Page 10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 23, 1986
Blue alumnus: Flemming chooses ABC's Wide
ens. 77 3 'N-It "'
World of sports and stardom
By JEFF RUSH1
Waking up in Ann Arbor on a Monday morning
might lead one to think that one week at the Univer-
sity of Michigan is more than enough, let alone four
years. Not so for nationally known sportscaster Bill1
Flemming. Flemming just can't seem to shake his
relationship with the Maize and Blue.
After years of sportscasting that have taken him
around the globe, Flemming's Michigan roots still
hold on to him. And despite having appeared on
more than 600 telecasts of "ABC's Wide World of
Sports," events in Wolverine sports history are
remembered by Flemming as his own personal
"thrills of victory" and "agonies of defeat."
FLEMMING'S days at Michigan are directly
responsible for his illustrious career. Although his
original intention was to attend medical school, the
establishment of the campus radio station WUOM,
caused him to forget that dream. The result wasthe
beginning of his sportscasting career.
As a junior, Flemming won the campus oratorical
contest. One of the judges of the event happened to
be Waldo Abbot, director of broadcasting at
Michigan. Abbot approached Flemming and asked
him to work as an announcer on the radio station
that was being started, WUOM.t
"I told him I was going to med school in the fall of
1948," said Flemming. "He said 'OK, you go on thef
air June 15 from noon to eight, and you'll be our only1
ASPIRATIONS of a career in medicine disap-
"I liked it so much; I just thought it was terrific.-
At the end of August he told me the Board of Regen-
ts had okayed a sports program, and he really hadt
So hooked that Flemming went to the Dean of the
Medical School to talk about his situation. The dean
advised that Flemming both go to school and work,
which he did.
"I KNEW halfway into football season, I'd never
go back," said Flemming.
He graduated in 1949, but stayed with WUOM until
1953 before joining WWJ-TV in Detroit, where he
worked for seven years.
Corporate trickery provided the next break for
CBS AND NBC had always sparred with each
other for the rights to NCAA football. As Flemming
put it, "It was a king of ritual, always just between
CBS and NBC. The network reps would come in, eye
each other, and seeing nothing unusual, submit
In 1960, however, ABC sent "a non-descript kind
of guy from the accounting department," as Flem-
After CBS and NBC submitted their bids, the man
from ABC pulled out his envelope and submitted his
bid, and the NCAA football contract promptly
became the property of ABC, which did not even
have a sports department at that time.
With the football contract in hand, ABC chose
Flemming as a play-by-play announcer for regional
"THEN HE found out that the NCAA contract was
only for two years," said Flemming. "So he inven-
ted 'Wide World of Sports' to save his job. He needed
something to keep ABC sports alive."
Because Flemming had a background in a wide,
array of sports, he was a natural choice for the job.
He and Jim McKay were announcers on the first
"Wide World of Sports" in 1961.
Even though he has traveled around the world to
cover sports, however, Flemming's greatest thrill
and disappointment in sports involve Michigan
Flemming lists the 1969 Michigan-Ohio State
game as the most exciting sports event he ever at-
tended. The Wolverines, though underdogs, came
out on top 24-12.
"I HAVE to admit, we were all worried it would
be a blowout," said Flemming.
His biggest disappointment came in the 1966
NCAA basketball final. Michigan led UCLA at one.
point in the game by the score 27-15, and it looked
like they might win. But in the next eleven minutes,
the Wolverines were outscored 20-1.
"I never saw a stretch just so devastating as those
eleven minutes," said Flemming.
TODAY BILL Flemming is still closely tied to the
University. His wife, Barbara, and his daughter
Lindy are both Michigan graduates, and his son Bill
Jr. is currently a pre-med student at U of M.
Flemming himself is still involved in "Wide
World" though in a smaller role. Taking most of his
time presently is Bill Flemming Producitons, his
company, which produces sports documentaries.
Flemming's most recent encounter with
Michigan was a result of work this fall on a syn-
dicated special called "College Basketball's Top
Ten." The show brought him to U of M to feature the
men's basketball team, which left a favorable im-
pression on Flemming.
