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April 15, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-15

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0

Tuesday
April 15, 2003
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SPORTS

1OA

0

'M' tries to avoid
overlooking Eastern

Walking a thin line
while bidding farewell

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer

David vs. Goliath?
Not quite. But when Eastern Michi-

gan comes
to Ann
Arbor for
tonight's
doublehead-
er, it will
take an epic
p e r fo r m -
ance by the
Eagles to
snap Michi-

TODAY.
vs
fas~m M~hP1~Y

gan's season-high nine-game winning
streak.
The Eagles (2-8 MAC, 4-25 over-
all) have struggled mightily this sea-
son in just about every area possible.
The team's combined 5.35 ERA is
more than four runs per game higher
than the Wolverines' (7-1 Big Ten, 25-
8). To make matters worse, Eastern
Michigan hasn't been making up for
its high ERA at the plate either, bat-
ting just .199 as a team.
But Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
has always preached that no matter
who the opponent is, her team heads
into the game with the same attitude.
"One thing that (Hutchins) teaches
us is to focus on ourselves, not on our
opponents," sophomore pitcher Nicole
Motycka said. "Even though she tells
us to do that, it is hard, because you're
thinking, 'Oh, it's just Eastern,' but it
challenges us to play at our level

instead of theirs."
And lately, the Wolverines' level
has been quite high.
Over the weekend, Michigan's
pitching staff, most notably Motycka
and senior Marissa Young, gave up
just three combined runs in four
games. Young's performance on the
mound, combined with her success at
the plate - she hit a grand slam in
the second game of Sunday's double-
header - earned her honors as both
Big Ten Player of the Week and
Pitcher of the Week, something she
had never done before in her career
at Michigan.
The Wolverines were off yesterday
following a road sweep of Wisconsin
and Minnesota this weekend.
But having to come back and play
another doubleheader on just one
day's rest could prove to be a good
warmup for what may come later this
season.
"We are just happy to be able to
play in good weather," Motycka said.
"We need to get all these games in.
These games this week will build
(pitchers') endurance and get us ready
for the playoffs."
In addition to increasing their stam-
ina for the postseason, the Wolverines
will also look to fine-tune other areas
of their game to extend their winning
streak.
"(We need to) just keep doing what
we're doing," Motycka said. "Hitting
the ball as well as we have been, and
pitching is another key, and our

REBECCA SAHN/Daily
Senior Marissa Young and the rest of the Wolverines will try to take advantage of a
dismal Eastern Michigan team this afternoon at Alumni Field.

defense has been solid, too. So if we
can keep doing the things we're doing
and improve on the little things, then
we will continue on the streak."
Tonight's games will be the team's

first games under the permanent lights
at Alumni Field. Following last year's
NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, which
featured temporary light, Michigan
elected to install the permanent ones.

JEFF PHILLIPS
Ramble on
Writing the final column of
your career is kind of like
picking your senior quote:
You want it to be witty and eternal.
Now that my Daily career has come
to a close, I need to write my senior
quote equivalent.
Luckily for me, I didn't have to
come up with a senior quote for high
school, so I never had to deal with
that kind of pressure.
But now I'm faced with the task
of avoiding a farewell column that is
analogous to "What a long, strange
trip it's been."
Am I putting too much into this?.
Probably. After all, nobody remem-
bers anyone else's senior quote
except their own, and I should
expect the same from this column.
So this one is for me. It's written in
my defense. It's everything I've
wanted to say, but never really had
the right time.
I've been called a lot of things in
my four years as sports writer and
columnist. I've been told I'm biased
against Ohio State and biased for
Ohio State. That I'm self-deprecat-
ing and egomaniacal. I'm caustic,
yet sappy. I'm a poseur and a homer.
I've-heard "You should take it easy
on poor John Navarre" and "How
can you not tear John Navarre a new
one?" I've used many inside jokes
and many references that are played.
And you know what? It's true -
all of it. These dichotomies are what
came when I tried to walk the thin
line between being a journalist and
being a Wolverines' fan. It was, at
times, extremely difficult and, at
others, extremely frustrating.
Sure, I wanted to run out onto the
field to high-five Brandon Williams
after he recovered the ball in Wis-
consin last season. I wanted to leap
out of the press box and knock down
Jeff Smoker's pass. I wanted to join
the pile-up after the Penn State
game, and I wanted to give Navarre
another option in the endzone this
season in Columbus. Even though I
missed being a fan because my job
wouldn't allow me to be one, I
wouldn't trade my experience for

