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February 08, 2000 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-08

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No respect
Thd Michigan women's basketball team
failed to crack the AP top 25 yesterday
despite improving its record to 16-6.
Check out the new poll online.
michigandaily.com/sports

P;ORTS

104

TUESDAY
FEBRUARY 8, 2000

Dawg Pound proves CCHA takes center stage

By Geoff Gagnon
Daily Sports Writer
BIG RAPIDS -The rhythmic bang
-of the boards sent an echo through the
rink, as the reverberating glass
bounced the light of mirror balls and
spotlights through the dark arena.
A chorus of boos and chants wel-
comed the Michigan hockey team to
the ice as a sleepy West Michigan cam-
pus shrugged off the freeze of winter to
thaw it ,the glow of fluorescent-neon
lights apd flashing sirens.
As Michigan players skated to the
critical roar of the Ferris State fans, a
fur-clad Bulldog mascot warmed the
Carhart-clad audience as CCHA hock-
ey took center stage and gripped the
sport's fans in the tiny college town.
Each winter weekend, from
Kalamazoo to Oxford, Omaha to
Marquette and Sault Saint Marie to
Bowling Green, places like Goggin Ice
Arena and "Taffy" Abel Arena are jolt-
ed as"CCHA hockey takes hold of
some of the conference's smallest and
most spirited schools. Such was the
case Friday night at Ferris State's
Ewigleben Arena.
With unsurpassed enthusiasm, fans
in Big Rapids form an irreverent stu-
dent section known as the Dawg Pound
- pound being the operative word as
the-bleachers and boards could attest.
Led:by a back-flipping, plunger-
wielding, high-fiving canine, the Ferris
Statg faithful are drummed into a spir-
ited frenzy, complete with tasteless
Just as senior for-
ward Stacey
Thomas knows
the right spin to
put on the bas- ~
ketball, the
jWolverines over-
all movement this
season has been
upwardly mobile,
despite being
neglected in
recent ,
Associated Press
Top 25 polls.
Fife Photo 9

chants and foam dog paws.
Nestled ruthlessly and literally on
top of the ice, the Ewigleben fans give
Ferris State an advantage that every
student section should give its team.
They also brought a few smiles to
Michigan netminder Josh Blackburn's
face on Friday night.
"I flashed them a smile every once in
a while to let them know I heard them,"
Blackburn said. "They really get on us,
but they were pretty creative"
The story is the same at tiny rinks all
across the league - places short on
seats, but high on enthusiasm.
"I love playing in these types of
places," Blackburn said with a smile.
"The fans really get you, but that's what
fans are supposed to do. It's a lot of
fun.
Since Michigan joined the CCHA in
1981 - and even in the conference's
ten year history prior to that addition
- the CCHA has created unlikely
rivalries between some of the country's
largest athletic institutions and some of
its least known.
As predominate athletic powerhous-
es such as Ohio State and Michigan
share ice time with the likes of
Northern Michigan and similar small
schools, the one constant that binds the
two - the nation's most competitive
hockey - remains. ,
So, week in and week out, thousands
of fans who are left out of the glow of
other major athletic conferences cheer
team's like Nebraska-Omaha or Lake
Superior State with an unrivaled fervor.

And while the big and the small of
the league compete with relative equity
- witness Northern Michigan current-
ly in second place in the conference -
the contrasts of the programs are tough
to miss.
With its insulation-coated ceiling
rising just high enough to suspend a
Big Rapids High School hockey ban-
ner above the rink, Ewigleben Arena is
a far cry from the posh palaces con-
structed on the campuses of the confer-
ence's larger schools.
But don't try telling the folks at
Miami's Goggin Arena, where fans line
the boards to see games, that the home
of their RedHawks pales in comparison
to the Schottenstein Center where, on
most nights, Ohio State plays for more
empty seats than fans.
For schools like Ferris State and oth-
ers, empty seats are rarely a concern.
On campuses where hockey is the only
NCAA Division I sport in town, seeing
collegiate hockey's elite becomes a
unique opportunity for a collection of
small towns.
Consider Alaska-Fairbanks. With
only its hockey team competing at the
Division I level, the Nanooks' proudest
accomplishment off the ice in recent
years was its 1999 rifle national title.
So maybe its not hard to understand
why the Bulldog faithful pack
Ewigleben every weekend. After all,
just like at arenas in a handful of other
conference towns connected by the
criss-crossing backroads of the
Midwest, hockey takes center stage.

