, this Corvette thing was not. 


June 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 PM ^

the mother fucker cheated his ass off, stole a bunch or recruits from us through illegal tactics, kicked our ass because of it, coached fucking maurice clarett, and built a wall around ohio, FUCK THAT CHEATING SCUMBAG 100 TIMES, and fuck you too for good measure. He set our program back almost as much as RR and Hoke did....ignant ass....