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November 21, 1986 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-11-21
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stood at 1-13 for the
team's second-year head
coach. A story titled "The
Crumbling 'M' " subse -
quently appeared in one of
the Detroit papers discussing the decline of
Wolverine basketball. After posting more
victories (19) in the 1980-81 season than any
other first-year Wolverine head coach, Bill
Frieder had to be doubting himself. But
another man had no doubts.
"I still have a letter (Athletic Director Don)
Canham sent me," said Frieder. "It said 'Don't
worry about it. It is a throwaway season. Do
the best you can and try to come up with a
good recruiting year. But you are my
basketball coach as long as you want to be.' "
The Wolverines finished that 1981-82
season with an 8-19 mark, and Frieder never
looked back. Just two years later, Michigan
won the National Invitational Tournament,
the school's only national basketball
championship. Add back-to-back Big Ten
Championships, and one has the makings of a
tremendously successful coach.
"What we've accomplished in a short time
has surprised me because the league is such a
demanding league," said Frieder. "I consider
guys like Lou Henson, Gene Keady, Bobby
Knight, and Jud Heathcote real fine basketball
coaches. I have coached six years, and Knight
and I are the only guys to win the Big Ten
outright twice. So that's a heck of an
For his team's accomplishments,
Associated Press and Basketball Weekly
named Frieder National Coach of the Year, and
both wire services honored him as Big Ten
Coach of the Year for the 1984-85 campaign.
Success is not new to the Saginaw native.
Wherever he has coached, he has won, whether
it be at Alpena High School at the junior
varsity level, Flint Northern High School at
the junior varsity and varsity level, or
Michigan as an assistant and head coach.
In six seasons at the Wolverine helm,
Frieder's record stands at 121-60 - a .669
winning percentage. Only the man that hired
Frieder, Johnny Orr, possesses more career
victories at Michigan (209).
ments are no accident. A com -
bination of hard work, intelligence,
and dedication is responsible.
Hard Work: Frieder can be characterized as
the ultimate hoop junkie. He just loves the
game. How much? Instead of becoming a
businessman following the completion of his
MBA degree, Frieder took the Alpena
coaching position.
"My relaxation is basketball. My work is
basketball," said the seventh-year head coach.
"Everything I do is basketball related. I hardly
do anything in this town without stopping in
at the office or Crisler Arena. That's year
With such a passion for the game, it is
easy to see why Frieder toils so diligently.
His hard work pays dividends on and off the
court. As a recruiter, he is second to none.

Hlooked on
Bill Frieder is addicted to the
game. My relaxation is
basketball,' he says. My work
is basketball. Everything I do is
basketball related. I hardly do
anything in this town without
stopping in at the office or
Crisler Arena.
That's year round.'

By Scott G. Miller

Frieder relentlessly pursues the best talent in
the nation. To land Michigan's Mr. Basketball
1986 Terry Mills, for example, Frieder began
writing to the Romulus native during his
freshman year in high school.
"He does the little things right," said
freshman Jack Kramer. "He makes you feel
important. When he recruits you, he gives
you the personal touch.
"A lot of head coaches are in the
background. Coach Frieder does a lot of the
recruiting with his assistants. He would send
little notes. He would write them in his own
handwriting, and that means a little more to
Intelligence: Doing the little things are
important to Frieder. His mind is meticulous
and employs its genius level IQ to the
maximum. Legend has it that the Michigan
coach is persona non grata in Las Vegas. He
has not been to Vegas in seven years.
"Why not beat them (the casinos) if you
are going to sit down and play?" asked Frieder.
"I work too hard for my money to give it to
"I developed a system to beat the game of
blackjack. It has been proven statistically that
you can beat it."
But can the same ingenuity be used in
"Gambling requires all the same ingredients
that coaching a team does," said Frieder. "You
have to be patient, poised, mentally and
physically prepared, and disciplined."
Dedication: Frieder loves the University of
Michigan. He obtained his BBA and MBA
from Michigan. He spent seven years as Orr's
assistant while rejecting numerous head
coaching offers. Orr's surprise departure
allowed Frieder to rise to the top position, but
he would have remained an assistant for longer
if necessary.

"It is hard to leave Michigan because it is a
first-class place," said Frieder. "It has great
facilities, a great alumni body, and a great
"So every time I interviewed for a job
when I was an assistant, I compared it to
Michigan and then I just turned it down. I was
just too greedy."
with, yet the fans and media relish the
opportunity to criticize the man who
has 63 victories in his last 73 outings.
Pressure to win at all costs exists for many
college coaches. Last year 68 Division I
basketball coaching changes were made.
Frieder is lucky. He occupies one of the
safest positions in all of college athletics. As
long as Michigan basketball remains a clean
program, Frieder's job is secure. Canham
would have it no other way, so the only
pressure Frieder feels is self-generated..
"I know in this business every year you
create new enemies," said the 12th head coach
in Wolverine history. "You keep adding,
enemies if you stay at a place long enough.
You are never going to satisfy all the people
so you can't try.
"I know that there are 13,000 people at the
games, but I know I know more about
basketball than them, including the writers. I
can't be concerned about what they say, what
they write, and what they do. I just have to go
about doing my business."
Maybe recruiting too many blue-chip
players has created problems for Frieder. With
all the talent Michigan possessed the last few
seasons, fans felt the Wolverines never should
have lost. The coach took the heat.
"It's a shame with all (Frieder's)
accomplishments that people keep saying that
he can't coach," said assistant coach Mike

