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March 21, 2000 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-21

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 21, 2000-11

Men's tennis buried
by Golden Gophers
There's an old saying in sports: "win-
is contagious Unfortunately for
the Michigan men's tennis team, so is
losing. Sunday, after winning their first
six matches of the year, the Wolverines
fell to Minnesota, Sunday, for their sec-
ond straight loss ofthe season.
The Golden Gophers came out firing
against Michigan coach Mark Mees'
.club and never looked back. In the end,
Minnesota dropped only one set and
cruised to a 7-0 victory.
"I have to give credit to Minnesota for
playing exceptional tennis," Mees said.
"Unfortunately we couldn't raise our
level of play to match them."
Michigan entered its first Big Ten
contest of the season with a 6-1 record
and a No. 21 ranking. However, the
23rd-ranked Gophers were not intimi-
dated, and they dominated on their home
"Minnesota's fast indoor courts really
threw off the timing of our guys," Mees
said. "But we had an outstanding week
of practice and should have been ready
to play."
The Gophers quickly set the tone for
*the rest of the day by sweeping all three
doubles matches. Only the first doubles
match was close as the Michigan duo of
senior Matt Wright and sophomore
Danny McCain fell, 9-7, to Minnesota's
Martin Michalowski and Tom Haug.
At the No. 2 position, senior John
Long and sophomore Ben Cox suffered
an 8-3 defeat to Jorge Duenas and Harsh
Mankind. In the final match, senior Ron
Nano and sophomore Henry Beam were
beaten 8-2 by Jon Svensson and Tyson
*Parry at the No. 3 spot.
The singles play wasn't much better
for any of the Michigan players. Wright
managed to go three sets in his match at
No. I singles, but the other Wolverines
quickly fell in straight sets.
After the match, Coach Mees put the
loss into perspective.
"I know our guys are frustrated by the
defeat," Mees said. "But it's only one
match in a long season. Any team expe-
Iiences its share of ups and downs, and
we just need to move on."
Unfortunately for the Wolverines,
their schedule doesn't get any easier.
They have a week off before going out
on the road again to face Illinois for
another Big Ten match.
The Fighting Illini have won the Big
Ten title the past three seasons and are
currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.

By Ryan C. Mo!loney - Daily Sports Writer


parky Anderson, the Hall of
Fame manager of the Cincinatti
Reds and Detroit Tigers, always
believed in stacking his teams with
enough "horses" to challenge for a
title. Sparky knew the key to a suc-
cessful season - keep the best hors-
es out of the stable and on the track.
Michigan wrestling coach Joe
McFarland, whose team finished 13th
at the NCAA National
Championships in St. Louis this past
weekend, might agree with Sparky. In
only his first year on the job as
Michigan's head coach, McFarland
has dealt with a season-ending,
career-threatening injury to his top
wrestler and captain Otto Olson, as
well as nagging injuries to star senior
Joe Warren and freshman Mike
Warren and Kulczycki wrestled in
St. Louis, though the effects of the
injuries lingered.
That all three injuries occured in
the knee, which is to a wrestler as a
rotator cuff is to a pitcher, didn't do
much to ease McFarland's long-antic-
ipated ascension to the top boss posi-
tion in the wrestling program.
"Looking back, it amazes me that
we did as well as we did, considering
the challenges we had to face,"
McFarland said. "There were a num-
ber of times when we'd walk into a
gym and I'd think 'gosh, how are we
going to beat this team?' It was a
good year in that we were able to win
a lot of meets going down to the wire.
"But in the sense of all the injuries,
it was a frustrating year."
Want proof? Look no further than
the new light patches on McFarland's
head. Like Anderson, the 37-year old
McFarland is going gray before the
age of forty.
"They say 'when it rains it pours,"'
McFarland said as he relaxed on a
sofa inside the Michigan wrestling
video room. "I just hope I don't have
to go through (the injuries) again next
Who can blame him? The
Wolverines didn't exactly fall into
their 12-3-1 record (5-2-1 Big Ten).
They scratched and clawed for every
inch of respect in a conference where
many see the conference meet as the
real national championship. The wins
never came easy for the Wolverines
- they bit their nails against Penn

