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January 19, 1971 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, January 19, 1971

Page Eight THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, January 19, 1971

PEACE CORPS
-NEEDS PEOPLE in math, biology,
chemistry, physics, health, science,
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PROFESSIONAL' PSYCHOLOGIST:
Loken skill

JAN. 18-22

3529 S.A.-B.

._

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Would You Like to Learn

By KEN COHN
There is a small hand-lettered
sign hanging in Coach Newt Lo-
ken's tiny office, which reads,
It is not now
As it hath been of yore
Turn where so ever I may
By nite or day
The things which I have seen
I now can see no more.
Mawkishly sentimental? Pos-
sibly. Lousy poetry? Quite like-
ly. Undeserving of one's appre-
ciation? Hopefully not.
There is something strangely
whimsical about seeing this
short ditty juxtaposed w i t h
three walls-full of memorabilia
of Loken's 30-plus years in the
world of gymnastics.
Coach Loken will say, with ev-
ident sincerity, that he "tries
not to look back, except for fond
memories."
But in his case, fond memor-
ies are plentiful, and the photos
of past team captains and stars
and the clippings dealing with
the great Michigan tradition
are the most palpable symbols
of those past glories.
Newt Loken's name and face
areuamply represented on the
walls, from the Life magazine
write-up of a college boy na-
tional champion, to local news
coverage of the coach of last
year's squad, the National Col-
legiate Athletic Association's

best. But then, it can be safely
said that Newt Loken and 'he
Michigan gymnastic legacy are
one and the same.
If nothing else, he is certainly
the common denominator. Be-
fore him, there were no gym-
nastics here, as such.
After growing up in Minne-
apolis and copping a state gym-
nastics title, after graduating
from the University of Minne-
sota, the site of his NCAA all-
around championship, and after
serving a stint in the Navy, he
came to Michigan in 1945 for
his masters' degree.
Loken served the next year as
the coach of the "Maize and
Blue Gymnastics Club," whose
impressive membership of eight
toured and performed at bas-
ketball games, school assemblies,
clinics, and the like.
It is impossible to tell exactly
what part Loken played in the
Athletic Board's subsequent ac-
tion, but as he unassumingly de-
scribes it, "the board figured as
long as the team was organized
and performing, it might as well
enter varsity competition."
That it did, with Loken at the
helm. There were lean years, of
course - a long stretch of run-
ner-up finishes to powerhouse
Illinois. But t h e '60's brought
untrammeled success-nine Big
Ten championships in ten years,

it b
including a national title in 1963
and last year's climatic victory
in the finals at Philadelphia.
Now, in his 24th year of mold-
ing excellent college athletes in-
to even better gymnastic cham-
pions, Loken refrains from dwel-
ling for too long on last week's
triumphs, much less last year's
or the last decade's.
"I have seen the level of skills
improve among my gymnasts, if
anything," he comments. "Their
level of aspirations, willingness
to work and desire to win are
just as strong as before.
"But beyond that, I think
there is a higher sense of world-
ly awareness in today's youth.

time at football and basketball
games, I helped organize tumb-
ling and gymnastics exhibitions
for entertainment." He later be-
c a m e a member of an All-
American cheerleading team in
his college days and still helps
to conduct clinics on the sub-
ject today.
An expert diver in high shool,
Loken made the difficult deci-
sion to pursue gymnastic excel-
lence; the further fact that Lo-
ken today holds a Ph. D. in ed-
ucation makes one look again
at this archtypal booster, who
has acted as sole director and
producer of a 23-year holdover
show.

"t: .;..e; : =$ '; } {i f:} ": ; :. ;{ : .} .

