The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday- January 15, 1990 - Page 3
he new coach talks
about life at the top
Everyone knows the story of
Steve Fisher. He led the Michigan
basketball team to the national
championship as an interim head
zwach and now has the Wolverines
off to an 11-2 start this year. During
Winter Break, Fisher mulled over
lunch and questions from Daily Bas-
ketball Writer Mike Gill.
Daily: What's your opinion on
Penn State joining the Big Ten?
Fisher: I can't comment intelli-
gently enough on what kind of effect
that is going to have. The thing that
don't like, that most don't that's in
Ahe business, is that we read about in
the paper. Not as much me as the
athletic directors. I think they should
have been involved and consulted and
their opinions valued rather than no
' It has some drastic ramifications
on scheduling, travel, all those
things. It was almost like, 'well
they're in, we'll worry about all
*Lhose things later.'
D: Do you see it as something
the presidents just went out and did
without even giving a thought to the
people it would most affect?
F: They just looked at Penn
State as being a plus for the Big
Ten. I do think they have an image
and a reputation that's quality. From
that standpoint, I think it will be
good for the league. Time will tell
whether or not what's happened will
be a plus for the total scope of the
, D: I know you don't want a Big
Ten basketball tournament, but with
the possibility of that and now
eleven league teams, what do you
envision as a possible schedule?
F: I have no idea. I don't have a
;clue. Football's not going to com-
pete until the mid-90's and I don't
know when they'll start in basket-
ball and whether it will continue to
be a round robin where now you're
locked into 22 games and then if
they (the NCAA) cut back to 25
(games) like they say they are, that
doesn't give you much flexibility to
bring in the Duke's and the Northern
Michigan's or anyone else you want
*to bring in. (Editor's note: Since the
interview, the games have been cut)
D: Since this is your first year as
head coach, what has surprised you
most about the job?
F: Well, I don't know if it would
be labelled a surprise, but the de-
mands on your time have been even
more than I anticipated. I think we're
*coping with it satisfactorily, but it's
hard, from the standpoint of all the
things that you are either responsible
to do, or feel you are, or that you're
asked to do, starting from speaking
requests, and the mandatory obliga-
tions that come with the job.
down and turning on an NBA game
at night you have to go - we have
a play room - and play with the
kids. So you use the time you've
got when you got it when you can.
D: What is it that scares you the
F: (Pause) Oh, I don't think
scared is the right word because
when I find myself looking for
things to worry about it usually cen-
ters around recruiting or who we're
going to have a year from now, or
losing four seniors. I try to have that
be a fleeting moment and we're
working hard on continuing to re-
cruit. But I'm worried more about
this team than next year's team. I
mean, I want to enjoy the success
that we're going to have, be a part of
it, and still have the foresight or the
ability to look down the road and
know that we've got to fill some big
D: Does it bother you when you
see someone like Dick Vitale come
on - I'm sure you saw a videotape
of the Duke game - and says first,
that you needed an identity and sec-
ond of all, that you couldn't recruit
because of what has happened so far
F: I don't know that he was... he
talked to me in Vegas about some of
those things and how he's not say-
ing I can't recruit. It's a natural to
compare who we get with who
Frieder gets. But no, it really
doesn't. If we're mired in tenth place
five years from now then it will
bother me. So that's once again, an
image you have no control over
what other people say.cYou just go
about your business, feel you're do-
ing it the way you want to do it.
Time will tell whether you're con-
tinuing to get the players.
D: Did you ever fathom the
chance that you might be able to
move up to head coach at Michigan
when you came here?
F: Not really. No.
D: Did you ever consider that?
F: No. No. I didn't think that it
was even a possibility for me. I
thought Bill (Frieder) was a lifer
here. Born, raised, schooled here,
coached here. I never envisioned him
leaving. But I felt this would be an
opportunity for me to be a head
D: Do you see yourself as a lifer
here at Michigan?
D: So in time we'll be talking
about the gray-haired Steve Fisher at
It's a great place to live. You can
strip off the university and the job
and to live in Ann Arbor and have
everything that we have to do and
friends it would be very difficult to
say 'hey let's leave.'
D: Did you feel you were being
deserted or did you know this for a
while before it went public?
F: I didn't feel like I was being
deserted, no, this was a business
where, maybe more than most,
change is inevitable. Sometimes you
make change when it is least ex-
pected, for a lot of reasons but every
year coaches are hired, fired, or leave
on their own. But it was a situation
when I came in, I didn't think it
would ever happen with Bill. And I
was surprised when he said he was
going to take the job. I
D: Did you see the job wearing
on him - he's talked about the fans
booing him, and things like that?
F: No I really didn't. I still think
he enjoyed it. I think it bothered him
as he has stated, the negatives that
were either written or said about ei-
ther him or the program. Sometimes
the best thing to do is nothing.
Rather than get in there and stir ev-
erything up and tell them all the rea-
sons why what they are saying is
wrong, you just kinda bite your lip
and not say anything.
D: What did you think you had
to prove to have a shot at the
F: I thought we had to play well,
get a little lucky, win a few games.
The longer we're playing, the longer
I'm in the spotlight. The more Bo
and others are going to get to know
and see what I can do or at least see
me in that type of pressure-cooker.
D: If you would have lost to say
North Carolina, would you be here
F: I don't know. I don't know. I
think I would have had a shot at be-
ing here. But whether I would have
been here, I don't know.
D: Are you still in frequent con-
tact with Bill Frieder now, even dur-
ing the season?
F: Yeah. Yeah. To be honest,
Angie and Janice talk more than Bill
and I do. I mean, they talk all the
D: When you started coaching at
Rich East High School, what kind
of goals did you set for your career
and how have they changed?