anything.
During my years, I've been baf-
fled at how some coaches could
maintain their positions in the ath-
letic department, but someone that
I've never wondered about was
Lloyd Carr. Coach Carr was to me
as Tony was to George Constanza. I
tried to be professional, but I still
clammed up like a seventh grader
asking for a dance during post-loss
press conferences.
In my writing I've gratuitously
referenced "The Simpsons,' "Sein-
feld" and "The Big Lebowski" for
my own amusement and because
sometimes other writers can just say
things better than I can. I wish I had
something to quote this time, except
nothing is coming to mind.
Beyond the Daily, I wanted to
prove that reporters didn't gravitate
to writing because they couldn't
hack it as athletes, but sadly, IM
softball and beer pong titles didn't
prove much of anything for me. And
with a knee of papier-mache, that's
as close as I'm going to get.
Outside of the awkward recogni-
tion at the bar by drunken guys
("I'm not gay or anything, but I just
wanted to tell you I always read your
column." Don't worry, I'm not gay
either - not that there's anything
wrong with that.), I haven't gotten
the play I dreamed of as a naive 18-
year old.
I'd like to think that, through it all,
I've amused and occasionally
informed. To everyone that has read
my writing, I thank you. To all of my
friends, thanks for the memories. To
the Daily, thanks for printing my
column - because a law review
sure won't let me print this tripe.
Hopefully my body of work at the
Daily gives some justification to the
2.0 GPA I've maintained while
working here.
To myself, I hope I'll be happy
with this 20 years from now.
So here's my favorite quote in
Daily memory: "I don't do it for the
money, I do it for the fans," by Eddie
Money while we waved $1 bills at
him from the front row in Orlando.
His security guard confirmed this by
returning the money we threw at him'
during his second encore of "Two
Tickets to Paradise."
With that, I know I'll find one
more thing I've got to do
-This was Jeff Phillips'final column.
'He can be reached at
jpphilli@umich.edu.

0

Schmidt departs M' staff, heads to Dayton

By Chris Burke and Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writers
On a day when Roy Williams surprised the college
basketball world by taking the head coaching spot at
North Carolina, the Michigan
basketball program was left deal-
ing with a departure of its own.
New Dayton head coach -
and former Michigan State asso-
ciate head coach - Brian Gre-
gory announced yesterday that
he hired former Michigan assis-
tant coach Billy Schmidt to help
fill out his first staff.
Schmidt was a member of the
Wolverines' coaching staff for Schmidt
the last two years, following current Michigan coach
Tommy Amaker over from Seton Hall in 2001. The
33-year-old Schmidt had joined Amaker's Seton Hall
staff a year prior to that move.
"Tommy has taught me a lot of things while I have

been with him and the one thing he has always said is
'You can't control timing,' " Schmidt said. "I think
this is an opportunity to challenge myself profession-
ally - everyone on the Michigan coaching staff is
supporting me."
Dayton will mark the fifth stop of Schmidt's brief
coaching career. He began his time in the college
ranks as an administrative assistant and assistant
coach at Tennessee. After that, Schmidt moved to the
assistant coaching spot at Northwestern and was a
member of the Wildcats' staff for four years before
Amaker lured him away.
"We are very fortunate to bring in an assistant
coach with the experience that Billy has," Gregory
said in a statement. "He has helped build four pro-
grams in the SEC, Big East and the Big Ten.
"He has exceptional work ethic, which will make
him very important in our recruiting efforts, as well
as day-in and day-out with our players. He's done a
tremendous job developing post players - Evan
Eschmeyer at Northwestern, and Eddie Griffin and
Sam Dalembert at Seton Hall."

Gregory and Schmidt worked together at North-
western under current Detroit Pistons assistant coach
Kevin O'Neill.
"Everyone was informed of the decision: It was
proper protocol," said a source close to the Michigan
program. "It was a good decision for him personally
and professionally. It didn't come as a surprise,
specifically because this is the time of year when
there's a lot of movement."
According to Schmidt, he visited Dayton at the
end of last week to tour the campus and facilities and
interview formally for the job.
"I met with the (Michigan) coaches and players to
tell them of my decision - and I can tell you that
this is not an easy thing," Schmidt said. "They know
I gave them everything I had and that this has been a
difficult decision for me.
"On a personal note I will forever be grateful for
my opportunity here - Tommy has made me not
only a better coach, but a better person."
Michigan's search for an assistant coach to replace
Schmidt is expected to begin immediately.

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