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November 05, 2002 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-05

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4

Tuesday
November 5, 2002
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SRe Tid Sgrn B& tUy

8

I

Academics sideline
Gajic indefinitely

STEVE

JACKSON

By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Writer
Just when it looked like Milan Gajic
had turned his season around, he took
a sharp turn in the other direction.
Michigan coach Red Berenson
announced yesterday that he has sus-
pended Gajic indefinitely for academic
reasons. Berenson said the decision is
partly a preventive measure.
"He would end up being ineligible if
he keeps going in this direction, so I'm
giving him a chance to get back on
track," Berenson said. "And if he does,
he does and if he doesn't, I'm not
going to babysit him any longer. "
Gajic, who notched 22 points last
season, struggled to find his scoring
touch early this season, but seemed to
regain his confidence last weekend. He
scored two goals against the U.S.
National Team Development Program
Under-18 Team in an exhibition Friday
night - his best performance of the
year. Officially, he has registered just
one point, an assist against North
Dakota.
But Gajic had apparently been
struggling off the ice as well. Berenson
said Gajic's trouble in the classroom
had been going on for a while, and he
felt it was time to take action.
"We've had meetings and we've
had concerns, and I finally got some
feedback from his teachers in terms
of attendance, and handed-in
assignments and participation and
approximate grades, and it's not
Inspir ed
By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor

good," Berenson said, adding that he
will meet with Gajic weekly to fol-
low his progress.
When his coach informed him of
the suspension, Gajic displayed a
commitment to improve his academ-
ic situation.
"He said 'I'll get the work done,"'
Berenson said. "So he knows what he
should have been doing, and he hasn't
done it, or he hasn't done it to anyone's
satisfaction."
The news of the suspension is par-
ticularly harsh for a team that has suf-
fered one loss after another this
season. Neither sophomore forward
Jason Ryznar (separated shoulder) nor
junior defenseman Andy Burnes
(mono) have returned to practice, and
Ryznar's shoulder injury is his second
of the season.
Alternate captain John Shouneyia,
who has yet to play an official game
because of a fractured wrist, has skat-
ed in practice for almost two weeks,
and Michigan hopes to have him in
the lineup this weekend against Bowl-
ing Green.
The Wolverines learned of Gajic's
suspension before practice yesterday. 1
"It's definitely a blow to our team
and it sucks not to have one of our
buddies in the lockerroom everyday,
but we're going to try to do whatever
we can to get him back on the team
and get his grades up," captain Jed
Ortmeyer said, adding that the
Wolverines will "keep his spirits
high, and try and keep him positive

4

Williamss'firing a sad
but necessary decision

JASON COOPER/Daiy
Sophomore forward Milan Gajic was suspended yesterday by coach Red Berenson
for academic reasons.

and keep him working at it."
Berenson tried to be positive, saying
that the suspension could be looked
upon as an opportunity, but he also
expressed his disappointment.
"It really bothers me to see a kid
not take advantage of the academic
opportunity, even though he might
think he's going to be a hockey play-
er," Berenson said. "You never know
about hockey."

The coach said he relayed that mes-
sage to the Gajic, telling him, "Hey,
your options are pretty slim here. If
you don't get your act together in
school, you won't have the opportunity
to play for Michigan or go to school at
Michigan. And then you end up going
home and trying to get a job and trying
to get your life together.
"In other words, this is important.
This is a big turning point in your life."

brother, LeSueur redefining image

esterday's Michigan Daily
proclaimed that Bobby
Williams' days as a head
coach were numbered. As it turns
out, that number was one.
One day was all that Michigan
State could live with a coach that
had no control of his program - on.
or off the field.
One day was all the time Athletic
Director Ron Mason needed to real-
ize that a change in leadership was
the only way to stop the bleeding in
East Lansing and restore credibility
to Michigan State football.
One day was more than enough. Fir-
ing Bobby Williams was the right thing
to do and yesterday was the time to do it.
But when Michigan State named
offensive coordinator Morris Watts as
interim head coach, the number of
black head coaches in Division I-A
college football dropped to three.
That's sad news for all college foot-
ball fans, regardless of color. Bobby
Williams was by no means the worst
coach in the game, and he should get
another chance. Much of what hap-
pened at Michigan State was beyond
his control.
But the fact remains that he lost two
captains to off-the-field shenanigans in
two weeks and his team under per-
formed all season before finally quit-
ting in its biggest game of the year.
Those problems have undermined his
respect inside and outside of the pro-
gram and effectively prevented him
WILILIAMS
Continued from Page 1
incessantly at home games and called
for his firing.
But not everyone at Michigan State
University agreed with the decision.
Joel Ferguson, vice chairperson of the
Michigan State University Board of
Trustees, said Williams' firing is unfair
and starts a disturbing trend.
"Since I have been an adult, Michi-
gan State has also had a reputation for
fairness to minorities," Ferguson said.
"What is now incredibly disappointing
to me is that MSU, under the cover of
night, has decided to ignore the facts,
ignore the precedent and damage its
reputation of fairness and commitment
to diversity."
But Mason did consider some facts:
Michigan State announced Sunday that
suspended quarterback Jeff Smoker was
seeking help for a substance abuse
problem. That same day Michigan State
also announced that another co-captain,

