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The 38th president talks about the
Michigan of yesterday and today
In December 1934, a Michigan
aily football writer included in his
vish list for the following season a
eam with more victories and more
olorful players to interview. He did
tot know that Gerald Ford, the start-
center on the '34 Wolverines, was
come the 38th President of the
Ford played on Michigan's 1932
nd 1933 national championship
ams. In 1934, his senior year, he
as named the team's Most Valuable
layer for his work on the offensive
ne. He received his law degree from
ale and after four years in the Navy,
unched a long political career. Ford
ed as President of the United
tates from 1974-76.
Last week, Daily sports writer
avid Rothbart spoke with the former
resident about his athletic and po-
Daily: The 1994 Michigan foot-
all team has had an exciting season
afar. How good is this team? How
ir can it go?
Ford: I think it's a fine football
0, and it's tragic that one play kept
iem from having an unbeaten record
) far, but they have a chance to do
D: Is a Rose Bowl in Michigan's
F: Yeah, I think it's a possibility.
hey have to beat Penn State, Wis-
onsin, Ohio State, Minnesota,
urdue, but they can do it.
: After two consecutive national
ampionships during your sopho-
ore and junior years, the Wolver-
es suffered a dismal season (1-7).
hat caused the drop-off?
F: In '32 and '33, we were unde-
ated, and then in '34 we had a tough,
ugh year. In those days, our offense
as called a punt, a pass and a prayer.
e had an outstanding passer, Bill
enner, who broke an ankle before
ason started. Our punter, John
egeczi, was the greatest college
iter I ever saw and he ruined his
*ee All we had left was the prayer.
D: They should have put you in as
F: No, no, no.
D: Not many people in Ann Arbor
t remember what it was like when
e Michigan football team won its
*ational championship. How did
feel to win thoseconsecutive titles?
F: It was a great thrill. The ring
ith the national championship on it
still a very prized possession.
D: At some points during your
hior year, team physicians said you
d enough injuries to keep three men
it, yet you still started every game.
ow did you manage to play through
: I loved to play and I wanted to
in, When you feel that way you can
ay despite a lot of injuries.
D: You excelled at the college
vel. Did you ever consider profes-
:nal career in football?
F: Yes. I had two offers. Following
my senior season, I played in the Shrine
East-West game. I played 58 minutes
out there and the coaches of the Detroit
Lions and the Green Bay Packers were
there. On the way back, they offered me
the opportunity to play for them. But I
had thechance tocoach at Yale andalso
attend law school.
D: If you had signed on to play
center for the Lions, might your ca-
reer have gone differently?
F: It's very possible, because you
can't go to law school while you're
playing pro football. They only of-
fered you $200 a game. That was the
Depression. My job at Yale was $2400
a year. In the Depression you were
sworn in as President - that wasn't
D: A lot of Presidents have been
involved with athletics. George Bush
played first base at Yale. You an-
chored the Michigan football team.
Does success in sports lead to success
later in life?
F: No question about it. One of the
greatest honors I ever received was
being chosen Most Valuable Player
by my teammates and that experience
and that recognition (stayed with me)
my whole life, as I went to the White
D: You graduated almost sixty
years ago. Are there more or less
opportunities for students coming out
academically, and the Medical School,
the Law School, the Engineering
School, the Business School, they're
all up in the top 10. I don't think
we've compromised anything for ath-
D: President Carter has been ex-
tremely active in recent months, act-
ing as a diplomat in North Korea and
Haiti. What do you think about the
work that he's done?
F: I hope it's helpful to President
Clinton. I have strong reservations
about the United States sending mili-
tary forces to Haiti to restore a dis-
credited Aristide. On the other hand,
once the President's made the deci-
sion, as Clinton has, as a good Ameri-
can I hope it's successful.
D: How do you feel about Presi-
dent Clinton's term in office?
