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March 26, 1981 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-26

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Mark Mihanovic
olverine base ball ...
.. most entertainin g show in toawn
T HE MOST ENTERTAINING team in Michigan athletics is not cracking
pads under the gleaming eye of Bo Schembechler on the Tartan Turf.
, or did it just finish its season getting blown out on the hardwood at
Syracuse. Nor on the ice at Michigan Tech.
4?Rather, it is in Florida at the present, winning a game here and losing one
Were, priming itself to come north and play the type of baseball that sent it
Q the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska last summer.
: It's exciting baseball that Bud Middaugh's Wolverines play, the kind that
given non-hardball fans can grow to enjoy. A bunt single .. hit and run .. .
double steal ... suicide squeeze ... Middaugh had them doing all that last
year, and he had them doing it all the time.
A walk down to Ray Fisher Stadium last April or May and a buck to get in-
side was all that was necessary in order to witness the epitome of the percen-
tage gambler in action. And the more Middaugh gambled, the more the per-
centages seemed to swing in his favor. The 1980 Michigan baseballers
Seemed almost an extension of their coach. They added a new dimension to
the phrase "take the extra base." Once in a while, outfielder Jim Paciorek
or catcher Gerry Hool would flex their muscles and allow themselves the
pleasure of jogging around the basepaths. But for the most part, it was a
track meet.
To truly appreciate the extent to which the Blue batsmen caught the
imagination of those who watched them last spring (many of whom are cer-
tain to be perched in the Fisher stands at next Tuesday's opening
doubleheader versus Grand Valley State), one should be aware of the
squad's status as it entered the campaign.
Nobody gave him a chance
Middaugh assumed the significant task of replacing a 17-year fixture in
the Wolverine dugout, Moby Benedict. He
also assumed the task of replacing
' , graduates Steve Perry and Steve Howe on
the pitcher's mound and Rick Leach in the
outfield. He took one look at the Michigan
roster and decided that he would, ap-
propriately enough, have to gamble with
young pitchers in order to be successful.
Nobody gave him much of a chance to
finish in the first division in the Big Ten.
After a mediocre Florida swing in which
S they went 6-7 (similar to their current 5-4
mark), the Wolverines hadn't changed
many minds. Somewhere on the flight nor-
th to Ann Arbor, however, the team
changed its identity, Because that
ridiculously inexperienced pitching staff,
sporting three freshmen (Scott Dawson,
Middiaaaugh Steve Ontiveros, and Scot Elam) and
.. made team exciting junion Mark Clinton, threw six shutouts in
Michigan's first eight outings. The
momnentum carried over into a 14-2 Big Ten season and the conference
championship. They followed that by sweeping through its three Mideast
regional contests by the combined score of 28-7 to advance to the World
series. There they defeated powerful California, 9-8 in a classic 11-inning
"heartstopper before succumbing to the superior talent present in Omaha.
Unusually exciting baseball
Those are the facts. The Wolverines weren't supposed to beat anybody,
and they beat about everybody. But what made them so much fun to watch
was their style of play. As the Michigan weather became more and more
cooperative in late April-early May, fans trekked to the stadium, their
.sunglasses set on their foreheads and twelve-packs of Budweiser (or Miller,
for the sake of fairness) under their arms, anticipating an afternoon of ex-
citement unusual for a baseball crowd.
Much of baseball's charm lies in its relaxed, easy pace. Spectators can go
to the game, eat, drink, talk to friends, and still catch all of the action. With
Middaugh running the show, though, one better not take one's eyes off the
field too often or for too long.
Now, however, the coach faces an opposite set of circumstances from
those of one year ago. This time around, the Wolverines are top dogs and
won't be surprising anyone, unless the surprises are of a negative nature.
With the exception of All-American George Foussianes and Chuck Wagner
who hit .424 in conference play last season), essentially everyone is retur-
So will the Wolverines, to use a cliche, forget what got them where they
ale? Will overconfidence be a factor?
Z No. Emphatically. Not with Bud Middaugh driving them. In fact, we may
fee a perennial Mideast power developing here. As long as the coach keeps
rolling the dice.

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High Balls 13-15-15, K.U. Jayhawks 15-8-1t
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E. Umlauts 15-15, Borderlites 9-11.
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Offers simple, clean, cooperative living
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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 26, 1981--Page
Tuilsa takes NIT title, 86-84