KIMITSU YOGACHI Daly
Dave Huntzicker and the Michigan hockey team have been treated to rabid fans and
raucous arenas all season long as their CCHA season has taken them on the road.

'M' women exceed expectations,
warrant Associated Press ranking

By Dena Beth Krischer
Daily Sports Writer

V I

There are those who
shy away from challenges.
And then there are those
who travel 9,000 miles
looking for them.

* -
'd l -..,.

I saw a young girl wearing a t-shirt
with, 'The future belongs to those
who believe in the beauty of their
dream' written on the back.
Curiously, I
waited for the girl BASKETBALL
to turn around so I Commentary
could see what it
said on the front.
Michigan Women's Basketball.'
You've got to be kidding me. That's
so... so... what's the word I'm looking
for? Cheesy?
It was a Friday night back in
November, and I was at a women's
basketball game. There were only
about 700 people in the stands -
including the Michigan band and
cheerleaders.
Regardless, all were patiently await-
ing the Wolverines to take the court
and face Athletes in Action for the
first exhibition game of the season.
I'll admit, I wasn't a huge fan of
women's basketball. And given last
year, when the Wolverines finished 8-
8 in the Big Ten and lost only one
player to graduation, I wasn't expect-
ing much.
The band played "The Victors" and
the 12 women donning the maize and
blue jogged out of the tunnel, split into

two lines as they went to center court
and rejoined underneath the far bas-
ket.
As the starting five was announced
for both teams, each Michigan player
threw out a t-shirt into the stands.
Some fans squirreled around, try-
ing to catch one, while others just sat
in their seats - a little wary of what
was to come.
It wasn't until Danish sensation
Anne Thorius snuck a behind-the-
back-pass to co-captain Stacey
Thomas, who went coast-to-coast, that
my attention piqued a little.
"Hey," I thought, "that was pretty
cool."
Michigan was now up 12-0. 1
unfolded my arms and started paying
very close attention to details - and
actually started to enjoy myself.
Thorius rolls her passes like Utah
Jazz point guard John Stockton,
arguably one of the best passers in
NBA history.
Thomas plays like her idol, former
Detroit Piston Isiah Thomas. Not
coincidentally, she too wears No. 11.
Sophomore guard Alayne Ingram
runs the point much like Denver,
Nugget Nick Van Exel (minus the
head-butting).
This may have been only an exhibi-
tion game, but these women were
playing like they belonged in the
NBA.
Excuse me, the WNBA.
Because, after all, they are women.

And yes, they can play basketball.
Very well, actually.
So well that they defeated Athletes
in Action, 90-75.
So well that since then, they've
posted an 8-3 record in the Big Ten
and a 16-6 overall.
Recent victories have catapulted
the Wolverines into second place in
the Big Ten.
Exhibiting clutch performances,
they've upset ranked teams three
times this season.
In fact, they've got a legitimate shot
at making the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolverines are attaining indi-
vidual accolades as well. Anne
Thorius has just been named Big Ten
Player of the Week.
Senior Stacey Thomas scored a
career-hIigh 32 points two weeks ago
against Iowa, and freshman center
Lee nie Bies is a contender for the
Big Ten Freshman of the Year award.
They've played so well that
Michigan is now regarded as the
"darkhiorse" of the Big Ten.
But riot well enough to be ranked in
the AP Top 25.
That's okay, though. The Wolverines
don'tnened to be ranked to show what
they can do.
"The future belongs to those who
believe'in the beauty of their dream."
Fox the Wolverines, the future is
now. And basically, they own it.
Where can I get one of those t-
shirts?

