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October 30, 1989 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-30

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - October 30, 1989 - Page 3

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Ocker
Phyllis Ocker discusses the state of the
women's athletic department at 'M'

Richard Eisen

For the past 28 years, Phyllis
Ocker has been involved with
Michigan women's athletics,
beginning as an assistant professor
in physical education. From 1974-
78, Ocker coached the Wolverine
field hockey team, and since then
has served as the Associate Director
in Charge of Women's Athletics.
Recently, Ocker spoke to Daily
sportswriter Steven Cohen about
the women's athletic program here
at Michigan.
Daily: What is your opinion on
the state of the women's athletic
department?
Ocker: I'm encouraged. I think
I'm quite pleased overall. I think
the coaches have been working very
hard. The increased scholarship
assistance which has come to us the
last two years has certainly made a
great deal of difference. We may not
see the results right away, this year,
but I think that in the next year or
two we are going to see some
difference. As you know, we've
been competitive in three areas in
particular: cross country,
swimming and softball. You know,
I'm hoping that this year, you'll
find .us competitive, really
competitive in another sport, ranked
nationally. If we can do that, add a
sport every year into that category,
I'd be very pleased. So that's kind
of how I see the future. I just really
feel very strongly that we're just on
the verge. I think with the new
facilities, with the additions that
we're making facility-wise with the
softball field, and as I said, with the
addition of scholarships, we'll be a
program to be reckoned with.
D: Are all women's teams on
par with the maximum NCAA
scholarship limit.
0: All but one, golf. Men's golf
isn't either.
D: Do you feel that women's
athletics were neglected during Don
Canham's tenure as athletic
director?
O: Well, I don't think neglected.
I think the department did what it
had to do. I think to single out
Canham out isn't totally fair. I
think that many male
administrators who had run
departments suddenly had thrust
upon them the entire women's
program. I'm sure there was a lot of
reluctance on the part of a number
of people.

D: Is Athletic Director Bo
Schembechler doing all he can to
make the women's program the
equal of the other powerful
women's programs in the country?
0: I think so, I think without
question he wants to be a winner.
That's his background and that's
where he's coming from. And
again, you know as well as I do
that you don't do this always in
just one year. But I certainly think
the commitment is there and I hope
we can proceed from there.
D: Do you feel that a man of
Schembechler's stature can actually
just by his presence and verbal
commitment do a lot for the
women's program?
O: Yes, I think that's true. And
Bo has made that verbal
commitment. He has made an effort
to come to some of the women's
gatherings. I think he is doing what
he can do. And to expect him to do
any more than he is doing is really
impossible. He has a mighty busy
schedule.
D: As the Michigan program is
predicting financial difficulties, do
you feel that some people in the
men's department would want to
curtail the effort given to the
women's programs?
0: In terms of finances, we have
not really competed for dollars
because the men's and women's
programs have been able to fund
themselves without any real
University support. Now that
tuition rates keep going up, and
we're adding more scholarships, I
think there may be some
competition for dollars. But I think
we have come too far. I don't see
our program being cut back. The
commitment is there from the
University to support our program.
President Duderstadt has made it
very clear that he wants a broad-
based program and I don't think that
you can ask two men's sports to
cover all that. It's just not fiscally
possible-there are only so many
seats in the football stadium.We
already have the highest ticket
prices in the Big Ten.
D : When a coach is
unsuccessful, an administration can
be patient and wait for him or her
to turn it around. Sometimes the
administration isn't patient enough
and sometimes it waits two long.

How do you know when enough of
a chance has been given to the
coach?
O: There's no sure way of
knowing that. I think there were
some coaching changes this year.
Again, because there have been
more resources allocated to the
program, that enables us to get
people who may have more
experience and who really are more
interested in coaching as a career.
So that's going to help us too.
D: You've mentioned the
competitive disadvantage Michigan
has been at because of financial
reasons. But in other schools the
presence of some high-profile,
high-caliber coaches, have served to
alleviate those problems.
O: Sure. I think Dick Kimball is
an example of that here. He's an
internationally renowned coach. He
gets people to come here based on
his reputation. I think without
question if you get some high-
profile coaches that would make a
difference. We've not brought
coaches in at exorbitant salaries.
We've brought in coaches and
they've had to grow on the job.
Most of the men who come in here,
this is the culmination of their
career. But for the women this has
not been the case. We have not
really wooed coaches.
D: Should Michigan have
wooed coaches?
0: Well, yes , I think if the
emphasis was on hitting the top
right away. There's another side to
that. A concern I have, is that we
need to provide opportunities for
women to coach. In the mid-
seventies about 90 percent of the
coaches in women sports were
women. Today less than 50 percent
of the coaches are women. I am not
using this as any excuse at all, but
I think we have tried to provide
some opportunity for coaches that
we feel had potential who may not
have had 15 ,20, 30 years of
experience. I think we have a
commitment to provide women
with the opportunity to be role
models for the people they are
working with. I don't mean in any
sense to be negative because we
haven't gone out and wooed
coaches. We've brought coaches in
who we thought had potential.
sometimes it's taken longer than