F: I have mixed feelings. I strongly
applauded his effort to get NAFTA
through. I was pleased to help Presi-
dent Clinton (in that matter). I have
reservations about Clinton's health
program. I think he tried to go too far
too fast and the net result is that Con-
gress turned it down.
D: The funeral of Richard Nixon
was a sad occasion, but also a trium-
phant moment for our country, with
all of the Presidents assembled, along
with family and friends of President
Nixon. What were you going through
F: Well, I knew Dick Nixon from
1949 on. He was a good personal
friend, and in the area of foreign
policy, he was one of our best Ameri-
can Presidents. He made some mis-
takes and that's sad. I was very sad-
dened at the funeral because we were
D: What do you feel your role is as
a former President?
F: I've taught and lectured. I've
done political campaigning for candi-
dates I can conscientiously support. I
vigorously campaigned for George
Bush. I thought he was a good candi-
date. I picked him to go to China as
my representative there when I was in
the White House, brought him back,
made him head of the CIA. This year,
I'm going to make a speech for Gov-
ernor Engler. I've also campaigned
for Governor Pete Wilson out in Cali-
D: Have you had time for recre-
F: Sure. I've been trying to im-
prove my skiing and my golf game.
D: What's your handicap?
F: I'm sorry, that's highly classi-
A friendly game? No
such thing with State
ith apologies to Grantland Rice...
Outlined against the blue-gray October sky, the 40 Daily staffers
played again. In their occupation, they are known as Editor,
Reporter, Photographer. These are only aliases. To those who saw these
sinewy apparitions take the field against an academically challenged
Michigan State squad, the Wolverines will go down in the annals of history as
OK, so they weren't the Four Horsemen, and the site wasn't Notre Dame.
But the way the behemoths of Cow Manure U approached the Michigan Daily
- State News football game, you'd think the golden dome itself were at
The day was last Friday. The
place: Palmer Field. As is tradition
before every Michigan - Michigan
State football game, the schools'
respective student newspapers
Twgathered for a no-pad, tackle
a precursor to the real game.
This was the definition of a fall
classic: leaves crumpling on their
stems, sun setting behind the bell
tower, warmup tosses looping like
bumble bees in flight. It was to be a
SI friendly game, between non-football
<r types - people who know letters to
the editor, as opposed to varsity
That's not the way it turned out.
In what can only be characterized
as a pathetic ploy, State brought in at
SDOUGLAS KANTER/Daiyleast a dozen ringers. Big guys. You
know, the kind who use lard for
Tim Smith gets pummeld by State's toothpaste.
goons. He was one of three staffers As the State guys lined up, the
needing medical treatment. Daily sidelines - all knees and
elbows - questioned the drooling
giants' legitimacy. Did these guys really sit in on city council meetings, spend
hours squinting at negatives, or frantically flip through the AP Stylebook half
an hour before deadline to see if "lockerroom" is hyphenated?
As the game wore on, the answer became clear.
State's defensive line repeatedly lifted Daily players off the ground,
slamming them with the force of a Holstein falling off a cattle car. The
Spartans bookended sports staffer Tim Smith - no flyweight himself - and
sent him to the hospital with bruised ribs. The gang in green clawed at
quarterback-photographer Joe Westrate's shirt, literally ripping it to shreds.
And sideline witnesses of the carnage swear they heard cries of "Nail him,
Bull!" coming from State's huddle.
Indeed, the situation had gotten out of hand. After another State rusher
dragged three myopic news aides across midfield for a 15-yard gain, both
sidelines spilled onto the field, chests puffed out.
Daily Editor-in-Chief Jessie Halladay demanded the non-newspaper
types get lost, and after several international hand signals were exchanged,
the offending players left the field.
The subsequent game was closer to the one originally billed: a bunch of
no-talent (physical or mental, depending on your point-of view) news writers
blissfully floundering about on the turf, their spirals looking more like pasta
than football passes.
