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April 06, 1966 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-04-06

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PAGE SIX

THE MfIHIAN DTAIM

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JORGENSEN AND NORTHERN ILLINOIS:
A Challenge AndA Vague Dream

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1I, lI

By RICK STERN1
(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first
of a two-part series looking at the
coaching prufession through the eyes
of Tom Jorgensen and reporter Rick
}Stern.)
There is a faraway look in Tom
Jorgensen's eyes when he sits at
his desk and begins to talk about
the future.
A buoyant enthusiasm seeps in-
to every sentence and Jorgensen
doesn't try to control it. Like a
high school kid fired up for a pro-
sect which seems too big for the
sturdiest adult, he excitedly de-
scribes his ideas and plans, ex-
plaining what they mean in terms
of himself and the team he will
coach.
You watch and listen to Jor-
gensen and suddenly you under-
stand what coaching is all about.
You sense the thrill and the charm
of the profession and you see how
far off base the critics are, who
would maintain that coaches are
nothing more than grown men
prostituting themselves for a
worthless kids' game. And you can
feel the central element, the very
essence of coaching, which under-

1 lies all of what Jorgensen is say- NCAA fame, and Jorgensen hopes Jorgy captained the basketball
ing. Challenge is the word for it, admittance will be gained soon. team here, and made the decision
and Tom Jorgensen now faces the No Padding to enter coaching partly over the
largest challenge of his career. ."We'll be playing some pretty objections of his fiancee. "I never

To De Kalb

t
i

Jorgensen, after six years as'
Michigan's freshman basketball
coach, will pack his bags and leave
for De Kalb, Ill., where he has
accepted the head coaching job at
Northern Illinois University.
Northern Illinois is not a well
known school, a virtual nonentity
in sports circles. But it now has
over 20,000 students and the ad-
ministration has decided that the
time has come to put it on the
athletic map, without damaging

C

the

school from an academic

standpoint. To do this they haveI
imported Jorgensen.I
Northern Illinois' first step to-l
wards becoming a basketball pow-
er was to drop out of the Illinois1
Athletic Conference, a small col-c
lege league which NIU had par-f
ticipated in for over 40 years. The
school has applied to the Ohio
Valley Conference, a league which
includes Western Kentucky of3

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tough schools next year," says Jor-
gensen. "Already we've scheduled'
Dayton, Bradley, Butler, Toledo,
and Eastern Kentucky, all on the
road."
It might seem as if it would be
better for Jorgensen to schedule
"easy" schools for the first few
years, from the standpoint of
building a reputation. "Sure, I
could pad my record by scheduling
easier teams, but it's not going to
improve the program. In the long
run it should pay off to schedule
tough teams, though I anticipate
that the first years will be tough."
Recruiting at Northern Illinois
has been stepped up ,also: The
school will give full athletic scho-
larships for the first time. Previ-
ously, financial aid was limited to
tuition and books.{
Hidden Talent!
Jorgensen has high hopes in the
recruiting area, too. After six
years and over a hundred scouting
trips for Michigan he hopes his
experience will pay off at NIU.
"You can't separate coaching from
recruiting, one is implicit in the
other. Sure it's an inconvenience
to spend your weekends traveling
around-Jim Skala and I see 40-
50 high school players a year-but
it's part of the success of any,
team."
The area around De Kalb is rich
in high school talent, nurtured by
the tradition that every boy owns
his own basketball from age six
up. Jorgensen hopes to find the
talent hidden in the school yards
there, as well as 90 miles north
in the asphalt jungles of Chicago
where 6'9" potential All-Americans
will often whither anonomously
on street corners.
Taken for Granted
The path which has finally led=
Jorgensen to a head coaching spot
is typical of many young coaches
on the south side of Chicago. Born
to a family of athletes, it was tak-
en almost for granted that Jor-
gensen would excel in sports. "My
dad was an athlete in college, and
both my older brothers were state
high school tennis champions.
The oldest, John, played pro bas-
ketball for the Lakers, before go-
ing into business. "Both of my
brothers were out of sports by the
time I got to Michigan, and both
of them urged me to stay in it."

wanted to be married to a coach,
says Mrs. Jorgensen, now a special
education teacher in Ann Arbor.
But she married him anyway
and doesn't regret it. "The people
in coaching have been wonderful
and I have really come to appre-
ciate the field. The out of town
trips are the roughest aspect, but
there are many professions where
the husband is away even more.
And Tom spends all of his free
time with the family."
Leaving Michigan, Jorgensen
was hired as head coach at Mau-
mee High School outside of To-
ledo. "When I went there, "I
thought I knew a lot," he grins.
"But I had never actually seen
an Ohio high school game. By
Christmas we were two and nine."
But all worked out well. In two
years Maumee had taken a league
championship and Jorgy was off
to the ranks of Michigan Class
'A.' He spent one ,year at Mt.
Pleasant High School, enjoying a
mediocre regular season, and then
wrecking havoc in the state tour-
nament. Underdog winner three
straight times over top ranked
teams, Jorgensen and Mt. Pleasant
did not succumbuntil the regional
finals.
Ambition Beckons
Mrs. Jorgensen might have been
content to stay a high school
coach's wife forever. "I loved the
atmosphere involved in high school
coaching. Everybody knew every-
body else and boys would drop over
during the weekend to play ball
in the driveway. In college you
don't get this." But ambition filed1
her husband. If a coach was once
a collegiate star, he wants to get
back there.
It was 1960 and Dave Strack
had been recalled from Idaho. He
brought Jim Skala from Eastern
Michigan and then drafted Jor-
gensen as a second assistant.
Winning First
Jorgensen cites Strack as play-
ing a major role in shaping his
career. "Dave has been a tre-
mendous help to me. In my coach-
ing at NIU I hope to do the type
of job he has done here. Of course,
he was here as an assistant when
I played. And I've spent a greatI
deal of time with that fella sitting
in the next office (Skala). The
three of us have gotten along

