October 30, 1998
A dmire Jlim Wacker. He deserves it. Week after week, I
he sends his young Minnesota team against Big Ten
owers, absorbs brutal blowouts and tough questions,
*nd smiles at it all.
He loses. He smiles. He laughs. He talks about what went
wrong, what he knows he must fix and what he doesn't know
how to fix. He is honest. He is accommodating. He makes
jokes. Always. And he is under the guillotine.
Minnesota announced at the beginning of the season that
Wacker would lose his job if the Golden Gophers didn't win
five games. Now, with four games remaining in the season,
the Gophers are 3-4.
They aren't likely to win two more games, either, because
they still have to play Ohio State,
Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. It doesn't
look good. The pressure is on. And
>:, Wacker smiles.
"I hope that stuff won't be a factor
at all;' Wacker said of his players'
response to his situation. "Look, we've
only thrown one interception in the
NICHOLAS J. past two games. We're the second-least
COTSONIKA penalized team in the Big Ten.We're
executing. It's just that sometimes we
The Greek get pushed around by guys who are
Speaks bigger and stronger than we are."
p Now it's true that Minnesota proba-
bly could be better. The school does not have a losing tradi-
tion. For many years, Minnesota competed evenly with
Michigan and won national and Big Ten championships.
This is the school of Bronko Nagurski and Bruce Smith.
This is a school that has won a national championship (1960)
more recently than Michigan (1948).
And it's true that Wacker does not have a good record. In
four 1/2 years, he is 15-36. He is not Gary Barnett. But he
shouldn't be expected to be. Northwestern is a remarkable
*tory, only because the rise of the Wildcats was unusual.
Rebuilding a program takes a lot. Time is vital. Patience is
vital. Confidence in the coach is vital. And it seems Wacker
doesn't have those things. Win five or else.
Picture such a demand'at Michigan. While Wacker's job is
safe with five victories, Lloyd Carr's is not. Can you imagine
what would happen if his team only won five games? He .
would be run out of town. Gone.
Imagine if he were told he must win six games, or seven,
or eight. Carr has enough problems now, and he is 6-1.
Impagine if the ultimatum was 11 games. It might be already.
It's not fair. But it's not the criticism or the expectations or
e questions or the fans or the media that is the problem. It
is the guillotine. It is ultimatums. The number of games does-
n't matter, it is the act of setting a number itself.
Win five or else. It is stupidity.
"This program can get turned around in a couple of years;'
Wacker said. "Whether I'm going to be around to do it, I
don't know. Administrators, guys a lot smarter than football
.coaches, will make that decision." Wacker laughs.
Maybe it's because his situation is hopeless. Maybe it's
because he doesn't have to live up to the tradition Carr does.
Maybe it's because when you lose a lot, you kind of give up.
But I doubt it. Admire Jim Wacker, because he is an amaz-
ingly composed man in an amazingly idiotic situation. To
laugh, to get through the ignorant ultimatums, to coax your
players into executing, and to be honest while cringing in the
face of some administrator's threats, is to be commended. It
is brave. Admire Jim Wacker.
And understand what makes that admiration necessary.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika can be reached over
e-mail at email@example.com.
Course throws off
Blue men's harriers
Poor course markers cause M' to stray
By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Witer
The Michigan men's cross country second
team and a group of unattached redshirt runners
faced an extra obstacle toward the end of the
Eastern Michigan Classic on Friday.
The course directions were not clearly marked,
creating problems for some Wolverines.
"The first nine finishes went the right way;'
coach Ron Warhurst said. "Luckily it wasn't a big
race. I wasn't using it to decide who would go to
the Big Ten championships."
As if the course directions weren't challenging
enough, Michigan had to contend with the terrain
"We were running on little trails back in the
woods all day," McLaughlin said. "The terrain
wasn't fast like our standard races on a golf
course. Running up all
the hills and around the
junior Don McLaughlin
said. "But the rest of the
pack was a ways behind, and
didn't know which way to
McLaughlin, who ran
unattached in the open
meet and finished fifth,
and freshman Kirt
Laansma, who finished
sixth, benefitted by finish-
ing in the top nine.
"We were being led
through the course by a
moped," McLaughlin said.
"But only those in the front
who could see it knew where
we were supposed to go"
Most of the Wolverines
ft IN IIUIMII
home beforre ti
dercided hoi w ti
reco ard the tim+
We were prett
- Don McL
Michigan cross c
sharp turns made it real
"I didn't run very well.
I wussed out in the mid-
dIe of the race and let
some people by me that I
McLaughlin, who was
y/ a member of the first
team last year, is red
shirting this year due to
an injury. He took most
augh In of the summer off and is
ountry just getting back into
Laansma, on the other
hand, exceeded plenty of
ran an extra half mile as a result.
"We left for home before they decided how to
record the times;' McLaughlin said. "We were
Michigan runners Cory Brown (10th) and
Chris Bunt (11th) were victimized the most by
the course. The two Wolverines were at the head
of the group that strayed off course.
"The course was terribly marked,' Michigan
expectations on Friday.
"Kurt had a great race;' McLaughlin said.
"He's been running real well all year."
Laansma is a redshirt freshman who walked on
at the beginning of the year. The open race format
was a big opportunity for the red shirts.
It was one of the few opportunities for guys
like McLaughlin, Laansma, Brown and Bunt to
get race experience.
DAMIAN PETRESC U/Daily
Poor course markers at the Eastern Michigan Classic on Friday caused some of
the men's cross country second team and redshirt runners to stray off course.
Mortimer achieves success as a runner, leader
By Devon Phelan
For the Daily
Michigan cross country runner John
Mortimer makes his craft sound easy.
