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April 20, 1999 - Image 29

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-20

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Tuesday, April 20, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 29

*WHERE THERE'S A

WILL

THERE'S A

WAY

Senior's leadership and ability leads Blue
By RAPHAEL GOODSTEIN DAILY SPORTS WRiER

Flint, Mich. is known for produc-
ing two things: cars and basket-
ball players. Will Farah almost
became the second one.
The senior grew up as point guard
of his high school - Flint Powers -
basketball team. He also pitched for
the baseball team and quarterbacked
*c football team.
He captained all three teams, just
like now, when he one of the captains
of the Wolverines.
Farah succeeded as quarterback of
the football team, but his mother had
other ideas.
She did not like the idea of him
risking serious injury on the football
field, so one day she replaced his
dootball pads with a tennis racket.
After football left his life, soon
Farah decided that basketball was not
his sport of choice. And then since
baseball season ran into the tennis
season, Farah decided that he would
try to achieve greatness by swatting
tennis balls instead of baseballs.
"My mom didn't want me to play
football because she thought that I
could get injured, and I decided to
stop playing baseball," Farah said. "I
,ad success in tennis, and I realized
at I had potential in it.
"I gave up baseball because it ran
into the tennis season."
Farah's pure athletic abilities were
a big reason why he excelled as a
freshman at Michigan. He finished
strong and won the Big Ten tourna-
ment his first year.
"He has a lot of explosive athletic
abilities," Michigan coach Brian
*isner said.
With that ability, Farah easily
reached success playing tennis in
high school. And thanks to a support-
ive mother, the foundation of a future
two-time state champion began to
take shape.
"When he was a freshman (in high
school) he had the quality of a win-
ner. He was willing to put in the
time," high school coach Dan
-McKenzie said. "He saw it as a
lance to improve. He would practice

four to six and sometimes eight hours
a day.
"His mom would map out tourna-
ments for him to play in and she
would take him all over the place.
She would feed him balls.
He put

Eisner refers to Farah as a player
that keeps improving throughout the
years.
"When he first came here he had
an outstanding forehand, moved well,
was very competitive and served
well," Eisner

in more
time and
effort then
others,
and he
gave up
all other
sports"
Farah

"He would practice four
to six and sometimes
eight hours a day"
- Dan McKenzie
Will Farah's high school coach

said. "His back-
hand which had
been his weak-
ness, is improv-
ing."
Many players
struggle as they
continue to
move up a line-
up, but not

continued
to improve earning him a top region-
al ranking. Before long he was
ranked in the top 70 players national-
ly.
"As he played in more of those
tournaments, he would get better and
get invited to play in better tourna-
ments," McKenzie said.
At the high school level, Farah was
almost too dominant for his own
good. McKenzie didn't bother to have
Farah play in many matches because
"it would have been a waste of time."
To keep Farah occupied during
practice, he would have two players
play the net, while Farah had to play
them with just singles lines.
McKenzie and Eisner both agree
that Farah has always been a leader
by example.
"He's done an excellent job in
terms of leadership," Eisner said. "He
works very hard and looks for the
other players to put in a hard days
work. He expects it."
All of the hard work has translated
into success for Farah. He presently
has 96 wins and ranks sixth on
Michigan's all-time wins list.
These trivial statistics do not mean
much to Farah though. The team's
success is what he is most concerned
with.
"Right now it doesn't mean much to
me'" Farah said. "Reaching 100 wins
nice, but nothing would be better than
to win the Big Ten title."

Farah. The senior, who now nears the
top of the Michigan lineup, heads
into the Illinois match with 19 wins,
one shy of the 20-win plateau - a
feat that he has reached in all three
previous years.
Farah calls Saturday's match
against Illinois "as big a match that
he's played in since he's been at
Michigan." The only other one he can
remember is a Big Ten battle with
Illinois as a freshman, something
Farah has stocked up as an experience
to help him now.
"I saw how important it was to the
seniors," Farah said. "I just went out
there and played for them."
The next two years at Michigan
would not be as kind to Farah. He
calls the team struggling and under-
achieving his one regret.
This weekend offers Farah a
chance to end his career at Michigan
the way he started it - with a Big
Ten title.
"There's nothing I could want more
than to win the Big Ten title, and
make it to Athens (site of the NCAA
Championships)," Farah said
The Wolverines did not start the
year with such lofty goals, though.
Looked to be in a rebuilding season,
it was Farah's job to sell the team on
their potential for greatness.
The team started off the year with
goals of finishing in the top half of
the conference, and now that they are

