Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

April 06, 2007 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

10 - Friday, April 6, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0

Berque and Co. looking to take the next step

Ever since your arrival in Ann
Arbor, you've probably had
to put up with other schools
always wanting to beat "Mighty
Michigan." It's
the team every- -
one loves to hate
and hates to
lose to..
Are Mich-
igan's fans
especially con-
descending? Not SCOTT
really. Nearly BELL
every school
has its fair share Too Soon?
of fans with
than-you" blinders on.
Do Wolverine athletes con-
tinuously saythings to fire up their
opponents? Nope. The media rela-
tions people are too smart to letthat
So why do all other Big Ten teams
seem to always want to knock off
"Mighty Michigan?"
It's simple: winning.
Since the Big Ten's formation, the
Wolverines have dominated most
of the sports they've competed in at

one time or another.
Other teams resent that. A lot.
Because of this, Michigan stu-
dents rarely get the opportunity to
pull for a true underdog.
Feel like you've missed out so far?
Well, today's your chance for a little
role reversal.
A few decades ago, the Michigan
men's tennis team was the epitome
of a dominant Wolverine squad.
Around the Schembechler era in
football, Brian Eisner's tennis teams
were creating quite the legacy for
themselves. In 1982, the Maize and
Blue claimed its 16th straight confer-
ence title.
The two decades that followed
were pretty much the complete
opposite: 20 years, just two Big Ten
Championships and pretty much no
sign of the swagger the once-domi-
nant program had.
Toward the end of Michigan's
downward spiral, Illinois claimed
the Wolverines' now-vacant throne
atop the Big Ten tennis world.
One of the keysbehind the Illini's
ascent was then-associate head
coach and current Michigan head
coach Bruce Berque.
Berque was onboard with Illinois

from 1999to 2004, when he helped
lead it to multiple Final Fours,
including a National Championship
in 2003. The Illini won 64 straight
dual matches during Berque's tenure
- an NCAA record.
But even though there were
indications that then-Illinois head
coach Craig Tiley would step down
in a year or two, creating an open-
ing for Berque to take the reins of a
top-tier program, when Michigan
came and offered Berque the head
coaching job in 2004, it was an offer
he couldn't resist.
"I just felt like the situation at
Michigan was simplytoo good to
pass up," Berque said. "There was no
way I could end up possibly regret-
ting going to such a great athletic
and academic school like Michigan
with greatfacilities.... It was still
tough to leave, but I just felt it was
time for me to take advantage of a
great opportunity."
Going from the top of the moun-
tain back down to the middle of it
isn't what most people consider a
great opportunity.
Berque took over a Michigan
program that had finished in ninth
and seventh place, respectively, in

the two years before he took over
the team.
But Berque, now in his third year
at Michigan, has helped lead Michi-
gan back to prominence.
This week Michigan entered the
nation's top 20 for the first time in
more than seven years, thanks large-
ly in partto the Wolverines playing
what Berque calls "some of thebest
tennis they've played allyear."
The team has won five straight
duals since a disappointing loss
against Penn State at the start of
conference play.
They're not quite the "Mighty
Michigan" everyone circles on their
calendar justyet, but another step
in that direction could be taken
today at 6 p.m. at the Varsity Tennis
That's when No. 19 Michigan will
host No.8 Illinois in one of the big-
gest matches in Ann Arbor in a long,
But before you start envisioning a
fired-up Berque thirsty for revenge
against his former team, think
again. To him, it's just another step
his team needs to take to reach the
next leyel.
"It's certainly not a grudge match

for me. It's a big match for us just
becausethey're a highly ranked
team," Berque said. "It's not person-
al. I won'ttake any personal pride
from beating Illinois any more than
I would from any other good team.
"I think we're pretty well rec-
ognized as ateam that's slowly but
surely improving. Anytime you have
two top-20 teams playing against
each other, there's going to be some
great tennis being played."
Finding an incentive to play with
heart won't be hard for this upper-
classmen-led squad. Berque said
ever since the Penn State loss, the
seniors especially have taken more
ownership in their preparation for
matches. And with the possibility
of moving into the top 16 and host-
ing an NCAA regional onthe line,
Berque admitted he won't have to
spend too much time on a pre-match
pep talk.
For those filing into the Varsity
Tennis Center for the first time
tonight, don't expectcyour typical
country-club-esque crowd, either.
As the team keeps improving,
the stands keep filling up and the
crowds keep getting louder.
Earlier this season, Michigan set