He doesn't mind the tri-weekly 7 a.m.
runs or the daily afternoon practices that
add up to 75-80 miles per week.
All the time spent logging miles on the
Michigan golf course has paid off for the
Mortimer finished first in every race this
year except one and set the course record at
the Murray Keating Invitational in Orono,
Success, though, is not new for Mortimer.
"I ran a fun-run mile when I was in sixth
grade and went pretty fast, and the coach
there asked if I wanted to go out for the
team;' Mortimer said. "I didn't know what it
was, but I said sure, and I've been hooked
In the seventh grade, Mortimer joined his
junior high school team in New Hampshire.
He said he was fairly successful, but didn't
concentrate solely on running until high
school. He played other sports until his
junior year when he decided running was
"By the end of high school, I had a cou-
ple of national titles," Mortimer said. "And
Two of the titles were in indoor track and
one was in outdoor track. The lone runner-
up was in cross country.
Mortimer's success didn't end in high
school. H e made the transition to college
running without any major problems, and
believes he was fairly successful in his
freshman campaign at Michigan.
"I was a top freshman last year in
NCAAs, but it definitely was a big jump in
both volume of training and intensity"
Mortimer said. "It was a totally different
With one year of college competition
under his belt, Mortimer has become accus-
tomed to juggling running with schoolwork.
The architecture major said it is important
to manage time wisely.
"It is difficult to budget your time,"
Mortimer said. .
"You definitely have to be conscious of it,
especially at a school like this where acade-
mics are so important. Time management is
a big consideration. You just have to work at
Mortimer attributes his own, as well as
the rest of the Wolverines', running success
in large part to the guidance of Michigan
coach Ron Warhurst.
"Ron is a great coach;' Mortimer said.
"He's very inspirational and very receptive
to how his athletes are feeling."
The closeness the athletes feel toward
Warhurst contributes to the solid team unity.
Mortimer says the Wolverines have done
well this year, and he is pleased with the
progress they have made.
"We've had a few races where we haven't
had all the pieces together, but when we
have had them together, we've run very,
very strong;' Mortimer said.
Beyond college running, Mortimer says
that while it's too early to tell what will
happen, the Olympics may be in the pic
But for the present, he is looking for-
ward to the Big Tens next weekend.
Since fellow Wolverine Kevin Sullivan is
out for the year with an injury, Mortimer has
taken over as team leader.
"His injury really puts pressure on me toa
be both a leader in performance and practices
everyday;' Mortimer said.
Mortimer, though, is comfortable with
leading the Wolverines to the finish line.
"There is a little bit of added pressure, but
I don't mind it at all," he said. "Actually, I
.Smulders scores big for Blue; stickers face unhappy homecoming
By Pranay Reddy
Daily Sports Writer
It's no secret that the Michigan field
hockey team has had trouble scoring this
Nonetheless, the efforts of one
Michigan attacker may be the best kept
secret in the Big Ten.
Michelle Smulders has
been on fire in recent
weeks for the
Wolverines and has
offense, scoring 14
Smulders now ranks
among the leaders in
Smulders' torrid pace was preceded
this year by another Wolverine.
At the beginning of the season, attack-
er Julie Flachs led Michigan.
Her play over the first few weeks of
the season helped spur the Wolverines to
a 3-2 start.
Flachs now trails Smulders in team
scoring with nine goals.
Michigan's 7-3 loss to Penn State on
Friday was no doubt hard for the
Wolverines to handle.
But for four particular Wolverines,
this past weekend's trip to Penn State
meant more than just a tough conference
Bree Derr, Kati Oakes, Erica Widder
and Ashley Reichenbach returned to the
Keystone State to play in front of their
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz
reflected on the notion of playing in front
of friends and family for the four
"(It was)nice for the girls to have their
family and support behind them," she'
said. "It (was also) nice for them to have
all their hard work noticed."
Derr, Oakes and Widder all hail from
Lititz, Penn., and attended Warwick
High School where Derr's father is the
Reichenbach hails from Palmyra,
HAwKEYE HEROES: It really is no
wonder why the Iowa field hockey team
is dominating the Big Ten, in addition to
the entire country.
The No. 2 Hawkeyes boasted both the
Big Ten offensive and defensive players
of the week last week.
Diane DeMiro grabbed Big Ten offen-
sive player of the week honors.
The senior forward scored five goals
in matches against Ohio State and Penn
State two weekends ago.
Iowa goalkeeper Lisa Cellucci was
named the Big Ten defensive player of
Cellucci owns the conference's top
save percentage (.850), and allowed only
two goals in two Iowa victories. In those
wins, Cellucci also recorded 17 saves.
Their efforts helped improve the
Hawkeyes to 7-0 in the conference.
LADY LION ROARs: Penn State scar-
ing leader Tara Maguire certainly
strengthened her grip on the Lady Lions'
record book this past Friday.
She scored four second half goals in
a 7-3 stomping over Michigan this
- - . -
Maguire, now with 19 goals on the
season, became the seventh player in
school history to record four goals in one
"Tara was on;' Penn State coach Char
Morett said. "She's a catalyst. Her inten-
sity and enthusiasm are contagious.'
Ironically, the Morett set the Penn
State record of five goals in a game in
- Lecture Nots.
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the conference in scoring.
This past weekend, she added three
goals to her season total, scoring one
goal in the loss to Penn State and con-
tributing two goals to Michigan's win
over Ohio State.
In the Wolverines' last nine games,
Smaulders has reached the back of the net
Student Express, Mc.
I If you are running for Michigan Student Assembly,