Gaps in the historical record of Michigan Wolverine Sports History
Esteemed writer John U. Bacon has written another book the on college football. Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football, “…[which] searches for the sport’s old ideals amid the roaring flood of hypocrisy and greed, as he was embedded in four programs- Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Northwestern.” It joins Bacon’s other works; Blue Ice, Bo’s Lasting Lessons, and Three and Out, as mandatory reading for Michigan fans.
But what books should be written?
What gaps in the historical record still need to be filled?
I doubt that any of these men would write a no-holds barred account of their experiences but if they ever did it would be some amazing stuff.
Long time coach Fred Jackson has had a front row seat during the most turbulent times in recent Michigan Football history. Begin with that Jackson has been on staff for the four most recent head coaches; Gary Moeller, Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez, and Brady Hoke. Jackson was there when Gary Moeller left the program in disgrace. He won a National Championship with Carr, and the was sole coaching survivor after RichRod brought in his own staff. As the losses and and criticism mounted, not to mention the problems with the NCAA , Jackson survived. When RichRod exited the Wolverine stage, Jackson once again made the transition to a new staff being retained by new Coach Brady Hoke.
A great recruiter and a talented coach, Jackson is in a unique position to compare and contrast coaching regimes.
A polarizing figure for many, Lloyd did what Bo was never able to do- win a National Championship. A great coach by the numbers and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, fans would probably be most interested in his thoughts on close of this career and the subsequent transition to RichRod.
A noted history buff, it would be fun to imagine Lloyd penning chapters in line with his interests:
Appalachian State- My Personal Waterloo
I am not Benedict Arnold- I Didn’t Undermine Anyone
Old Soldiers Don’t Die, They Just Fade Away- My Perceived Lack of Support for Rich Rodriguez
Humorous chapter titles aside, there are many questions that Lloyd could address. Starting with the persistent rumors of health problems, his snarly attitude with some members of media, and feuds with former Wolverine Quarterbacks Jim Harbaugh and Rick Leach. What about his take on the athletic directors he has worked for?
Not to mention the elephant in the room- his behavior and attitude towards his successor Rich Rodriguez.
Did Lloyd really call Rodriguez to gauge his interest in the Michigan job?
What was he thinking when he offered to help his players transfer before Rodriguez arrived on campus?
What really went down when he met with Rodriguez for lunch at the Michigan Union to clear the air?
Rodriguez and his staff have aired their grievances. Lloyd declined to make himself available despite John Bacon’s efforts during the writing of Three and Out.
Someday Lloyd should answer these questions on the record. His answers would make for interesting reading.
It was Winston Churchill who said, “History is written by the victors.” Lloyd is allowing the final word on his career to be told by RichRod- and that is unacceptable.
The highs and lows of Webber’s Wolverine athletic career alone would make for a great book. From high school phenom to a cultural icon as leader of the Fab 5 his ill advised time-out crushed the hopes Wolverine fans. But his involvement in one of the largest NCAA scandals in history elevates his tale to the level of a Greek tragedy.
Many fans would like to see Webber and Fab 5 honored in some way by Michigan. Webber could go a long way towards rehabilitating his image with a thoughtful account of his disagreements with the NCAA and troubles as a reluctant witness during the federal investigation of bookmaker Ed Martin.
With former athletes challenging the NCAA right to profit from their likeness, a book by Webber would be most timely.
Chris could thrust himself back in to spotlight and perhaps help current college athletes in their quest for more compensation from the NCAA.
Michigan Assistant Athletic Director Bruce Madej recently announced his retirement. His career has spanned from Athletic Directors Don Canham to David Brandon, football coaches from Bo to Brady Hoke. His tenure began with stories written on typewriters and published via printing press and ends with reporters tweeting from the their smartphones to a global internet audience.
Madej has help the guide the coverage of virtually every major Michigan sports story for the last quarter century. He is a living encyclopedia of Michigan Wolverine history.
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