NEW YORK-Despite Erich Santifer's 29 points,
the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes turned back the
Orangemen, 86-84, in overtime, to capture the NIT
Championship at Madison Square Garden last night.
After grabbing Eric Moss's airball, Santifer scored
on a layup at the buzzer to send the game into over-
time at 82-82,
Syracuse trailed in the game until 15 minutes left in
the second half. They eventually built up a seven-
point lead behind a tough zone defense and clutch
shooting by Santifer.
ONCE THEY got the lead Syracuse went into a
slow down offense and suddenly lost momentum as
Tulsa fought back. The game see-sawed back and for-
th before Tulsa built up a 79-74 lead with only two
minutes left in regulation.
Sparked by missed Tulsa foul shots, Syracuse
stormed back and sent the game into overtime.
From watching the first half one can see why Tulsa
and Syracuse were in the NIT instead of the NCAA
tournament. Turnovers, fouls, and just sloppy play
plagued both teams from the outset.
Tulsa, relying on the fast break and awesome of-
fensive rebounding, took the early lead, 9-2. Syracuse

cut the margin to 15-14 but couldn't pull any closer as
they were unable to get into a set pattern. Meanwhile,
Tulsa was hitting 11 of its first 15 shots.
AS THE HALF wore on Syracuse went into a zone
defense which cooled off the Golden Hurricanes, who
were only able to hit on four of their next 18 shots.
However, Syracuse kept turning the ball over as they
committed 15 in the first half and fell behind, 41-30.
Both teams continued to trade baskets until the last
two minutes of the half when Syracuse's tenacious
zone defense narrowed Tulsa's lead to six, and the
Orangeman went into the locker room trailing only
Purdue 75, West Virginia 72
NEW YORK (AP)-Drake Morris scored 18 points,
including two clinching free throws in overtime, as
Purdue captured third place in the National In-
vitation Tournament with a 75-72 victory over West
Virginia last night.
Five different Purdue players scored two points
apiece in the extra period after the game was tied 65-
65 at the end of regulation time.
KEITH EDMONSON, who had 17 points for Pur-
due, and Mike Scearce, who had 14, were among the

Boilermakers with baskets in overtime. Morris' two
free throws gave Purdue a 73-67 lead with 17 seconds
remaining in overtime.
Purdue, which finished its season with a 21-11
record, led by as many as 12 points in the first half
and had a 38-31 lead at the intermission. But West
Virginia, 23-10, passed the Boilermakers at 50-49 on
Russel Todd's basket with :13 left in regulation.
After Todd's basket, there were nine more lead
changes and four ties before the game went into over-
TODD AND VIC Herbert paced the Mountaineers
with 16 points apiece while Greg Jones and Donnie
Gipson had 12 and 10, respectively. Jones and Gipson
scored all their points after halftime.
Purdue took a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes and
twice led by as many as 12 points in the first half.
A three-point play by Herbert, who scored 12 of his
points in the first half, brought West Virginia within
12-11 but Purdue went on a 16-5 run to take a 28-16 lead
and the Boilermakers later led 32-20 before the Moun-
taineers cut the margin at halftime.

Football grew too big for Criser

College football, as Fritz Crisler kn-
ew it as head coach at Michigan, was
vaguely similar to college football as
we know it today.
Athletic scholarships, freshman
eligibility and recruiting did not exist
when Crisler coached the Wolverines
from 1937-47.
Yet he still managed to compile a 71-
16-3 mark, plus capture a couple of Big
Ten Championships and a mythical
national championship. And in the
opinion of the 82-year-old Crisler,
college football would have been better
off without them. In fact, recruiting
was the reason he left coaching 33 years
Crisler's 1947 team had gone through
the regular season undefeated, capping
off the perfect year with a 49-0 Rose

Bowl victory over Southern California,
earning him coach-of-the-year honors.
Then, at the pinnacle of his coaching
success, he surprised the college foot-
ball world by announcing his
retirement from coaching to concen-
trate on his duties as Michigan's
Athletic Director.
"I QUIT BECAUSE of a rule allowing
coaches to recruit," recalled Crisler. "I
knew it would change the game.,,
A s Michigan coach Bo Schembechler
would surely attest, recruiting has
made coaching all the more difficult
with traveling across-the-country in or-
der to bid for blue-chip high school
seniors. Crisler foresaw what
recruiting would entail and decided
that he didn't want any part of it.
"I never had to recruit players," said
Crisler in a telephone interview from
his Ann Arbor home. "We just took the
players who would come to the Univer-
sity for a degree."
players like Tom Harmon, Bob Westfall
and Peteand Chalmers Elliot andtBob
Chappius wanted to call Michigan their
campus home.
Back then, athletes didn't have a
lower grade point requirement for ac-
ceptance into college. Crisler also
didn't have to worry about players
being declared academically ineligible

or deciding not to take classes during
football season, which happens
frequently these days. The student-
athlete was truly a student-athlete.
For these reasons, Crisler said that
coaching is much tougher today than it
was back when he led the Wolverines to
Top Ten ranking in the national polls
nine years in a row.
"MY ONLY CONCERN other than
football was that my players should get
a desirable degree," said Crisler.
High school recruiting has caused
professional football to take control of
the collegiate game, according to
Crisler. He said that college teams have
merely become "a free farm club for
the pros."
Crisler is known as a coaching genius
for his development of two-platoon
football which his young unexperienced
team unveiled against a powerful Army
squad at Yankee Stadium in 1945. As
chairman of the College Football Rules
Committee, he engineered the adoption
of the two-point conversion.
But to Crisler, his most important
achievement in college football was
simply winning football games. No one
can deny the fact that he did that with
remarkable success.
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