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October 19, 1990 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-19

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Latest Deadline

in the State

The Michigan Daily Centennial Edition - Friday, October 19, 1990 - Page 11

COVERING

Griddes: 36 years of
sheer crazy pickins'

q

uy I nesvuulFw vvw

Harsh or

sweet,

the man

always had a story

by Mike Gill
Many of the 100,000 plus fans
who cram into Michigan Stadium
every football Saturday claim that
Bo Schembechler is bigger than life.
Actually, Schembechler's
Michigan career was only a little
more than one-fifth of the Daily's
life. The legendary coach spent 21
years parading the Michigan
sidelines and in the process, met
with student reporters from the*
campus newspaper. In that time, Bo
was his usual self - controversial,
loveable, humorous - and always
leaving some sort of an impression.
It had alway's been a reporter's
dream to cover Michigan football
and the man who symbolized it. For
some, the experience was pleasur-
able, for others, downright scary.
R ~ 4

Take for instance Dan Perrin,
who covered Michigan's 1979, 6-2,
Big Ten season. Perrin began
questioning Schembechler about the
Wolverines kicking game after one
of the coach's Monday press
luncheons at Weber's Inn.
Schembechler did not take to kindly
to the reporter's line of questioning
and pushed him. The event made
national news..
"Dan's not a malicious guy, but
he's a good quick questioner like a
lot of radio guys are. Bo became
fairly upset at that," said 1979-80
Daily sports editor Geoff Larcom,
who witnessed the event and wrote
the Daily's account of it.
Larcom, who currently is the
sports editor at the Ann Arbor News,
believes that it was this type of
hands-on experience that makes the
Daily so valuable. "The hardest
thing I had to do was figure out how
to handle the Bo story because you
had one of your staffers pushed," he
said. "How much do you play it up,
how much do you become the
story?"
A few years later, Schembechler
treated Daily writers slightly
different at his Monday luncheons.
According to Scott G. Miller, who
covered Michigan's 1987 Hall of
Fame Bowl season, Schembechler
ordered extra food for Daily staffers.
Bo instructed the waitress to
bring the Daily reporters another

whole meal. "I remember when I
was their age," Schembechler told
the waitress. "I used to eat three or
four (cheeseburgers). Now go back
and get them some more."
Miller, the Daily's 1987-88
sports editor, recalled meeting
Schembechiler for the first time as
the Daily's baseball writer while Bo
was trying to land a recruit from
Massachusetts named Greg McMur-
try. While Miller spoke with former
baseball coach Bud Middaugh,
Schembechler entered the office to
talk with Middaugh about McMur-
try, who had been drafted in the first
round by the Boston Red Sox.
"He yelled at me the first time he
met me," Miller recalled. "He asked
me where I was from and I told him
Boston. He starts yelling, 'You
easterners don't know nothing about
football.' I just looked at him and
said 'You're absolutely right coach. I
didn't know anything until I came
out here and started watching you
play."'
"Good answer. Have a seat,"
Schembechler responded. He then
proceeded to pump Miller for
insights on McMurtry's leanings,
after learning Miller had spoke the
day before with the recruit's family.
Bo continually tried to keep the
Daily happy, even if it resulted in
telling small fibs. Recalled Miller:
"One day I was in the football office

and Bo walked in and said, 'Let me
tell you, you guys at the Daily are
doing a great job, a great job.'
"I said, 'Coach, I know you don't
read the Daily.'
"He said, 'You're right, I don't
read the Daily but I haven't received
any complaints, so you're doing a
great job."'
Current Michigan beat writer for
the Detroit News, and 1982 sports
editor Bob Wojnowski takes a little
something different from his first
meeting with Bo. "I remember going
on just thinking about what he
would be like," Wojnowski. "After
it was done, all I could think of was
that he was shorter than I thought he
would be."
So goes Bo. Not bigger than life.
Not as tall as expected either.

There is one part of the sports section where Daily writers are permitted
to make up facts, lie, and encourage gambling. No, not the Daily's
volleyball coverage. It's Griddes, of course.
Griddes is the contest in the Daily in which readers test their football
knowledge by predicting the results of upcoming matches.
'Grid selections' was born September 28, 1954. The original idea was to
challenge the knowledge of the Daily sports staff. For years the staff had
been predicting upcoming football games. As usual, each sports writer
would make their predictions for 15 games. If a reader's record beat any staff
member, that person would get their name printed in Tuesday's paper.
The first week over 200 people turned in their picks. Three fans won,
correctly picking 12 of 15 games. The following week a sports night editor
beat everyone with a record of 11-4.
The next year, the format changed to its present state. The reader with the
best record would win some sort of prize. The tie breaker went to whoever
came closest to predicting the score of Michigan's game.
"We wish we could offer a $64,000 bonanza to the winners, but our
uranium stock failed over the summer," began Griddes in the fall of 1955.
The prize became tickets to a movie at either the State or Michigan theater
In 1956, the sports staff started picking the movie you could see, such as
"War and Peace" at the Michigan Theater. In 1958, the winner was fortunate
enough to win tickets to see Pat Boone in "Mardi Gras."
During the 1960's the prize became pizza. Where the pizza came from
changed from year to year. For a while it was from Cottage Inn, then
Dominos, Pizza Bob's, and so on.
Pizza was the prize until 1988, when Griddes took a year long hiatus.
Griddes returned last year with the present prize being dinner for two at
O'Sullivan's Eatery and Pub.
During the late 1960's one of the greatest gridiron teams was added to the
list of games - The Daily Libels. The Libels is the sports staff's own
version of a football team. It has a proud tradition against teams like The
State News, The Ohio Lantern, and The Mean Machine. The Libels had a
winning streak that extended to 713 games. Unfortunately, due in part to
poor drafting, the Libels have been on a losing streak as of late.
Griddes, in it's current state, often includes a photo with the game
listings. The photo is usually an Associated Press shot. Below the photo is
a creative writer's ramblings somehow linking the person in the photo with
playing Griddes. On occasion, the same picture used for Griddes has appeared
on the front page of The New York Times.
Last year, Basketball Griddes was introduced. You don't play basketball
on the gridiron, but now the Daily can continue running goofy captions for
almost an entire year.
One last oddity about Griddes is the spelling of the title. It began as
"Grid selections," then changed to "Grid picks," only to become "Gridle
picks," followed by "Gridde picks," to its modern form of just plain
"Griddes." None of the spellings are in the dictionary. That's just part of the
fun of Griddes.

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