State, 20-17, and grinded it out
against Pennsylvania, 18-17.
And the losses? Violent shillack-
ings courtesty of Illinois and
Minnesota spoke volumes about the
knee epidemic.
Too many horses in the stable, not
enough on the track.
And yet, McFarland had waited
patiently for the job in each of his last
seven years Michigan. In 1990,
McFarland ended his successful pro-
fessional wrestling career in order to
man the helm of the Indiana program.
At the time, Indiana wasn't a formi-
dable presence in the Big Ten - the
Hoosiers found themselves in a funk
of mid-to-low conference finishes. In
McFarland's debut season, Indiana
went undefeated in duals, grabbed
second-place at the Big Ten meet and
snagged an eighth place finish at the
national meet.
Indiana wrestling wasn't just a syn-
onym for Bobby Knight practice tac-
tics anymore.
But the Hoosiers fell on hard times,
going 5-8 in McFarland's second year
and 5-12 in his third.
Then Michigan called.
McFarland donned the maize and
blue singlet during his college
wrestling days - establishing him-
self as perhaps the top low-weight
wrestler in Michigan history. He
remains second all-time in career vic-
tories with 166 and holds the record
for single season victories with 48 in
Michigan had everything a coach
could want - the tradition, the repu-
tation and an athletic department still
expertly run by Schembechler-era
The only catch? McFarland wasn't
about to call the shots. Dale Bahr kept
a steadfast hold on the coaching posi-
tion at Michigan over the next seven
seasons - perhaps a season or two
longer than anyone expected.
"I went back and forth between
leaving and staying," McFarland said.
"I had an excellent recruiting class
coming in and I was looking forward
to working with them. It was a real
tough decision, but I was excited
about coming to Michigan. I knew I
was young enough to come back and
be an assistant.
"Michigan was where I wanted to

be, but it was a question of whether I
should put myself in a position to take
over the program or try and come
back when coach Bahr stepped down.
I wanted to come back to the city of
Ann Arbor and when I made the deci-
sion, I was happy."
When McFarland finally did
assume the head coaching position,
most people appeared to forget about
his accomplishments in the years fol-
lowing his wrestling career.
In home and away meets, the PA
announcer concluded the roll of
Michigan's starting lineup in resound-
ing fashion - "and in his rookie sea-
son, Joe McFarland!" Yeah, and
Satchell Paige was a rookie pitcher in
his first year in the major leagues.
Nevertheless, McFarland knew the
breaks would be few after such a
lengthy hiatus from coaching and, as.
it turned out, there were far more
breaks in knees than lucky breaks.
When the franchise, Olson, went
' down at the Virginia Duals,
McFarland wasted no time respond-
Changes would be made and the
tired cliche, "people need to step-up,"
suddenly became the most applicable
phrase for the young Wolverines. In
no case was this more apparent than
in McFarland's decision to bring
sophomore Charles Martelli out of
Martelli's ideal weight fluctuated
between 157 'and 165. But
McFarland saw the potential in
Martelli's frame to make the result-
ing loss of eligibility worthwhile for
the team.
"He said it was a decision he did-
n't want to make, but that he had no
choice," Martelli said. "He asked me
how I felt about it and I said I under-
stood - I had to do whatever was
best for the team. He handled it
excellent, he's got a lot of experience
with these things."
Martelli's qualification and result-
ing experience at the NCAA champi-
onships only reinforced McFarland's
correct intuition.
Others needed McFarland's gen-
uine reassurance that they could pick
up the slack in Olson's absence.
Andy Hrovat was listening.
"At Midlands, I won one match
and lost two against a guy I should
have beaten (all three times)," Hrovat
said. "Coach told me, 'if you want to
be an All-American you've got to
improve - maybe do extra workouts
and get in better shape.' All along he
was building my confidence. I knew
what I had to do, but he was reassur-