Boyd. "What else does he have to do to be
classified as a good coach?"
"It is a bad rap that Frieder can't coach just
like a lot of bad raps against me," said senior
guard Antoine Joubert. "There are just some
things you have to live and die with."
Another criticism is that Frieder's clubs
fail to prevail in crucial situations - like the
NCAA Tournament. The past two seasons
ended in the second-round of the NCAAs for
the highly-rated Wolverines. In first-round
action two years ago, Michigan squeaked by
lowly-regarded Fairleigh Dickinson, 59-54,
and slid by even lower regarded-Akron, 70-64,
last year.
"I will be the first to admit we have been a
disappointment in the tournaments," said
Frieder. "But those things happen.
"Take a Ray Meyer. Look how long it
took him to finally get a team to the Final
Four. Rollie Massimino finally won it, but it
took him many years. There is a share of luck
in there too as well as everything else."
"Our first concern is winning the Big Ten
Championship," said Boyd. "We take pride,
not to knock the NCAAs, in winning the Big
Ten title, and anything after that is icing on
the cake."
That frosting though would establish
Frieder as one of the finest coaches in the
"There are certain guys that don't get much
credit, and Bill falls in that category," said
CBS basketball analyst Billy Packer. "He
beats Knight for the conference championship
last year and blows him off the wall.
"But nobody says 'Great job Bill Frieder.'
They say he had all the players. But if Bobby
wins the game, they say he is a great coach
and Frieder can't coach.
"What he has got to do is win a national
crown or else the stigma stays."
Even Frieder's recruiting has come under
close scrutiny recently. Michigan's top two
recruits, high school All-Americans Mills and
Rumeal Robinson, are ineligible for this
season due to below-minimum college board
scores as required by Proposition 48. Daily
reports in national newspapers regarding the
Wolverines' recruits helped fuel the debate
over preferential treatment of athletes.
"I have to stick around long enough to
prove to the people we did the right thing,"
said Frieder. "You can't measure dedication in
a test score. Robinson is going to be a good
student because he puts in the time. Mills is
off to a great start, too.
"We did it all legally. We are not going to
try to buy the fourth year. We put them on
scholarshipfand they will have three years of
eligibility after this year."
Frieder favors Proposition 48 because it
upgrades academics and athletics. He feels the
number of athletes who fail to qualify will
decrease every year. Proposition 48 caused a
reevaluation of Michigan recruiting policy,
but no fundamental changes.
"We want to get kids that can come in and
help us immediately," said Frieder. "Yet if
you had a kid like Terry Mills that is 20
minutes away, and if you don't know for sure
he is going to pass the test then you recruit
him. You are not going to pass up a kid like
Continued on Page 12

Michigan's forwards: Mark Hughes (55), Glen Rice (41), J.P. Oosterbaan (54), Loy Vaught (35).

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something new with this year's
basketball team.
Instead of size and experience in
the frontcourt, Frieder will shoot
for a third straight Big Ten
championship with five players
who average six-feet, eight-inches,
and have a collective 36 college
basketball games under their belt.
Frieder has no choice. The man
known for his Las Vegas
excursions will play the only
cards dealt to him.
Gone are seniors Roy Tarpley,
Butch Wade, Richard Rellford, and
Rob Henderson. Enter sophomores
Glen Rice, Loy Vaught, Mark
Hughes, Mike Griffin, and J.P.
None of the five have ever
started a game at Michigan. Only
Rice has experienced the fierce
competition of the Big Ten.
Hughes played sparingly last
season, and the other three were
Get the picture?
"Talking about Tarpley,
Rellford, Henderson, and Wade,
you're losing your best scorer, your
best rebounder, and your best
defensive player all at the same
time," said Frieder, "and because
they played so much, there really

isn't much experience to replace
Even worse for the seventh-year
head coach is that, other than Rice,
not one of the other four has
established himself in practice.
Frieder makes no bones that Rice
will start at the small forward
position. The other two starting
spots have Frieder worried.
"After Rice, I don't know (who
will start up front)," he said. "I
honestly don't know. I don't know
which one of Oosterbaan or Hughes
or Vaught will play that inside
position. They're all competing,
they're all working at it, and they're
all coming along. But they all have
a long way to go.
"I don't know if eventually more
than one of those guys might make
it where one of them will play
center and one of them will play
forward. There's'just a lot of
question marks."
Frieder admits that no matter
who starts, all will play
considerably. He isn't a big fan of
the three-guard offense, which
translates into a lot of on-the-job-
training for the five big men.
Leading the quintet is Rice, the
6-7, silky-smooth forward from
Flint. Michigan's Mr. Basketball in
1985, Rice is expected to pick up
where he left off last season.
As Frieder's sixth man last year,
Rice averaged seven points a game

and excited crowds with his rainbow
jump shots and acrobatic dunks. He
scored in double figures 12 times
during the season, and led the team
with 14 points against Akron in the
first round of the NCAA
As the only proven scorer up
front, Rice will be looked upon to
supply a great deal of offense.
"I'm looking forward to scoring
a lot and helping the team out a
lot," he said with a smile.
Vaught and Oosterbaan are the
two most likely to play center.
Vaught (6-9, 225 pounds) is the
better rebounder while Oosterbaan
(6-10, 240) has better court sense.
Both had stellar high school careers
- Vaught at East Kentwood High
in Grand Rapids and Oosterbaan at
Kalamazoo Christian - yet both
realize what they're up against.
"It's going to take some time,
but I think we'll be all right," said
Vaught's weaknesses stem from
his inexperience in basketball. He
didn't start playing organized ball
until thelOth grade. He is, however,
an excellent athelete and very eager
to play against the best centers the
Big Ten has to offer - namely
Illinois' KensNorman and Purdue's
Melvin McCants.
"I think I'm going to do all right
Continued on Page 17

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Miller is a Daily basketball writer.


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