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February 02, 1984 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-02

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Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 2, 1984
Healthy Latora aims for championship

Grappler overcomes
several key injuries

took the Michigan State championships
at 119 and 126 pounds, respectively.
Over the two-year period he posted an
83-0 record which he capped off with
a freestyle Eastern National Cham-
ALTHOUGH the team has stopped
running together as it had last
semester, Latora has added some extra
roadwork to make up for his time on the

sidelines. He missed about ten matches
while recovering.
Fortunatley for Latora, the injuries
came at the early part of the season
before the start of the post-season
championships - a fact he definitely
"Luckily, most of the matches I
missed were not the really key mat-
ches," said Latora. "I really didn't

The headbone's connected to the
neckbone, the neckbone's connnected to
the shoulderbone . . . and the
anklebone's connected to the footbone.
That's how the song is supposed to read,
but as Michigan wrestler Tony Latora
can attest, a season in the Big Ten can
easily change that tune.
In his first full season as a Wolverine,
(he was redshirted last year as a
freshman), Latora has suffered a
sprained ankle, a chipped collarbone,
and -most recently a broken nose.
Despite all this, he currently sports a
17-7 record while alternating at 142 and
150 pounds.

"THAT'S WHAT I like about him,"
explained Michigan coach Dale Bahr.
"He doesn't worry about who he's
wrestling or what tournament he's at.
Tony's such a competitor that when he
gets out on the mat he goes full out
despite any injuries nagging him."
The injuries have come as both a
disappointment and a surprise to
Latora. He said, "In high school, in-
juries were not a big problem. I never
really got hurt."
Latora had little opportunity to be
hurt. At Portage Northern, he spent
most of his time dishing out the
punishment. He compiled a career
mark of 121 wins against a mere 3
losses. In his junior and senior years he

'If he hadn't been hurt he probably would have ...
placed in the top 10in the country.'
-Michigan wrestling coach
Dale Bahr

miss anyone who would be a big
problem at the Big Tens."
THE BIG Ten championship looms as
a real possibility for Latora.
"If he hadn't been hurt he probably
would have had eight more victories
which would probably have placed him
in thehtopr10 in the country," commen-
ted Bahr, adding "He's still not
wrestling at full speed and he's going to
have to be able to go full out at the Big
This weekend should provide a good
test for Latora as he is scheduled to
wrestle Iowa State's Joe Gibbons, an
All-American in 1982.. Gibbons, who is
listed as questionable, should provide a
tougher match than any Latora op-
ponent this year.
The biggest question mark for Latora
now is whether he can stay healthy. As
he said, "All the injuries have been kind
of freak things. You just can't expect


... recovering for Big Tens

,# y ' , ' .' .. ." ; Y9 " ; f~
':;~"'s d ... Rodriguez is cochextra Qrdnatre

By RICH WIEDIS Kimball and then one at River Rouge before settling

He goes from bum to hero in a matter of minutes.
Maybe it's luck, possibly genius - but some, like
Mike Rodriguez, will tell you that a coach is more
than just a strategist. He's the blood and vitality of a
team and often the difference in winning.
Rodriguez is a coach's coach. The three-time Big
Ten wrestling champion is the head man at Detroit
Catholic Central high school. He learned to compete
from the best. Names like Fritz Crisler, Bennie
Oosterbaan, Matt Mann and Cliff Keen, some of the
men that made Michigan athletics 'great, influenced
Rodriguez as he wrestled for Michigan from 1954-58.
"THE FIRST time I met him as a senior in high
school he told me that I could be a champion," said
Rodriguez of 42-year veteran Michigan wrestling
coach Keen. "Hearing those words had a tremendous
influence on me."4
Keen would continue to influence Rodriguez
throughout his college career and today while at the
reigns of one of Michigan's most devastating high
school wrestling programs.
On top of three Big Ten titles at 157 pounds from
1956-58, Keen guided Rodriguez to two NCAA runner-
ups and to an Amateur Athletic Union championshp
in 1961. This victory earned him a berth in Japan's
World Games. Rodriguez sold his house, and with his
wife, June Wree, headed for the Orient.
"IT WAS A frightening experience, for the first
time I had betterflys," he said. "I never had the same
feeling in the NCAA's. This time I was representing
my country."
Rodriguez placed fifth that day and returned to the
U.S. to train for the 1964 Olympics. Unfortunately, the
Olympics eluded him as a cracked rib in the trials at
New York's Worlds Fair ruined his hopes.
"After I was hurt I put my toys away," said the
father of six. Rodriguez spent a year at Royal Oak

at Catholic Central in 1968. Since then Catholic Cen-
tral has won six state championships in 1969-71, 1974,
1978 and most recently in 1983.t
"COACH ROD," a's his wrestlers call him, has been
named Michigan Class A Wrestling Coach of the Year
seven times and was National Coaches Association
Coach of the Year in 1972.
The style that has enabled Rodriguez to breed so
many champions is the ability to keep his team close
and know their needs.

and newspaper clippings about past Catholic Central
Rodriguez said, "I'm not just into your athletic
ability. I'm into your head."
Coach Rod's psychological endeavors however,
have left Catholic Central graduates with a peculiar
reputation. C.C. wrestlers are known for failing to+
live up to their potential at the collegiate level.
"WHEN YOU GET to college you can be good but
lose because of the maturity factor," said the Allen
Park native.
The coach, .who has produced six All-Americans.:at
Catholic Central, expressed some disappointment
with the prospects for his wrestlers at college.
"It bothers me because I know they're awesome,"
said Rodriguez. "There's not a lot of individual atten-
tion and concern for young men in today's college
THIS ORIENTATION towards moral backing of
his wrestlers was spurred in Rodriguez by his
Michigan experience. The coach, who was married
as a freshman at the University, remembered-the
closeness of the athletes and coaches during his
college days. "We went to everything, even the golf
matches, to watch the other guys play," he said.
Rodriguez's love for Michigan still spills out iito
the messages he gives to his wrestlers.
"When I first started coaching, if a kid walked but
on the mat with a Michigan State t-shirt on, I would
rip it off his back," he said. "If there is one thing I
teach them, it's that you have got to love -.yeur
Today Rodriguez preaches the honor of Catholic
Central Blue and White to his championship teams.
But this is a lesson about winning he learned from
coaches past. "You have got to get in love with the
place you are at," said Rodriguez. "There's nothing
more beautiful than Maize and Blue."