Coach Joe McFarland, a former Big Ten Champion at Michigan, is hoping to guide
his alma mater to a national championship.

ing me of my abilities."
For Hrovat, easily Michigan's most
consistant wrestler in the dual sea-
son, the work paid off.
The Wolverines finished a
respectable fifth at the Big Ten meet.
Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois were
simply too strong, too fast and too
good for Michigan this time. Fourth-
place finisher Michigan State had
been creeping up behind the
Wolverines all season, first losing by
four points, then tying them at 18-18
then finally surpassing Michigan.
Respectable, but hardly satisfying
for the intensely optimistic
"We have to be more aggressive
with our attacks," McFarland said.
"We weren't at Big Tens. We wres-
tled hard, but we weren't ready to
attack. Basically, that's a mindset.
And we've talked about that - if
you score first, it's so important

because it sways your momentum
and confidence. If that's your prima-
ry focus when you first get on the
mat, you will be in good shape."
Half the battle in college wrestling
is recruitment. Mention recruitment
to McFarland and his face slowly
breaks into a grin - it's not a poker
And there's a lot to smile about.
McFarland added an impressive
freshman class to an already stacked
group of lower classmen and he
snatched up arguably the country's
best wrestler, pound-for-pound,
Chris Rodrigues, in the early signing
As long as the new thoroughbreds
stay out of the stable, McFarland
looks like he's closing ground -
down the stretch - towards the sta-
tus of an upper echelon team.
"That's definitely the goal,"
McFarland said.

Tennessee football
probe dropped
inquiry into possible academic fraud
within the Tennessee football pro-
gram has been dropped.
University of Tennessee athletic
director Doug Dickey said today that
the NCAA has discontinued its
inquiry into allegations that
Volunteers football players were
committing academic fraud.sDickey
received the letter through
Tennessee counsel Ron Leadbetter,
who was informed by the NCAA's
director of enforcement, Thomas C.
"Based upon available informa-
ion, the enforcement staff has deter-
nined that there appears to be no
need to conduct any further inquiry
at this time into alleged violations
involving academic issues and the
Tennessee football program," the let-
ter said int part.
The 1998 national champions
came under fire last year after
ESPN.com reported a former acade-
mic coordinator for the football
am alleged that university officials
knew of widespread fraud and did
nothing about it.
The report said administrators in
theathletic departmentknew of sce-
narios in which four tutors may have
written papers and completed course
work for at least five football play-
"I am pleased that the NCAA has
validated our review of the allega-
tions raised by ESPN.com related to
Me university's athletic program,"
ennessee president Dr. J. Wade
Gilley said.
"This validation serves only to
renew the confidence we have in the
administrative structure and
processes that govern all University
of Tennessee athletics."
The men's basketball team has
taken over the attention of the foot-
ball-crazy school for the time being
s it has reached the NCAA
Tournament "Sweet 16." The highly
regarded women's basketball team,
as usual, is among the favorites for
the NCAA title.


From All-American Wolverine wrestler to Michigan's
skipper, McFarland's resume includes the following:

Coaching Highlights
* Coached Indiana to 14-0 season
finishing No. 8 in the nation in
* Amateur Wrestling News 1990
"Rookie Coach of the Year"
* 1994 NWCA Assistant Coach
of the Year at Michigan
* Coached one NCAA champion,
three All-Americans and three Big
Ten Champions

Wrestling Highlights
U Four-time All-American
1981-82, 84-85)
3.1984 Big Ten'
Champion at 126 pounds
U NCAA record of 166-24-4
U Two-time NCAA
runner-up at 126 pounds
N Silver Medalist 1986
World Freestyle

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