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January 12, 1998 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-12

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - inuary 12, 1998 - 3B

Q&A: Amani TQomer

A

Toomer
Former Michigan star Amani Toomer talks about adjusting to life
in the NFL and his movie debut in Jerry Maguire'

JOHN

Just two years ago, Amani Toomer;
a Wolverine senior receiver at the
time, was preparing for football
Saturdays and teaching the under-
classman the ropes of the college
game. During his four seasons with
the Wolverines, Toomer stacked up
143 receptions, leaving him second
all-time, behind only the 161 grabs by
Anthony Carter (1979-1982. During
his time at Michigan, Toomer
returned punts for the Wolverines as
well - taking two in for scores.
bomer is still making receptions
and returning punts for touchdowns,
but now he is doing it on Sundays as
a member of the New York Giants. And
in only his second year in the league,
Toomer is now on the learning end as
ie is taught by the veterans on his
team. One of his best teachers is
Giants receiver and Michigan alum,
Chris Calloway (1987-1989). Now
the two former Wolverines, along with

a third
Michigan play-
e, Tvrone
Wheatley, lead
the NFC East
ch a m p io n
Giants.
The Daily's
Jordan Field
spoke with
Toomer at a
Giants game
earlier this sea-
son against the
Detroit Lions in.
which both he
and Calloway
reached the endzone. The two spoke
about Michigan athletics, the
Michigan contingency on the Giants
and Toomer' movie debut in Jerry
Maguire.
Daily: Coming back to the metro
Detroit area to play the Lions, did you

and teammates
Tyrone Wheatley
and Chris
Calloway have any
extra incentive to
play hard?
Toomer: We
definitely wanted
to up our play. We
talked about it dur-
ing the week, and
we wanted some-
thing to happen. It
just worked out
that everything fell
in our favor.
People in Detroit
and from U of M don't get to see all
of the Giants games, so this was an
opportunity for all of my friends that
are still in Ann Arbor to see us play.
It's a good feeling coming back here.
I not originally from around here, so I
don't really have family coming to the
game, but I know that there are people
from the University that came here to
see us play.
D: How important is it for every
Michigan football team to get to the
Rose Bowl'?
T: It is definitely the ultimate goal
every year. Every Wolverine wants to
get to Pasadena no matter what.
D: It sounds like you're pretty
familiar with the Wolverine schedule.
Have you followed Michigan football
since leaving?
T: I always catch the games on
Saturdays. Any chance I get, I sit
down and watch Michigan play. It's
fun to watch them play because they
play with such emotion and with such
fire under them. I haven't been back at
all, but I'm really looking forward to
seeing everyone again.
D: Here with the Giants, you have a
couple teammates that played at
Michigan. What about the other guys
who you played with in school - do
you still see them or speak with them?
T: Well we played against Derrick
Alexander and the Ravens and it was
good to see him. He is still doing his
thing, and he'll going well down
there. It's always fun to see those peo-
ple and to play against them. I'm
planning on going over to the Lions
lockeroom to see Coach (Gary)
Moeller in a few minutes. As far as
the guys we have here, I've really
learned a lot from Calloway. He's old
school at this point, and he really
knows so much about the game. I
always ask him questions, and he's
always willing to help me. It's defi-
nitely a good relationship between us
here. I couldn't get to the endzone fast
enough after his touchdown to grab
him and celebrate.
D: You may have heard there is a

lot of controversy surrounding the
Michigan basketball program as well
as the Athletic Director's office. What
are your feelings about the whole sit-
uation, and what was your experience
as a student athlete at the University?
T: I never ever experienced any
type of booster donations when I was
in school. I really feel that a big part
of that is isolated to the basketball
program. Any of the minor allega-
tions when I was in school tended to
be from the basketball program. I
really feel that the University of
Michigan is a class school, and I
think that it is unfortunate that stu-
dents are put in the situation that
there are and it's unfortunate that
things did happen. But I'm sure the
program will be able to handle the
problems and move on.
D: What are you best memories as
a student-athlete at the University?
T: Probably beating Notre Dame
my junior year on the last-second
field goal by Remy Hamilton, beating
Penn State in Penn State the first time
we visited Happy Valley. There were
so many good memories and so many
things that I am thankful for that
came from being a student at U of M.
D: Would you say you still have
important ties to the Michigan foot-
ball program?
T: Well, you're always a part of it. I
watch every game, try to keep an eye
out for anyone else from the
University. Everyone on this team
knows I went to Michigan and every
time something happens there, people
rub it in and tease me, but we haven't
lost a game yet, so no one is on my
case yet.
D: We've talked about Michigan
and the NFL, but what I really want to
know about is what was your experi-
ence acting in your first movie, "Jerry
Maguire?"
T: I can't believe you recognized
me. It was a lot of waiting. We waited
for hours, and I wasn't even in it for
that long. I hate to have to see how
long the real actors wait. I was in the
hotel room for almost two days just
watching TV I don't see how they do
it, because it was really boring sitting
around. Actors must have a lot of hob-
bies. It was fun though. To see my
face on the screen, it was just a quiet
thing, but it was fun.
- For questions or suggestions
about future or past Q&A s, Jordan
Field can be reached via e-mail at
jmfield i~umich. edu.