very well and it's been a privilege
and a pleasure to work with Dave
and Jim."
But what about the philosophy
of coaching-what is it that makes
a coach tick? "Winning is impor-
tant. Maybe it's even the main
thing. It's been more fun the last
three years than the first.
"But there are many more
things about coaching that I en-
joy. When I get up in the morning,
I truly look forward to my day at,
the office and at practice. How
many business men can say this?
No Waste
"And then when you're sitting
on the bench you look in the
stands and see the people enjoyiNg
themselves and you know you're
not wasting your time. Basketball
is American, just as much as in-
surance or politics. Look how many
great people have been part of"
sports before going on to some-
thing else."+
In a sense Jorgensen even looks
at himself as a professor 'who
chooses to specialize in a particu- i

lar field. "Recreational and intra-
mural athletics are all part of the
over-all picture of sports. But I've
chosen to limit myself to the su-
perior, athlete and I derive my
satisfaction from work in this
area."
Mrs. Jorgensen commented on
her husband's particular position
at Michigan. "Being the number
two assistant might not seem like
the most important job and I'm
sure it's not at many schools. But
Dave has always made it impor-
tant and kept it interesting.
There really wasn't a prescribed
heiararchy or anything like that."
Mrs. Jorgensen too is adequately
excited about her husbands new
position. "I really feel like we're
getting in on the ground floor
with a chance to build something
up. It's a great opportunity for
Tom."
But life isnt just a bowl of
cherries. There are hazards in the
coaching profession, too. Jorgen-
sen discusses these in the next
installment.

*I

Tom Jorgensen and Youngest Recruit

0

*

i

The
SBy Jim Tjd
Although aMaster of Monopoly might be out of the question,
anyone could get a solid footing in business simply by playing
Monopoly every day instead of going to class.
Besides its academic and practical values, Monopoly can be
seen as a citizenship"acquaintance test. When citizens in foreign
countries or potential American residents want to know whit the
country is really like, instead of showing them Al Capone and Tom
Mix pictures, why not give them translations of the game of
Monopoly? What could be more American than having your success
hang on a toss of the dice? A man's salary remains at a steady
$200 while he runs through the maze of life's four streets, but an
exegenous push (as economists like to say) can change standard of
living in one blow. He who has gotten a "Take a Walk on the
Broadwalk" or a "Pay Property Taxes on Each House and Hotel"
card knows what I mean.
A budding monopolist is encouraged to buy real estate and
build on it. Is there a more successful and practical way of making
money in the United States today?.Besides knowing how to spend
his money, a Monopoly expert knows when-buy as much as you
can as fast as you can.
Monopoly is the Bible of board games-it has sold more
sets than any other game ever produced. Have you ever heard
of , a "Candyland," "Careers," or "Uncle Wiggly" marathon?
Certainly not, but Monopoly has entered this field, and should
replace not only Scrabble but baseball as the national pasttime.
In the past few years, the price of Monopoly sets has gone up
from $3.00 to $5.00 which must certainly be indicative of the demand
for the world's greatest board game. The price has changed, but
the set hasn't. This is American in itself, but it lends a note, of
tradition to the game too. Today you can Walk into any toy store
and buy a beauuutifulll white marker, a milkpail, a turquoise paper
sticker, a black blob, and a red incense burner all cleverly carved
in wood. Monopoly money has become an accepted means of exchange
in tree houses and games of "Dress Up" and "Store" (both of which
are rainy day favorites).
One of the best points of the game is the horrendously long
time that it take to play. Once a game is in progress, any partici-
pant with the self discipline to leave the gaming table will be
faced with opposing players' demand that he find a replacement.
There is no finer way to spend a rainy Saturday or a few hours
after dinner than wheeling and dealing on the Monopoly board.
Although Monopoly clubs have not been springing up as rapidly
as one might expect, there are qute a few expert players around who
could be talked into one evening of Monopoly a week. Experts are
denoted by those who move their markers directly without counting
the squares, demand their $200 salaries when the banker is momen-
tarily lax, refuse to pay rents after the dice have been tossed' by
the next player, and always own the cheaper monopolies but break
your back putting cheap hotels on them (the hotels you remember
are a light red, or vice versa, if you please).
Monopoly is all board games rolled into one as well as being
good practice for the business man, a sport for experts, and a pasttime
for children. All Hail Monopoly, the All-American game.

w

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