F: I wanted to be a head coach.
When I came to Rich East, I wanted
to be a head high school coach.
When I came to Western I want to
be a head college coach. But I wanted
to coach and I stated repeatedly that I
did not think there was a great deal
of difference between the coaching
here as is Rich East. Lot of the same
drills we did there, we're doing them
now. It's teaching. You have to
teach to get the most out of them,
you have to be a psychologist and
all those things rolled in. I wanted to
be a head coach. I wanted to see if I
could do as well as I thought I could
PASADENA - I bet not many of you folks out
there know it, but last January 1, at the Rose Bowl, we
were all in "A World of Harmony."
In fact, we can say - and we're stretching it a bit
- that we all just finished a "Winter Break of Har-
mony." But, that's really stretching it.
I'm not kidding. Rose Bowl officials decided to dub
the 76th Rose Bowl game and the 101st Rose Parade "A
World of Harmony." They placed flags with the slogan
all around Pasadena, letting everyone with a pulse know
we were, indeed, living in "A World of Harmony."
My first reaction to this was, what "A World of
Crap." Why must every event under the sun have some
ridiculous, corny theme attached to it? The only reason
why we were all in Pasadena in the first place was to
see a bunch of college students try to knock the stuffing
out of one another.
But then, for
some reason, I
paused. I think I
stopped because I
felt a belch
coming on, but I
pondering this as
well: What if we
do live in such a
world, what if it
is a small world,
after all? What if
indeed come up
Of rapturous joy
at the Rose Bowl
Kirk Cameron to participate in the parade.
When you've got to plan a parade commemorating a
sports event, of course you call up Zsa Zsa Gabor, a
boorish woman who wouldn't know a football if Arnold
the Pig hit her in the head with it. Wonder if she gave
Michigan coach Bo Schembechler any tips before the
game. Dahling, you've got to stop running da vishbone
all da time if you vant to vin.
Much to the surprise of most parade on-lookers, Ga-
bor rode horseback amidst all the harmony and roses.
One of the most garish women of our times smiled
broadly as the crowd began to boo. All the Rose Bowl
officials, who were dressed in white suits that made
them all look like the mysterious Mr. Roarke, flinched
and gasped at the scene.
And then Mr. Pigskin himself, Kirk Cameron, came
rolling down Colorado Boulevard to wipe the memory
of Ms. Gabor away. As the men sat on their hands, un-
derage women began to screech as if they just saw Paul
McCartney. Cameron, who shared the beautiful float
with his bestest of friends, D.J. Jazzy Jeff, waved to the
crowd with the cheesiest of grins.
Oops, I forgot that darn pledge again. I love Grow-
ing Pains, I really do. I adore Alan Thicke, too. I like
this harmony thing; I think these Tournament officials
unearthed something catchy.
But, of course, there were some events that reminded
us that not everything in this world can be harmonious.
Like Schembechler's Rose Bowl tirade, for instance.
During and after the game, as we all know, Schembech-
ler blasted the officials for ignorance and incompetence.
Schembechler knew he wouldn't face the consequences
of his actions because he would be gone from coaching.
But who knew he would be gone from Michigan
completely just days later? Schembechler has no more
ties to intercollegiate athletics at all.
Michigan neatly calls it a leave of absence and
Schembechler says he remains closely in contact with
the University. Now that's harmony. But we know that
it's a "World of Crap."
Schembechler coached here for 21 years and deserves
our respect and deep admiration because of it. But his
leaving the athletic director position just days after the
Rose Bowl upsets me. It happened way too fast.
Maybe it upsets me just because he works for the
Detroit Tigers now. I despise pizza king/vile owner
Tom Monaghan for his treatment of former-loyal Tigers
Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish. I can't stand Sparky
Anderson because of all the optimistic garbage that he
spews day in and day out.
And now Bo associates himself kith those people
everyday. But, we can forgive him. He's Bo. And re-
member, it's a world of harmony.
. So, with this in mind, I've decided to declare this
space "A Sports Monday Column of Harmony." No
more complaining, no more sarcasm.
And keeping in line with this new era of good feel-
ings, we can nicely mention that the Michigan March-
ing band actually played "Malaga" at the Rose Bowl.
With the eyes and ears of more than 300 million people
from Japan to the United Kingdom upon them, the
Marching Band chose to knock their socks off with this
internationally famous tune of harmony.
Which reminds me of my own aforementioned
pledge of harmony. So, I must say that "Malaga" re-
mains, always and forever, number one in my heart.
During the Tournament of Roses Parade, with obnox-
ious Trojan fans crawling everywhere, the Michigan
Marching Band inspired Wolverine fans to proudly dis-
play their spirit. Arms flailed and goosebumps popped
as the 225-member band high stepped down Orange
And then came "Malaga." Truly a climactic follow-
up. We saw the tension build at the parade and then ex-
plode during the halftime show. Keeping with the Get
Rich Quick theme of Harmony, I absolve the Marching
Band for playing "Malaga" in front of millions of hu-
man beings despite my continued warnings of how in-
credibly insipid the song is.
Damn this pledge.
But we must continue with the "Sports Monday
Column of Harmony." So, I also forgive the Tourna-
ment of Roses officials for allowing Zsa Zsa Gabor and
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D: Do you have as much time to F: The no hair. The no haired.
spend at home now? Steve Fisher has no hair.
F: At this time of year I don't, You never know what life's go-
*biut even as an assistant, I didn't ing to bring for you. I was 11 years
have time. You have to utilize the at Rich East. I'm midway though
tilne you've got. Instead of plopping my eighth year here and we like it.
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