"If the refs let them play physical at the NCAA
tournament, then Michigan has a great chance of
winning," he stated.
Perhaps a Michigan NCAA championship in 1986
would let Bill Flemming forget the "agony of
defeat" of 1966.
Bill Flemming shown here with Michigan head coach Bill Frieder during
the taping of Flemming's College Basketball's Top Ten, chose the
Wolverines as pre-season number one.
Racquetball club is on
the rise once again
. f ull court
By JIM LANTOS
Racquetball enthusiasts can rejoice
this year with the rejuvenation of the
University of Michigan's Racquetball
In fact, co-president Ricky Rengifo
said, "This may be one of our best
years." Rengifo may not be joking
either because, although the Club
holds a 1-1 record, it has shown im-
provement in court play over past
ORGANIZED on a formal level
several years ago, the club is trying to
Rengifo, who hosted the Michigan
State team at his apartment the night
before the match, sees some merit in
the club's non-varsity standing.
"In our situation we not only meet
our competitors on the court but off
the court as well."
The fee for new members is $3, and
all members are given the oppor-
tunity to play in practices and in tour-
Anyone interested in joining the
racquetball club should call Ricky
Rengifo (663-4234) or show up at the
CCRB on Tuesday at 5 p.m. or Thur-
sday at 8 p.m.
Skiers finish first
Boosted by strong freshmen per-
formances, the Michigan Ski Club
placed first in a weekend meet held at
Caberfae Mountain in Cadillac,
Michigan. Other teams in the meet in-
cluded Notre Dame, Michigan State,
Ferris State and Western Michigan.
Impressive performances were
turned in by freshmen Steve Linck
and Bill Seguin. Linck finished first in
the slalom and Seguin placed third in
the slalom and third in the giant
MIKE O'DONAVAN captured first
place in the giant slalom and finished
second in the slalom, leading the team
to its convincing victory.
Tom Wheat earned honors with a
fifth place finish in the giant slalom
and a fourth place finish in the slalom.
Leading the women's team in the
weekend meet was Chris Koontz, who
finished second in the slalom and
third in the giant slalom..Marsha
Neuman captured fifth place in the
slalom. -DUANE ROOSE
By JEFF RUSH
Women's basketball coach Bud Van De Wege sifted through a pile of
newspaper articles detailing his team's recent success.
Wait one minute, is this the same guy who just last year led the
women's team to a measly 1-17 Big Ten record?
YEP, SURE IS.
Looking like a little kid who has just learned to use a pair of scissors
without cutting himself, Van De Wege trimmed the stories of victory
from the paper. Nothing could wipe the "I told you so" look from his face.
And no one could blame him.
The second-year coach has taken a team that
stumbled through last year's conference play and
turned it into a dark-horse contender for this year's£
title. After a weekend sweep of Iowa and Min-
nesota, the Wolverines' Big Ten record stands as 4-
2, just one half game behind the preseason favorite
"The team is learning how to win," said Van De
Wege. "When you come from a program that has
lost so many in the past, just learning how to win is a
The season thus far has attested to the team's.
rapid learning abilities. Already, Michigan has
beaten three of the top teams in the conference in
Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. What makes the vic-
tories more surprising is that those teams combined
last year for a 38-16 leaguee record.
What's up, Bud?
"The team is playing really smart," said Van De Van
Wege. "They've worked real hard on team concept.
Everyone works the ball and anybody can score.
"The team concept has been real important. When they get in a close
game, they all have to win it together. They've learned that you cannot
stand and wait for someone to win it for you."
A quick look at the Iowa contest verifies Van De Wege's words. While
Wendy Bradetich and Lorea Feldman had their typical high-scoring
games, it was the less flashy starters who won the contest.
A Sandy Svoboda rebound at Michigan's end led to an Orethia Lilly
en you say Bud .. .
you'ye said it all
jumper that cut the Iowa lead to two with 2:12 left. Tough defense by
Svoboda resulted in an Iowa traveling violation with 1:45 left. Kelly
Benitendi then found Bradetich open, and the score was tied. Free throws
by Svoboda and Benitendi sealed the game.