from doing his job well.
Even if he had won Big Ten titles
in each of his previous seasons,
these scandals and poor results have
sabotaged his career at Michigan
State beyond repair.
Saturday, after his team suffered its
worst defeat in 55 years - a 49-3 loss
to Michigan at the Big House -
Williams was asked if he had lost his
team; he said: "I don't know"
Yesterday Mason responded, "To me,
that was the most defining moment."
The next defining moment in East
Lansing won't come anytime soon.
Watts admitted yesterday that he
doesn't expect to be the head coach
next year, and Mason gave no
timetable for when a full-time
replacement will be named.
As Mason and his advisors search
for a replacement, they should take
great care to evaluate every perspective
head coach regardless of race, and find
the best man for the job.
It is a terrible shame that some
people will use Williams' lack of
success at Michigan State as ammu-
nition against other qualified black
candidates, but that is outside of the
Spartans' control. This was an unfor-
tunate yet necessary action that
Mason needed to take for the better-
ment of his program.
Steve Jackson can be reached ai
sjyackso@umich.edu.
starting tailback Dawan Moss, was dis-
missed from the team after being arrest-
ed and charged with drunken driving,
having an open alcohol container in his
car and fleeing and eluding a police
officer.
Defensive end Greg Taplin was also
suspended Thursday, and two other red-
shirt sophomores, Jason Bradley and
James Cooper, voluntarily quit the team
last Monday.
Williams, who was one of just four
African American head coaches among
the 117 Division I-A schools in college
football, led a Michigan State team that
was ranked No. 18 at the beginning of
the year to a 3-6 record this season,
including a 1-4 start in the Big Ten. His
Spartans lost four straight games by
more than 20 points and dropped six of
their past seven games overall since
starting the season 2-0.
Since taking over for Nick Saban in
December of 1999, Williams has gone
16-17 overall, 6-15 in the Big Ten and
1-9 in Big Ten road games.

4

Michigan cornerback Jeremy LeSueur needs only to
glance at the tattoo on his right biceps to put his per-
sonal errs of the past in perspective.
Inscribed in LeSueur's flesh, and ultimately forever
ingrained in his mind, is an image
of the face of his younger brother,
Jeremane. Surrounding the image
are the words, "His Pain is My"
Pain" and numbers "4:13" -
which signify a Biblical verse in 9 -
Phillipians which reads:
"I can do all the things through
Christ which strengthens me."
Jeremane, 15, who is mentally
retarded and has suffered from LeSueur
chronic epileptic seizures since he was an infant, has-
n't always had the strength to walk.
He doesn't have the mental strength to fully under-
stand that Jeremy is living his football dreams, playing
in front of 110,000 fans each week.
He probably couldn't comprehend the "living
hell" Jeremy was going through last year after a
costly penalty and embarrassing off-the-field arrest
for soliciting prostitution brought him into the cen-
ter of public ridicule.
But Jeremane unknowingly gives his older brother

the strength to admit and learn from his mistakes. He
helps give Jeremy the proper focus to move on.
"You never want to take anything for granted," Jere-
my said. "Because you never know what can happen
or when it can happen. You just have to live for the
moment right now."
Right now, Jeremy is living for the moment. After
finding himself fighting for the trust of his coaches
and his starting cornerback position in spring practice,
he's now playing a critical role in Michigan's second-
ary. He said his confidence is finally at the level it was
when he was a highly touted recruit out of Mississippi
nearly four years ago.
"I'm a totally different person than I was a year
ago," Jeremy said. "I'm more mature, and I've learned
from a lot of stuff."
LeSueur learned the hard way that the media and
fans aren't always forgiving. On a crucial 4th-and-16
play in last year's heartbreaking, last-second loss to
Michigan State, LeSueur's admittedly "dumb" person-
al foul face-mask penalty gave the Spartans new life
on their game-winning drive.
"I wish I could go back and change that play,"
LeSueur said. "Until I saw it on (television) I didn't
know how bad it was to be honest. I was shocked and
felt horribly bad for my teammates."
Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp, unaware
of LeSueur's brother's condition, made matters worse

by calling the play a "brainfreeze" in his column the
next day. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr called Sharp's
words a "vicious, mean-spirited attack."
"Mr. Sharp should know that Jeremy has a 13-year-
old brother who was born with a severe brain injury,"
Carr said at that time. "And he should know his inex-
cusable use of 'brain freeze' has resulted in ridicule
and made Jeremy's life this past week a living hell."
Fans and media didn't realize that Jeremy and his
mother, Annetta - a school teacher - often alternated
missing several school days to take care of Jeremane.
"We'd have to take him to the hospital up to 15
times per night because he'd have seizure after
seizure," LeSueur said. "He had two or three surgeries,
either over his heart or on his brain. We were hoping
he'd grow out of it, but we just thank God he's able to
walk and get around and do stuff- that's important."
Learning to focus has always been of great impor-
tance to LeSueur - both on and off the field - and
the junior found a unique superstition over the sum-
mer that has helped him.
He said he wrote the word "focus" on a slip of
paper and places it in his helmet every time he plays
- and will keep it there until he leaves Michigan.
But isn't the thin piece of paper disintegrating from
all the sweat, mud and blood from this season?
"It's hanging in there," LeSueur said with a grin.
And so is Jeremy.