New athletic
directors live
on the edge z)n
college sports-
rmer athletic director Don
Canham represented a more sta- 0
le period in Michigan's sports
history. He hails from a time when ath
letic directors served their entire careers
at one school, and breaking a lifelong
relationship with that institution was as
rare as divorcing one's spouse.
Canham served as Michigan's athlet-
ic director from 1968-88 - an eternity
in today's frantic-
paced sports world.
But his 21-year
term at the helm N
was only the pinna-
cle of Canham's
lifelong relation-
ship with
Michigan. JACOB
The man com- WHEELER
peted in track & Behind
field as a student, the Wheel
and later coached
the sport at his alma mater before
becoming athletic director.
Canham's relationship with his
school is a love affair. He lives in Ann
Arbor, and he still attends most home
football games and occasionally a bas- ebl a e ah mc ni esc f "
ketball game. Canham considers cur-
rent athletic director Tom Goss a friend"
and talks to him often.
But he belongs to a dying breed of
lifelong Michigan men.
Canham lasted 21 years as
Michigan's athletic director. Fritz
Crisler, the man who stood before him,
headed the department for 28 years.
Before him, Fielding Yost, presiding
from 1921-41.
Those three men ran Michigan
sports for a combined 68 years - from"
the Roaring Twenties until nearly the
end of the Cold War - and, to their
credit, three staple sports venues are
named after them.
Canham, Crisler and Yost were, as
Canham called them. "career athletic
directors" whose interests rested solely
in Michigan sports.
But the three men who followed
Canham had other interests in mind
which took them away from Ann Arbor.
After running the athletic department
from 1988-90, Bo Schembechler left
Michigan for a front office job with the
Detroit Tigers. And both of his succes-.
sors, Jack Weidenbach and Joe
Roberson, were political men placed in
the chair by the administration.
Including Goss, the last four athletic
directors have filled the position for "
only 13 years. And when Goss resigns
his post this week, asThe Michigan
Daily reported yesterday, the University.AG.
will seek to fill the position for the
third time in 10 years -- a task which
required very little changing of the
guard during most of the 20th century
The age of lifelong Michigan men is
over.
The age when an athletic director's
only job was finding good coaches for
his teams has also gone by the wayside.,
Now in the days of recruiting, schol
arships, professional drafts, boosters
and more stringent NCAA guidelines,'
off-the-court violations seem to over-
shadow the X's and O's which naturally
flow through a coach's mind.
For instance, Michigan's 21-point
loss, this past Sunday, at the hands of
Ohio State, was never more than a foot

note as soon as reports surfaced that
Goss' tenure at Michigan was over.
And after the game, reporters were
interested only in the story behind
Jamal Crawford's absence - the fresh-
man phenom is the team's beached
whale while he serves his suspension.
Canham cites an athletic depart-
ment's increased accountability to the
NCAA as part of the headache.
"In my day the reinforcement divi-
sion was the Big Ten conference, not
the NCAA. When you had a problem
you resolved it with someone from the
Big Ten. The NCAA rule book is much
thicker than anything in my day"
Canham can't believe the number of
athletes at Michigan who own cars or
the resulting problems they've caused.
"In the past you never worried about
whether a kid had a car, we were too
poor. We had to work for room and
board when I was an athlete.
But full scholarships and NCAA reg-
ulations have replaced the purity of
yesteryear. Canham knows that the

" Information Meeting
Tuesday, February 8

S
S

7:00 PM

Selecting now for spring and
s mmer 2000 departures!

International Center,Room 9
.

a

www.peacecorps.gov
800-424-8580

I

For more information,
call Nancy Parachini at
(734) 647-2182
or Peace.Corps@umich.edu.

l ,

m

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