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"I think there is a

higher sense of worldly

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awareness in today's youth. There's a great
amount of perspective, for example, about how
gymnastics fits into one's life."
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Attribute it to t h e media, or
whatever, but it's there. There's
a great amount of perspective,
for example, about how gymnas-
tics fits into one's life."
His secret of success? "Most
of my philosophy is one of hust-
ling. If a gymnasts is working
hard, he will enjoy it more, and
I enjoy working with him
more."
At first b 1u s h a hackneyed
thought, but Loken lives h i s
teaching philosophy.
He literally does not s t o p
hustling - felicitously acting as
public relations man in his of-
fice one moment, enthusiastical-
ly pushing his squad members
on to new heights of dedica-
tion in the gym a few minutes
later, finally trotting off like a
college kid to play a set of ten-
nis.
The quantity and richness of
Lokenalia is astounding, at least
for those who are somewhat fa-
miliar with the -man and his
compact domain in t h e I-M
Building.
Besides numerous authorita-
tive manuals on the intricacies
of gymnastics, Loken has writ-
ten an impressive-looking tome
on the art, believe it or not, of
cheerleading.
"In high school, during half-

Clearly, something besides
mere gymnastic knowhow has
made for a winning career and
an unsurpassed reputation in
his field.
Obviously, superior teams have
been the direct cause, and this
has resulted largely from Lo-
ken's recruiting efforts.
In such a highly stylized and
competitive sport, only the best
high school stars can even hope
to make a college team, and Lo-
ken is particularly adept at
finding them, whether in Illi-
nois, the hotbed of champion
prep gymnasts, or in Canada,
from where three present team
members hail.
Another elecment of success
has been Loken's ability to men-
tally refine his gymnasts into a
championship frame of mind-
an attribute which takes on tre-
mendous importance in light of
the singularly individual nature
of gymnastics and the necessity
for developing fine technique
and a winning attitude f r o m
within.
"He's not an amateur psycho-
logist," comments high bar man
Jim Scully. "He's a professional
one."
"He knows e a c h person's
character, and thus deals with
each person in his own way,"
adds all-arourider Pete Rogers.
"He is basically a great analyst
and he tries to teach us to like-
wise analyze, to perceive a sit-
uation and its consequences -
for instance, to size up the
equipment, our opponents, even
the judges at a meet."
Assuming that no sport may
require m or e mental maturity

than does gymnastics, it is no
surprise that the academic level
is so high among its partici-
pants.
"The grade point average for
this team is the highest in the
country, over 3.0," comments
Rogers, "and it requires a lot
of coaching skill to handle a
group of guys like this, diverse
in interests, temperament, and
age, and who are pretty intelli-
gent besides. Coach Loken real-
izes he can only provide the da-
ta. We have to provide the re-
sults."
Loken is tremendously image-
conscious; little else could be
expected of a leading personal-
ity in a sport which has receiv-
ed perilously sparse publicity in
comparison with other sports.
He has not avoided inevitable
differences of opinion on the
hair-on-athletes i s s u e; but
whether his attempts to effect
conformity are justified or not,
Loken spurs the belief that he
is honestly trying to maintain
the sports' image, not his own
ego.
Observing L o k e n envelope
himself completely in a work-
out might lead one to conclude
that he lives only for gymnas-
tics and the pot of gold known
as a national title. No picture
could be more false.
"With Coach Loken, winning
is only part of a complex
scheme," insists Rogers. "I don't
think winning is his ultimate
goal."
That may sound absurd in to-
day's Super Bowlistic world, but
it is probably true. If there were
a difference, Newt Loken mould
probably take 25 individual
champions over one champion-
ship team, and if they were mu-
tually exclusive, would undoubt.-
edly -prefer one mature young
man over a topnotch gymnast.
Vince Lombardi would roll ov-
er in his grave.

of

4

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w
3
3
2
2
2
1
0
0
0

L
0
0
0
0
1
2
3
3
2
2

Pct.
1,000
1.000
1.000
1.000
.667
.333
.000
.000
.000
.000

lv
8
9
8
9
7
6
5
5
4

L
2
3
4
4
3
5
7
6
6
8

Pct.
.800
.750
.667
.667
.750
.583
.462
.455
.455
.333

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Today's Game
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Saturday's Games
Ohio State at Minnesota
MICHIGAN at Northwestern

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