Spikers try for first win i
By Nazeema Alli "This is a big challenge and we are
Daily Sports Writer excited."

After upsetting No. 25 Michigan
State and No. 11 Penn State last week,
the Michigan volleyball team climbed
up the Big Ten standings into a tie for
second place. With this weekend's
matchups against Ohio State and Indi-
ana, the Wolverines hope that this
momentum will not subside.
"Ohio State is always a big match for
us," Michigan coach Mark Rosen said.

The Wolverines swept the Buckeyes
3-0 on Oct. 5 at home, where Michigan
owns a perfect 9-0 record this season.
But at 2-7 away from home, the road
has not been as kind, and the pressure
increases considering the Wolverines
have never won in Columbus.
"Michigan has never won there, but
this year I think we match up really
well," Rosen said. "They have great
players. Stacie Gordon, who was the

i Columbus
National Freshman of the Year, last
year, is probably the best player in the
conference.
"They also have three good and
very experienced seniors. Suzie Stil-
ing, Shelly Draeger and Katie Virtue
have all been starting since they were
freshman."
Despite this intimidating lineup,
Rosen believes Michigan's balanced
attack gives it a good chance to over-
take the Buckeyes in their own gym.
"They have weaknesses we can
exploit," Rosen said. "We have to play
well, stick to our game and not adjust to
theirs. This year our team has had a
good balance and we haven't had to rely
on an individual player."
Yet, the Wolverines are sure to derive

COLUMBUS AND BLOOMINGTON
Who: Michigan (8-4 Big Ten, 14-8 overall) vs.
Ohio State (5-7, 11-10), Indiana (6-6,16-8)
When: 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday
Latest: Jennifer Gandolph was named Big Ten play-
er of the week this week, just the second
player to win the award for Michigan since 2000.
emotional leadership from senior Katri-
na Lehman, Michigan's record holder in
career blocks and block assists.
"It's Katrina's last chance to play
there," Rosen said. "I'm sure that she'll
be hungry to come away with a win."
And just in case the Wolverines were
in search of more leadership, it would
be hard to ignore the presence of mid-
dle blocker Erin Moore, who was last
week's Big Ten Player of the Week, as
well as outside hitter Jennifer Gan-
dolph, who currently holds that title.

Cameron's departure
opens door for others
By Kevin Maratea the guys out wide."
Daily Sports Writer Dishing out a Big Ten leading 11

Tied for second place in the Big Ten
and riding an impressive four-game win-
ning streak, the Michigan men's soccer
team is about to suffer a personnel loss.
Play-making sophomore midfielder
Knox Cameron left Ann Arbor yesterday
for Charleston, S.C., to join the United
States Under-20 men's national team for
the rest of Michigan's regular season,
including the Big Ten Tournament.
"Without Knox will we lose some
creativity," Michigan coach Steve Burns
said of his second-leading
point scorer.
Cameron finished his DE
regular season with 23
points - including 10 Who:Michi
goals and three assists - 7 6-1 overall
two points behind sopho- 4-1 Horizon,
more Mychal Turpin. But W he
the adjustments that the anoffensive
team will have to make Camara and
won't necessarily be unfa- that have c
vorable. goals and 1
"Knox gives us a lot
offensively, but (is weaker) in terms of
defense," Burns said, "Without him, we
will be much stronger and tighter (in the
midfield) defensively."
Burns will have two choices today, in
terms of filling Cameron's spot, when
the Wolverines (3-3 Big Ten, 8-6-1

assists this season, Bruh has.been sensa-
tional, and will be called upon more in
Cameron's absence.
"More pressure will be put on Bruh
to maintain our rhythm on the field,"
Burns said.
His second option is to play offen-
sively and be aggressive. Junior forward
Mike White, who's had a breakout sea-
son (third in points with 20), would
move to center mid, alongside Bruh,
and either Juergen Schmieder or Karl
Lopata would be inserted at the forward

TROIT
gan (2-3 Big Ten,
)vs. Detroit (2-
11-5-2)
M.
Titans feature
duo of Ablaye
d George Kithas
ombined for 23
8 assists.

position.
Despite seeing limit-
ed minutes in nine
matches this season -
starting just three -
Schmieder is fourth on
the team in points (12),
but has not scored a
goal since playing
Evansville on Sep. 27th.
"I have waited a while
for this and am anxious to
score," Schmieder said of

the possibility of playing considerable
minutes or even starting versus Detriot.
With six goals on the season, one
could assume Schmieder will add to his
points total if given the chance.
At 11-5-2, Detriot is a team looking
to further improve its resume for the

E

40F imp .'< L mcForrdn 4:fltO -M

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