we would have wanted to or hoped
it would take.
D: What are the biggest
concerns of the women's athletic
department?
0: Well, I think rather than our
biggest concern but rather our
biggest thrust has to continue to be
to attract student-athletes. Those
women who want to compete and
play and participate in varsity
athletics but who also are here to
get an education. I think that all of
us try very diligently to remember
what most women will use when
they get out of here is not their
athletic prowess; they're going to
use they're educational background.
So we have to just continue to
assure that the students who come
here can do it academically. I'm not
sure that's it a concern, I think it's
an ongoing focus and I don't think
that's going to change. Concerns-
there are the need for some new
facilities particularly in the area of
tennis.
It's certainly not going to
happen tomorrow but it's certainly
going to happen in the next few
years.
D: Do you think the women's
program can become an
organization that can at least help
its own cause?
0: Yes. I think we can do that. I
think we must do that. I don't think
we can continue to rely on men's
football and basketball to cover all
our bills. I think in basketball and
volleyball, we certainly do have an
opportunity to help our cause, as
you put it.
D: Do you feel the women's
basketball program is faced with
riding coattails from the success of
last year's men's team?
0: I think if we're going to
make it, we're going to have to
make it on our own. And if we're
not going to make it, that tells us
something. Several years ago we
tried to go before and after the
men's game. If we go before, we
have to go far enough before that
nobody comes anyway, or at least
not very many. If we go after it's
devastating to the team because
people will stay for the first ten or
15 minutes because they don't want
to fight the parking problems and
then go. So, I would rather put all
our efforts into getting our own
constituencies and our own fans.

Don't tell Bo but national
title hopes are still alive
After Saturday's destruction of the Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan football
coach Bo Schembechler ambled into the press room, ready to answer
questions about his team.
When asked what he thought of his team's performance at the midway
point of the season, Schembechler contorted his face as if he had just
swallowed castor oil.
He hemmed and hawed and looked like he wished he were somewhere
else. The press looked on with its pens unsheathed ready to write down
Schembechler's lengthy State of the Wolverines Address.
"Uh, I guess," Schembechler said in robably the most senatorial-like
voice he could muster. "I guess the only way we could have done better
was to win that damn Notre Dame game."
Schembechler looked away from the cameras on that one as if he was
too embarrassed to say it.
End of story.
That's all that need be said.
Except for the "worst 24-point victory" in Michigan history, that loss
to Notre Dame sticks in Schembechler's side like a piece of meat that went
down the wrong pipe. It's like planning to paint a masterpiece and when
you're all set to get to work, someone pours acid on the canvas.
Before Michigan could even get out of the starting gate toward its first
national football title, the Fighting Irish pulled the rug from under
Schembechler's feet.
Game over. Before Michigan could break out the oil paints.
So Schembechler, once again, for the 21st straight year, is forced to
talk about the Rose Bowl and the Big Ten Championship and not about a
national title. No national title discussions, just that plain old talk about
some place called Pasadena.
Not that there's anything bad about that. I'm sure that there are some
fans out there (read Michigan State fans/Match Light kings) that wished
their teams would be so consistently great year after year.
It's easy to take success for granted around these parts. But now, after
Michigan won it all in basketball, everybody wants football to do the
same thing even though it's easier said than done.
Schembechler wants it, too. And he wants it bad.
Just last year, after the Michigan basketball team returned triumphantly
to Ann Arbor, Schembechler made an appearance at the pep rally in a jam
packed Crisler Arena.
He was coming from spring practice, of course, and walked up to the
podium wearing his football coach's clothes: maize shirt, blue slicker
pants, and that hat head caused by that 'M' hat. He got to the microphone
amid ranting cheers from the audience and congratulated the basketball team
on their national title.
"And maybe we can win one in football, too," Schembechler said.
Crisler Arena erupted.
But, last Saturday, there was absolute quiet in the press room because
even though his team just took apart the Hoosiers, Schembechler seemed
distraught.
He was worrying about his team's chances in the conference.
Again.
"We control our own destiny in the conference," Schembechler said.
"We cannot lose a game and expect to go to the Rose Bowl."
While this may be true, this thinking will be academic. Because, you
see, Michigan will not lose another Big Ten game this year.
And to hell with superstition. I'm not one of those guys who's afraid to
mention a pitcher has a no-hitter going into the fifth inning. So, here it is
again, in black and white.
Michigan will not lose another Big Ten game this year.
"We can't afford to lose," Schembechler said, probably for the 21st
straight year. "Because whoever we lose to will go on and win the
conference."
Barring all freaks of nature and catacylsmic events, Purdue, Minnesota
and Ohio State will all fall to the mighty Wolverine defense. Illinois will
be a tough game, indeed, because the Fighting Illini are smelling that rosy
aroma.
But Michigan will and must win the rest of its games. And this is why:
Michigan still has a chance to win the national title.
While Schembechler gives the same old speeches about how you can't
overlook Purdue and, hey, those Golden Gophers want that Jug, things are
in the works that might give Michigan its first national football title.
Just hours after Michigan's 38-10 victory over Indiana, the Miami
Hurricanes lost to the Florida State Seminoles, 24-10. Miami had a
touchdown taken away by a bad call and the Seminoles got one on another
bad call. Hence Miami lost in this heart-wrenchiiig way, proving that there
is, indeed, justice in this world.
So, come tonight, Michigan will be ranked fourth in the country,
behind Notre Dame, Colorado and Nebraska. Next week, as Michigan
makes Purdue look like the Ann Arbor Hurons, Colorado and Nebraska
will be playing one another.
Therefore, one of those two teams drop below Michigan, leaving the
winner of that game and Notre Dame in front. Now pay attention, this is
where things get a wee bit hairy.
Notre Dame has two tough road games left, playing at Penn State and
at Miami (Fla.) in the last two weeks of the season. Despite the fact that
no one around here likes the Irish, if they win both those games everyone