The starters mentioned above are not the only players who are
significantly contributing. "We have depth this year. We can go to the
bench and get productivity," noted Van De Wege. "Sharon Sonntag and
Val Hall push each other in practice every day." A-ha...
Last year Michigan's tallest starters were six-footers, barely. Lack of
height was at least a partial cause for the Wolverines' poor rebounding
last year, and probably contributed to Michigan's
going to the free throw line only half as much as its
opponents. Enter the 6-3 twin towers, Sonntag and
Sonntag's entrance showed immediate benefits.
The junior transfer from Northern Michigan has
typically been first off the bench, and has scored in
double figures in several games. With both Sonntag
and Hall on the bench, Van De Wege has been able
\ to substitute freely, keeping all his players fresh.
The end result has been increased productivity
from the forwards.
"Wendy (Bradetich) has become more consistent
and it's helping Lorea (Feldman) also. Last year if
Wendy had an off game, it put pressure on Lorea,"
said the Wolverine head man. "This year, our op-
ponents cannot afford to slack off either one. We
have done well and won when both have been into
,n De Wege the flow and scoring."
The team deserves all the credit it is currently receiving.
Don't forget Bud Van De Wege's role either. Minnesota coach Ellen
Hansen summed it up best in saying, "I think the reason they're winning
is that they've had two years under Van De Wege now, and certainly his
expertise has come into play."
That expertise could keep the Wolverines winning, and Van De Wege
busy clipping newspapers.
Hey Bud - for all you do, this article's for you.
reapproach the status it held six
years ago when, competing at a var-
sity level, it won national recognition.
In pursuing this goal the club, without
coaches, Rengifo stresses, has
focused its attention, not just to team
matches, but to bi-weekly practices
consisting of intra-team games as
The club has faced many extremely
competitive teams up to this point. At
an intercollegiate level, its has played
in tournaments against Bowling
Green and Michigan State, (winning
and losing, respectively) and is
currently arranging a match with
The club has non-varsity (hence
low-travel funding) status, which
might be seen by some as a barrier.
The co-president thinks otherwise.
Become a Daily photographer -
Get into concerts for free,
Go backstage and meet the stars,
Stand on the sidelines at U of M
Impress members of the opposite sex (or
the same sex, if you prefer).
DETROIT (UPI) - Warren Young
scored his second goal of the game at
1:32 of the overtime period last night
to give the Detroit Red Wings a 6-5
victory over the Boston Bruins.
Young dug the puck off the boards
near the blue line, skated around
Boston defenseman Ray Bourque and
beat goalie Doug Keans on a high
DETROIT'S Ron Duguay tied the
game at 5-5 at 10:59 of the third period
when he scored his second goal of the"
game on a power play. Boston, which1
had trailed 4-1 in the first period, had
taken a 5-4 lead on Bill Derlago's goal
at 6:33 of the third period.]
The victory ended a 10-game
winless streak at home for Detroit,
and was the Red Wings' first victory]
in eight games overall. Detroit
remains in last place in the Norris
Division with a 10-32-5 record. Boston
fell to 21-18-7 with its first loss in three
Detroit scored three times in the
first 6:23 of the first period. Young
opened the scoring on a 40-foot shot at
2:16. Reed Larson's shot from the
point during a power play at 5:12 went
through Keans' pads and Duguay
scored on a rebound during a power
Boston's Randy Burridge made it 3-
1 at 8:43 when he beat Duguay to a
loose puck and skated in alone on Red
Wings goalie Ed Mio. Kelly Kisio
scored Detroit's third power play goal
of the period on a shot from close
range at 12:59, but the Bruins' Ray
Bourque aniswered with a power play
goal on a slap shot from the point.
The Bruins outshot Detroit 11-1 in
the second period and tied the game
on goals by Dave Pasin and Charlie
Simmer. Pasin's shot hit Mio's stick
and deflected into the net at 2:48.
Simmer scored from close range
during a power play at 10:39. Greg
Smith's shot from center ice with one
second left in the period was the Red
Wings' only shot on goal.
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THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
announces the 1986 summer program in Seville, Spain