State may have won both games, but the outcomes were unimportant.
As the sky smoldered and blackened overhead, the warriors returned
the football to the CCRB's equipment desk. The two sides strided from the
storied field, both feeling the moral glow from the last game, the honest
game. It was State photographer Darrell Taunt who summed up the
emotions welling in the hearts of those who stayed, those who valued the
integrity of their sacred journalism over any athletic victory:
"There's just too many people taking it seriously," he said, looking
toward the melting horizon. "Let's just go drink."
damn lucky to get a job, period.
D: What skills did you acquire
during your football career that helped
you later in life?
F: The main thing was learning to
have teamwork. Whether it's foot-
ball, basketball or politics, teamwork
is the only way in the long run to win.
Also, athletics teaches you discipline
- personal discipline and team disci-
pline, and that is absolutely essential
when you get into politics or business
or any profession.
D: When you were at Michigan,
the President was Franklin Roosevelt.
Did you have any presidential aspira-
tions back then?
F: No, I just wanted to get through
school and earn a living. I was on the
student council for one year, and that
may have helped wet my appetite for
a subsequent political career.
D: What has been a bigger thrill,
winning football games or political
F: They came at different eras in
my lifetime. When I was at Michigan,
playing for a winning football team
was a big, big thrill. Those were excit-
ing moments in my athletic career.
But you can't do better than being
of college in 1995 than there were in
F: No question about it. I'm very
optimistic about the country's future.
I don't like everything that's happen-
ing, but I look at the track record of
our country and we should be proud
of it. The generations graduating to-
day have at least as good, if not better,
possibilities than we did when we
(graduated) during the Depression.
People don't realize when I was at
Michigan, we had 25% unemploy-
ment in the state, so job opportunities
were not very prevalent.
D: What advice can you offer cur-
rent Michigan students?
F: They should do well while
they're in school. If they have an
ambition and discipline, there's no
doubt in my mind that there are job
opportunities out there and they can
start building for the future.
D: College sports is certainly a
larger entity than it was in your play-
ing days. Has athletics overshadowed
academics at today's universities?
F: I don't think so. At least at
Michigan, I think we have been able
to maintain our academic scorecard. I
look at these magazines that rate us
(ermit takes Transamerica in playoff
APA, Calif. (AP) - Kermit
arley took advantage of Isao Aoki's
or tee shot on the first playoff hole
unday to win the Transamerica Golf
The victory marked Zarley's first
'umph in three years on the Senior
GA Tour. Silverado Country Club
iso was the site of his first PGA Tour
ein 26 years ago.
It's been a long time," said Zarley,
o earned $90,000. "This is real spe-
This was the first time a playoff was
quired in the tournament's six-year
Zarley birdied the par-5 playoff
hole, while Aoki settled for par after
pulling his tee shot into the trees. The
two players finished regulation in 12-
Defending champion Dave Stock-
ton, Gary Player and J.C. Snead fell
two strokes short of Zarley and Aoki.
Six players finished at207, three strokes
off the pace.
Zarley's triumph overshadowed an
excellent closing performance by Aoki.
He blistered the last 10 holes on the
South Course in 10-under. He finished
with atournament-tying, 18-holerecord
Aoki broke the nine-hole tourna-
ment record with a 29 on the back nine.
Aoki's back-nine total was a par-37.
Aoki, who shot 72 Saturday, began
his charge with an eagle on the 512-
yard No. 9. After a perfect tee shot, he
struck a 4-iron some 210 yards. The
ball settled 25 feet from the cup, and he
rolled in the putt.
Aoki's longest of eight birdie putts
on the back nine traveled 25 feet. He
ended the day with just 27 putts.
Zarley started the day three shots
better than Aoki at 6-under.
Zarley had a chance to win in regu-
lation. He missed a 30-foot putt for an
eagle on the 500-yard par-5 finishing
hole. He tapped in from two feet for
birdie and the tie.
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