here should admit they are the best team in this country.
But I think they'll lose one of those games. Some coach will finally
get it through his thick skull to kick the damn football away from Raghib
Ismail. It could be Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
That leaves either Colorado or Nebraska standing in Michigan's way to
glory. If it's Colorado, Michigan must hope for the Buffaloes to lose in
their bowl game. This could possibly mean a loss to Miami in the Orange
Bowl.
If Nebraska wins, Michigan could get help from Oklahoma, which goes
into Lincoln on November 18, the day Michigan should beat Minnesota
for the Jug. If Nebraska wins that, the Wolverines will have to hope for
Miami to beat the Cornhuskers in the Orange Bowl.
Either way you slice it, Michigan has a damn good chance at the
national championship. And you don't need the parting of the Red Sea for
that to happen; it's quite feasible.
Who knows? Maybe Schembechler thinks of all this when he sits in
the press conference and says "We can't lose a game and expect to go to the
Rose Bowl...
Pickers mash Mashers

Women's sports

$ 400,000

200,000

0

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MIGUEL cRUZ/Daily

REPORT
continued from page 1
the other women's sports would re-
ceive what they required to be com-
s petitive on regional and conference
levels.
To do this goes against the
principles embodied by the athletic
department. Bob DeCarolis, Mich-
igan's assistant athletic director for
finances, said the athletic depart-
,ment has operated on a principle of
"broad-based" support.
He extrapolated this phrase,
saying Michigan does not believe
Win frilly. financing cnme snorts-

women's coaches have been put on
full-time appointments, as opposed
to the 10-month contracts they
received while Don Canham was
athletic director.
Many of the current funding
differences between comparable
men's and women's sports can be
attributed to variations in coaches
salaries and differences in the num-
ber of in-state players on a team.
The athletic department has to pay
the going tuition rates.
"I don't know how much more
from a funding standpoint we can
go," DeCarolis said. "It has cost a
lot of money, but it has been
vnnnn,, wtll cenant"

diculous thing I've ever heard.
When they perform, then you pay
them."
The University has switched to a
form of merit pay, and Schem-
bechler has been replacing those
women's coaches whose teams
lacked enthusiasm and winning
ways. More changes appear
imminent.
Despite the coaching changes,
Weidenbach is hesitant to establish
separate bureaucracies for the men's
and women's sports, saying he
prefers "an integrated system."
DeCarolis added that having
parallel bureaucracies would result

promotions have been done for the
women than the men.
He noted that the volleyball
team is now televised on PASS
cable television, the athletic depart-
ment has set up "high school
nights" for volleyball and women's
basketball, and free trips to Mon-
treal and other prizes have been
given away at women's basketball
games.
"And we've upgraded our
programs quite well," Madej said.
"Our women's sports now have
better programs than all of our
men's non-revenue sports."

by Aaron Hinklin
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan Baseball team
finished its fall practices with the
annual Maize and Blue World Series
Friday. The intrasquad pitted the
Maize Pickers against the Blue
Mashers, with the Pickers edging
the Mashers 3 games to 2.

and Brian Corsen. The scoring
continued in the fourth when Greg
Haeger homered, driving in Matt
Morse and Dave Everly.
Pitcher Russel Brock had a fine
game allowing only four hits and
one walk. He also had five
strikeouts.

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