LERI
Out of Bounds
Turco J accomplisvhments
are something eard
ometimes even your closest friends can be your harshest critics. At least that
seems to be the case for Michigan goaltender Marty Turco, whose teammate
and close friend Matt Herr told him earlier this year that Turco had no chance
of breaking the NCAA career wins mark.
Shows you how much Herr knows. Friday, just 24 games into the season, Turco.
scratched and clawed to his 112th win, breaking former Wolverine Steve Shields'
four-year-old record. And while nobody can diminish the magnitude of his accom-
plishment, Turco sure tried.
"It's nice to get it over with and shift the focus to winning games," Turco said after
Friday's 4-2 victory over Bowling Green. "It wasn't a dream come true, but the
moment was self-gratifying considering where I come from and what has made me
what I am today."
The moment was also a testament to the premier program that coach Red
Berenson has transformed Michigan into from the shambles that shackled it a
decade ago. Marty Turco did not build Michigan into a dynasty. Shields and Waren
Sharples had a much larger hand in that. Turco was able tride the program's coat-
tails of success.
He was fortunate enough to win the starting spot at the beginning of his fresbman
season when Al Loges provided little competition. He was lucky enough to play,
behind three of the most talented college hockey teams ever assembled.
But Turco's achievements cannot be attributed to luck. He has talent - a lot of it.
His bio is studded with crowning achievements: an NCAA championship, a 52-save
performance in a triple-overtime loss to Maine in the 1995 NCAA semifinals, and
All-America honors in 1997. And what makes Turco's newest record so great is that
he was around to break it in the first place.
The Wolverines lost the best recruiting class in college hockey history at the end
of last year. Jason Botterill, Brendan Morrison, Mike Legg, John Madden, Warren
Luhning, Blake Sloan, Harold Schock, Chris Frescoln and Peter Bourke left behind
a solid, but less intimidating, lineup in Ann Arbor. Michigan's defensive corps took
the biggest hit. Junior Bubba Berenzweig and sophomore Sean Peach were the only
truly experienced blueliners Michigan had left.
You can see why Herr was so skeptical. The prognosis was not good. The
Wolverines were picked to finish in the middle of the CCHA, a place they had not
resided since a fourth-place finish in 1990. Turco could have easily left for the NHL.
But he stayed in Ann Arbor :o finish his senior season and get his degree. Forget
the critics (with the possible exception of Herr), Michigan hockey is not dead, Turco
thought. And with a crop of inexperienced defensemen and many of Michigan's
snipers lost to graduation, Turco has led the Wolverines to the top of the CCHA at
the season's halfway point.
His credentials are outstanding. His accomplishments are nothing short of incredi-
ble. His perseverance and dedication broke Shields' record. Luck had nothing to do
with it.
And while Turco has never laid claim to the place in history that Shields has-it is
time to recognize that Turco's place may be even more special. He has taken the
Wolverines to heights that have never before been reached. He didn't turn this prq-
gram around, but he helped build it into a dynasty.
"I'm a part of this program," Turco said, "a part of this institution that has provid-
ed me with so much since the day I stepped on campus. I'm more thrilled for this
program when you look back and see what coach Berenson has brought this pro-
gram .from, accumulating all these wins and creating such high expectations."
Now Turco has created even higher expectations for the Michigan program, and
that deserves to be admired. It was tough to follow Sharples and Shields and even
more difficult to raise the lofty bar that they set. But Turco has brought the
Wolverines a national championship, and with it respect and admiration throughout
the country.
And for that, we owe Marty Turco a lot.
- John Leroi can be reached via e-mail atjrleroi@umich.edu.

I I

-';
,1

The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
INTRAMURAL SPORTS PROGRAM

WHAT'S
HAPPENING

I

rw.pub.umich.edu/daiy/

Intramural Basketball
Officials Needed!!

NOTICE:
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Office at 1514 LSA Building, 313/764-1400, or they can be viewed at
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