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January 04, 2007 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
* record with

Thursday, January 4, 2007 - 5C

Year W
1932 8
1933 7
1934 1



By the*
National titles won
during Ford's tenure
at Michigan
Michigan's record vs.
Ohio State in Ford's
three years
Salary in first year as a
coach at Yale
Awards at
g Meyer Morton Award
Team's Most Valuable
"I was lucky enough
to play football for the
University of Michi-
gan. First on Ferry
Field and then in the
stadium. And I was
lucky enough to start
a few games in the
football season of 1934
- and that was quite a
year. The Wolverines
on that memorable
occasion played Ohio
State, and we lost 34 to

0. And to make it even
worse, that was the
year we lost seven out
of eight of our sched-
uled games. But you
know, what really hurt
me most was when my
teammates voted me
their most valuable
player. I didn't know
whether to smile or

Former president and Michigan center Gerald Ford went onto Yale after finishing undergraduate studies at the University. He coached three years at Yale before being accepted into Yale Law School, where he eventu-
ally graduatedi nthe tnp thirdnt his class.
Ford's education didn enda

Daily Sports Editor
At first, Yale Law School didn't
want Gerald Ford.
He posted a "fair-to-middling
scholastic record" while at Michi-
gan, according to a 1977 New York
Times article. More than 75 per-
cent of his eventual law school
classmates were members of the
academic honor society Phi Beta
Ford coached both football and
boxing in New Haven. In 1935, Yale
law students did not have full-time
"At first, Yale Law School was
reluctant to admit a jock from
Grand Rapids on the basis I couldn't
handle a full-time job and the Ivy
League law school challenge at
the same time," Ford said in a 1998
speech. "I managed to overcome
their objections and joined my
place in a class that included Cyrus
Vance, Potter Stewart and Sargent
Shriver - a pretty impressive law
firm in themselves!"
An oft-mentioned part of Ford's

legacy is his decision to reject
offers to play pro football, choosing
instead to attend law school. But
while Ford might have known he
wanted to be a lawyer, he couldn't
afford tuition, so in 1935, he agreed
to coach football and boxing (a sport
which he had never participated in)
at Yale (on the East Coast, where
he had never been), putting his law
school dreams on hold. His salary
was $2,400 a year, the equivalent
of about $33,000 today, adjusted for
Determined to attend law school,
Ford consistently campaigned with
the admissions staff, arguing that
he could handle the full schedule
that coaching and class consisted
He attended summer school at
Michigan in 1937, according to the
Yale athletic department, and after
nearly three years coaching in New
Haven, he finally convinced Yale he
was ready.
In February 1938, he tookhis first
class at Yale Law School. By 1941, he
graduated with a B average, good
enough to place in the top third of

his class.
And in the summer of 1940, he
even found time to aid in Republi-
can Wendell Willkie's unsuccessful
presidential run.
"I never saw much of Jerry apart
from football, because he was
always so damn busy," said one
of Ford's co-coaches at Yale, Jim
DeAngelis, in a 1999 interview with
the New Haven Register. "He had
boundless energy."
Ford coached football for six sea-
sons (1935-40), working as an assis-
tant line coach, junior varsity coach
and a scout. During his tenure, Yale
went 25-22-2, graduated two Heis-
man Trophy winners (Larry Kelley
and Clint Frank) and topped rival
Harvard three times. In 1938, Ford
scouted Michigan, which beat Yale
Ford worked for head coach Ray-
mond "Ducky" Pond, who earned
his nickname - and legend - as a
player at Yale in 1923. He returned
a fumble 67 yards for Yale's first
touchdown against Harvard in
seven years, clinching a 13-0 rain-
soaked victory on the way to an

undefeated, untied season.
Pond and his wife, Anna, took
a special interest in Ford, an act
the Wolverine never forgot. They
formed a life-long friendship, with
Ford meeting with Pond a number
of times as president, according to
the Hartford Courant.
William Proxmire, who would later
join Ford on Capitol Hill. Proxmire
was a Democratic Senator from
Wisconsin, but the two neverrlet
politics come between them.
"Bill and Jerry were always fond
of each other," Proxmire's wife,
Ellen, told The New Republic in
2005. "They were on the Hill in a
time when things were much less
partisan, much less vicious. To peo-
ple like Bill and Jerry, sports were
a metaphor for politics. You needed
viable competition in your life."
It was also during Ford's time at
Yale that he discovered a love for
- and in - New York City.
He fell for a blonde model from
the city named Phyllis Brown. The
romance was captured in a 1940
Look Magazine spread.A skiing trip

the couple took to Vermont served
as the focus of a five-page feature
documenting the growing trend of
New Yorkers heading to the slopes
for the weekend, according to the
Associated Press.
"I had this very beautiful gal as a
close to three-year romance, and I
used to go to New York most every
weekend," Ford told the New York
Daily News in a 2002 interview. "I
used to drive down.... Igotacquaint-
ed with a lot of the things you do in
New York - the theater, etc."
If at first Yale was reluctant to
accept Ford, the school has exhib-
ited its pride in its alum since.
A picture of Ford hangs in the
hallway and a scholar-athlete
award at the school now bears his
"Jerry was a man of great integ-
rity," Ford's fellow coach, DeAn-
gelis told the New Haven Register
after Ford's death. "He was a great
all-around guy. He was kind and
considerate and had a great sense
of humor. ... I personally think - of
course, I'm prejudiced - that he
made a wonderful president."