a new attendance record against
Texas with 442 people. Berque and
his team expect this number to fall
tonight and think the home-court
advantage could be what's been
missing in Michigan-Illinois battles
of the past.
But the most important thing
that'sbeen absent inthe Wolverine-
Illini matchups inthe pastcfew years
has been parity.
Illinois has won 12 straight
matches, a streak that stretches back
to 1996.
In the past three years, Michi-
gan's been closingthat gap. Has it
completely closed yet? That could be
determined tonight.
"We're a team that's kind of on
the rise and is really hungry to put
an end to all of the beatings," Berque
Sounds like a team that's not will-
ing to settle for "good enough."
Sounds like a team that wouldn't
mind a return to the "Mighty Wol-
verine" distinction.
Sounds like your window to root
for an underdog is closing.
- Bell can be reached at
From Page 9
process," McCormick said. "He did
his due diligence. He talked to the
peoplehe trusted,got their opinions
and then just wentto work. We told
him that John Beilein would be a
perfectfitcinthis situation and I was
very impressed with the way he just
went out and got him."
The whole process was delayed
due to Beilein's West Virginia team
making a run in the NIT Tourna-
ment. The Mountaineers eventually
won thetournament lastThursday.
Martin said he did not directly
contact Beilein until West Virgin-
ia's season was complete. He did
acknowledge that he received word
through another party that Beilein
would be willingto interview for the
job at the conclusion of his season.
. After the NIT Final, Martin,
Beilein and Beilein's wife, Kathleen,
flew to Atlanta for the Final Four.
They met onFriday eveningin a con-
ference room at an Atlanta hotel for
an interview.
"It was very informal," Kathleen
Beilein said. "We didn't get into a lot
of hardcore basketball. I think (Mar-
tin) wasjusttryingtogetafeelforus
as much as we were trying to get a
feel for him. Andthere was one point
where (me and John) looked at each
other and knew that this just seems
Martin said he did have inter-
views with other candidates besides
Beilein, but would not elaborate on
whom theywere with.Martinadmit-
ted theFriday interview with Beilein
sealed the deal for him, and negotia-
tions on a contract commenced very
soon thereafter.
Although many predicted that
Beilein's 2.5 million dollar buyout
in his contract with West Virginia
would prove to be a sticking point; a
deal was struck rather quickly.
"We verbally were able to get
through everything subject the
review of attorneys over last week-
end," Martin said.
In his introductory press con-
ference yesterday, Beilein let it be
knownthat Michiganis notresponsi-
ble for hisbuyoutfrom West Virginia
and thathis attorneys are taking care
of the matter.
Beilein's contract with Michi-
gan was not finalized until Monday
evening with approximately three
minutes remaining in the first half
of the National Championship game
accordingto Martin.
Word on the hiring had leaked
to the media by Monday night, but
Martin chose not to make an official
announcement until late Tuesday
afternoon out of courtesy for Beilein's

and players at West Virginia," Martin
said. "He didn't want any announce-
ment until he had the opportunity to
talk with his team."
From Page 9
cold, so we didn't play our best,' "
Hutchins said. "We're not going to
let the weather be an excuse."
In order to stay warm, the Michi-
gan starters are going to run dur-
ing the game and between innings,
along with the reserves that run
every game between half-innings.
But even though the two match-
ups this weekend will be amongst
Michigan's better games this year,
it remains a wait-and-see game as to
whether oranotthe Wolverines will
actually play.


Wanna get away? Now you can. Fly Southwest Airlines for just $49-$179 one-way when
you purchase at southwest.com. Be sure to purchase your ticket at least 14 days in advance
and by April 12, 2007. Seats are limited. Fares may vary by destination and day of
travel and won't be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times.
Fares do not include airport-assessed passenger facility charge (PFC) of up to $9 and a federal September 11th Security Fee of up to $5 one-way per person. Published service only.
Some flights operated by ATA Airlines. Tickets are nonrefundable but may be applied toward future travel on Southwest Airlines. Fares are subject to change until ticketed. Any
change in itinerary may result in an increase in fare. Fares are combinable with other Southwest Airlines fares, excluding Senior Fares. If combining with other fares, the most
restrictive fare's rules ani. Fares not available throuah Grous Desk. Service to and from Hawaii excluded. Florida service available after 4/23/07. 2004,.2007 Southwest Airlines Co.

Service may not be available fram all cities.
Available on published service only.

AT t
The Envy Way to Sail w eBay

Back to Top

© 2022 Regents of the University of Michigan