He's a great motivator and knows how to handle
people," said Wolverine grappler Kevin Hill of his for-
mer coach. "You could always sit down, talk with
him and get close to him."
RODRIGUEZ MAKES >a practice of keeping his
wrestler's phone numbers and prides himself on his
ability to befriend his kids. Hill recounted a story that
typified the coach's style. "My senior year, the night
before the district meet he had us stay over at his
house. Before we went to bed, he brought out books

--Sports Information photo
Mike Rodriguez won three Big Ten wrestling titles in 1955-57. Today he
coaches wrestling at Catholic Central, one of Michigan's premier wrestling
high schools.

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Special to the Daily
DETROIT - From the opening
faceoff to the final horn in overtime, ac-
tion never stopped in last night's 6-6 tie
between the Red Wings and Hartford at
Joe Louis Arena.
However, after seeing their team lose
2-0 and 6-3 leads, Detroit fans were not
at all pleased even though the tie exten-
ded the Wings' unbeaten streak to four
IT ONLY TOOK Detroit 16 seconds of
game time to score as center Dwight
Foster dumped the puck into the net for
his third goal of the season.
The action stabilized over the next 15
minutes, but at 14:19 right wing Lane
Lambert picked up a near-perfect pass
from Ivan Boldirev at the Whaler blue
line and skated in for a breakaway goal.

Hartford struck back early in the
second period with Mike Zuke putting
the puck by Ken Holland at 1:22 and
again at 14:16. The goals were his four-
th and fifth of the season.
BETWEEN ZUKE'S goals, Hartford
got a penalty-shot goal from Bob
The Wings tied the game at three
when Boldirev got a powerplay goal
with 28 seconds left in the period. It was
his seventh power-play goal of the
Detroit got goals in the third period
from Reed Larson, Boldirev, and Blake
Dunlop. However, Hartford struck back
with goals from Ray Neufeld, Risto
Seltanen and Ron Francis.
In overtime, Detroit outshot Hartford
4-0 but failed to score.

Bo's boys to get dose.
of sunshine in 1986


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Instant scheduling for the intramural
basketball playoffs occurs today at the
IM Building. Teams in all divisions
must register between 11:00 a.m. and
8:00 p.m. if they wish to enter the
College Basketball
Purdue 52, Northwestern 44
Toledo 83, Central Michigan 67
Kent State 70, Western Michigan 54
Bowling Green 60, Eastern Michigan 44
Miami (O.) 62, Ball State 44
Florida 78, Louisiana State 60
James Madison 68, Old Dominion 67 (OT)
Iona 93, Holy Cross 73
Louisville 62, Tulane 56
Marshall 68, Marquette 67

Just in case the Michigan football
team gets an invitation to the Pontiac
Cherry Bowl after the 1986 season, the
Wolverines still will have a nice road
trip waiting for them. Athletic director
Don Canham has added a 12th regular
season game that year, a December 6
appearence in Honolulu against
The game will come two weeks after
the Ohio State match-up and will allow
the team to conduct two more weekrs of
practice during the usual wasted period
before the bowl game.
"WE'RE EXTREMELY pleased to
have'Michigan coming out here," said
Hawaii athletic director Stan Sheriff.
"I've known Canham for several years
and we've talked about the game. We
resolved the issue at the NCAA conven-
The NCAA limits college football
teams to 11 games during the regular
season, but a school can play a 12th
game if it leaves the continental U.S. to
do so. Last season Oklahoma travelled
to Honolulu to take on the Rainbows and
Iowa is scheduled to spend part of next
December on the islands.
"I expect that the game will be sold
out," said Sheriff. "The people of
Hawaii will be extremely pleased to
show the Aloha hospitality to Michigan
when they come in 1986."

Raise irks MSU trustee
EAST LANSING (AP) - A Michigan
State University trustee said yesterday
he would seek to have a $5,000 pay raise
for football coach George Perles
Peter B. Fletcher said he was "an-
noyed and vexed" by the increase, and
would raise the issue at the trustee's
meeting set for Thursday.
THE RAISE, granted by trustees
Dec. 3 and approved by university
President Cecil Mackey, increased
Perles' salary to $100,000.
Fletcher said his opposition to the pay
raise is consistent with his opposition to
Michigan State's $175,000 settlement
with the Philadelphia Stars of the
United States Football League.
Illini in trouble
Wednesday informed the University of
Illinois of a series of alleged infractions
by its football program, which took the
1983 Big Ten title and went to the Rose
Bowl this year.
University officials announced they
received the letter of allegations from
the NCAA and also appointed a former
federal judge to conduct a separate in-
a preliminary inquiry by the NCAA into
the university's football program,"
Chancellor John Cribbet said in a
statement. "The university has
cooperated fully with the NCAA and
will continue to do so in the course of the
review of the official inquiry," he said.
The NCAA inquiry began nearly two
years ago and initially focused, athletic
officials said, on the recruitment of two
junior college football players, Elton
Veals and Delton Edwards. The
Lengthy investigation, however, ex-
panded beyond the Veals-Edwards
matter, sources said.

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