. 4
law over
Daily Sports Writer
Presidential aide Robert Hart-
mann once said that Gerald
Ford was prouder of his athletic
achievements than his political
accomplishments. But 40 years
before he became president, Ford
turned down the opportunity for
a professional football career in
favor of law school.
After playingbehind All-Amer-
ican center Chuck Bernard for
his first two years, Ford became
a starter for the Wolverines as a
senior in 1934. Even though he
was not selected as a captain -
one of his primary athletic goals
- Ford's teammates named him
the Most Valuable Player of that
1-7 team.
Following his final game as a
Wolverine, he was invited to play
in the Shrine East-West charity
football game in San Francisco. As
told in the biography "Time and
Chance: Gerald Ford's Appoint-
ment with History," represen-
tatives from four professional
football teams attended the con-
test, but paid no attention to Ford
until he entered the game for an
injured starter.

While Gerald Ford was labeled
a klutz during his time in the Oval
Office, he was actually one of the
most athletic presidents in history.
Golf was Ford's most popular and
public hobby in his post-presidency
days, and unfortunately for Ford, the
clumsiness he showed in the White
House spread to the greens as well.
Ford was well-known for hitting spec-
tators while playing golf.
"I'll know I'm getting better at golf
because Itm hitting fewer specta-
tors," Ford once said.
His best remembered golf
moments come from his appearanc-
es at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
Hope and Ford were good friends and
were always paired together. This
is where Ford's inability to keep the
ball away from spectators became a
nationally renowned joke.
Ford would usually crack jokes at
himself about his errant shots. He
once said, "I would like to deny all
allegations by Bob Hope that during
my last game of golf, I hit an eagle, a
birdie, an elk and a moose."
Although Ford sometimes had dif-
ficulty keeping the ball in the fairway,
he was believed to have a handicap in
themid-teens - a significant achieve-
ment for any amateur golfer, let alone
an 80-year-old former president.
He also received guidance from golf
greats Jack Nicklaus and Hale Irwin.
Ford used his past-presidency to
do more than play golf as a hobby.
He set up the Jerry Ford Invitational,
which raised money for charities near
his home in Vail, Colo. Ford was also
the first president to become a mem-
ber of the United States Golf Associ-
ation members program, and served
as the honorary chairman of the first
President's Cup in 1994.
-By Alex Prosperi

Gerald Ford, seen in the center of the team picture (No. 48), received offers from both the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers
to play professional football. He ultimately turned down the offers and went on to a successful career in politics.

"I'm a loyal Wo
When they lose
ball, basketball
thing, I still get

- Ford
in foot-
or any-
- Ford

"I was the only center left, so I
went in and played the rest of the
game and had one of my best days
ever," Ford said.
The professionalfootball coach-
es noticed.
After talking to Ford on the
train ride home, the Green Bay
Packers and the Detroit Lions both
presented him football contracts
for the following year. The Pack-
ers offered $110 per game and the
Lions proposed $200 per game for
the 14-game professional season.
Months before graduation, Ford
was $1,000 in debt and needed the
income but decided that higher
education interested him more
than professional football.
"What I really wanted to do

was go on to law school, and I
thought maybe I could find some
way to stay on at Michigan and do
it," Ford later recalled.
He decided not to accept either
offer, instead looking for a coach-
ing position to help defray the cost
of law school at Michigan. After
learning that he would receive just
$100 as an assistant coach for the
Wolverines, he realized that the
job would not cover Michigan law
school expenses and subsequently
accepted a $2,400 per year coach-
ing job at Yale.
The pay was less than what
he would have received from the
Detroit Lions, but coaching for the
Bulldogs allowed him to apply to
Yale Law School. Ford coached

football in the fall and spring and
boxing in the winter while work-
ing toward his degree.
"I was assistant line coach and
then later made head junior var-
sity coach," Ford told The Michi-
gan Daily in 1989. "By the time I
finished the five years there, I was
making $3,600 a year and goingto
law school full-time, so it worked
out very well."
Decades later, when Michigan
retired his number, the politician
did not hesitate to address his life-
long love for athletics.
"I am a loyal Wolverine," he
told The Ann Arbor News in 1994.
"When they lose in football, bas-
ketball, or anything, I still get
darn disappointed."


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