DHANI JONES/Daily
Will Farah and the Michigan tennis team are undefeated in Big Ten play this season. The Wolverines will battle Illinois for the
Big Ten regular season championship on Saturday at the Varsity Tennis Center.

on the brink of a championship, it's
Farah and fellow senior, co-captain
Jake Raiton, that can thank for the
team realizing their potential.
"Everyone looked to the seniors
and it was our jobs to make them
believe in our potential," Farah said.
"Not everyone was that confident. I
just tried to instill the belief that we
are a very good team.
"At the beginning of the year, if
you told most of the team that we
would be 15-2 and 8-0 in the Big Ten,
they wouldn't have believed you."
Now that the team is believing in
its ability, they need to play their best
match of the year in their biggest

match of the year.
Mighty second-ranked Illinois
comes to the Varsity Tennis Center on
Saturday. The winner will be crowned
Big Ten champions.
But the Fighting Illini have not lost
a match in this part of the country in
two years.
"It's very nice that it's at home. It's
nice to get a good crowd out there'
Farah said. "I've seen seniors step it up
a notch and I hope I can do it also."
If his past is an indicator of what to
expect, when a championship is on
the line Farah's pure athletic ability
can carry the Wolverines to step up
and claim its crown.

SATU RDLAY
Who:
Michiganvs. No. 2 Illinois
Where:
Varsity Tennis Center
When: 1 p.m.
The Latest: The Wolverines,
undefeated in Big Ten play, face
off with the No. 2 team in the
nation - the Fighting llini. The
winner earns the Big Ten regular
season championship.

Basketball coaches sue Texas city

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- The
men's basketball coach at Hampton
University, her husband and an assistant
coach filed a $30 million lawsuit yester-
day over their detainment by Lubbock,
Texas police who were investigating an
alleged scam.
The lawsuit contends police engaged
in racially discriminatory behavior when
they detained coachnPatricia Bibbs, her
husband Ezell and assistant coach
Vanetta Kelso on Nov. 16. All three, who
are black, have said they believe race
layed a role in how they were treated.
"The city of Lubbock and its police
department have known and tolerated ...
the selection and retention of police offi-
cers who have exhibited racist attitudes
toward African-Americans and other
minorities,' the lawsuit said.
3 e=The suit also contends police violated
the constitutional rights of due process,
equal protection and protection from
nreasonable and illegal arrests, search-
and seizures.
In addition, Kelso, who is pregnant,
claims the was humiliated, embarrassed
and threatened by an emergencyworker
at the University Medical Center at
Texas Tech because she vomited. The
worker threatened to stuff a towel in her
mouth, the lawsuit said.
The Bibbses and Kelso had no com-
ment on the suit, said Victoria L. Jones,
a spokeswoman for the university in
W utheastern Virginia.
Their attorneys, including O.J.
Simpson lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran,
filed the suit in U.S. District Court for
the northern district of Texas in Wichita
Falls.
,Named as defendants were the city of
-Lubbock; Lubbock Police Chief Ken
wWalker; police officers David Houser,
Keith Jobe, Brian McNeill, R. Hearron
and Mike Overland; and unknown
nployees of the Emergency Medical
Services at University Medical Center.
Tony Privett, a spokesman for the city
of Lubbock, said city officials haven't
sen the lawsuit "and of course we can-
not comment on something we haven't
seen."

The $30 million in damages include
$2.5 million for each plaintiff for past
and future loss of wages, medical
expenses, pain and mental anguish, plus
punitive damages of $7.5 million for
each plaintiff.
The Bibbses and Kelso were detained
Nov. 16 outside a Lubbock Wal-Mart by

officers responding to a customer's com-
plaint that someone tried to scam her.
The three were handcuffed and held for
several hours.
Police studied security tapes from the
store, determined that the Bibbses and
Kelso had no contact with the shopper
and said no charges would be filed.

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