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April 09, 2007 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-09

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Another perfect Big
Ten weekend for
women's tennis
PAGE 4B

Herman: Mitt
provides a new
kind of magic
SM COLUMN 2B

SportsMonday
THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Monday, April 9, 2007/

michigandaily.com.61

BEILEIN'S BEGINNINGS

How the new Michigan men's basketball coach made the
journey from JV high school basketball to the upper echelons
of Division I with his family's help

sitting in a comfortable
H e can joke about it now,
chair in his new office at
Crisler Arena, answer-
ing questions about what he can
accomplish as head men's basket-
ball coach at Michigan.
But in 1990, as John Beilein
drove more than three hours from
Colgate back to Division II LeM-
oyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.,
he couldn't help but wonder if he
would ever make it out of upstate
New York.
Colgate, coming off a 1-24 sea-
son, was one of the worst Division
I teams in the nation. Beilein had
been head coach at LeMoyne for
seven seasons and was desperately
searching for a job that would help
him climb the coaching ladder.
And he knew leading a Division I
program was the next rung.
Beilein went to Hamilton

Springs, N.Y., for a formal inter-
view and left feeling confident that
he had impressed Colgate officials.
He believed they couldn't pass him
up. The Colgate job would be the
culmination of 15 years toiling in
the high school, junior college and
Division II ranks.
But when Beilein didn't get the
job with one of the worst Division
I basketball programs at the time,
he had to face the realization that
at 37, he was stuck in Division II
with no promotion in sight.
"It was the saddest couple days
of my life," Beilein said. "I went
back to Buffalo to see my mom and
dad, and I went and just thought
things through. I said,'Ifyou never
can get to Division I (job), it's OK.
Coaching is coaching, and let's just
coach and not worry about trying
to get to Division I."'
Seventeen years later, Beilein

still doesn't worry about it. He
gotten past the rejection, and h
now holds one of the most promi
nent positions in one of the mos
prestigious athletic department
in the nation.
Back then he sought refuge in hi
family. And it's family that's gotte
Beilein to where he is today.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Talk to anyone about the typ
of person John Beilein is and yo
hear a variation of the same thing
Phrases like "a man of great integ
rity," "still humble" and "well
liked by all" are thrown around
But if you want to get to the coreo
Beilein, the answer is simple: fam
ily man.
When Canisius needed a nev
head coach in 1992 - just tw
years after the Colgate debacl
- Beilein's family ties put him ove

By Mark Giannotto I Daily Sports Writer
's the top. He beat out current ESPN that reveals just enough
e analyst and former Vermont head satisfy. But bring up his fa
i- coach Tom Brennan for the job. ily and Beilein will talk y
t "In every coaching search, ear off. His trust in his fa:
s you're looking for integrity, and is ultimately what led hi
you know with somebody like Michigan, sight unseen.
s John Beilein you're hiring integ- "I did not need to com
n rity," said John Maddock, an asso- Michigan before I was h
ciate athletic director at Canisius Beilein said. "Not when y<
who served on the search commit- the family I have. Theya
tee that helped hire Beilein. "John See BEILEIN
e was a local person who had a lot of
u ties to college. He was somebody
g. who is going to play by the rules,
do things the right way and at the
- same time win. He's a white-col-
l. lar family guy who just rolls up his
f sleeves and gets things done."
- And it is his family who teaches
you the most about Beilein. He is
w straightforward in interviews -
o nary a cliche ever comes out of his
e mouth. Ask him to talk about him- RODRIGO
r self, and he is ready with a response GAYA/Daily

Berque finally bests Illini

By JASON KOHLER
For the Daily
Steve Peretz screamed "Out!"
and galloped into the arms of
teammates Brian Hung and Ryan
Heller.-
The ILLINOIS 2
three MICHIGAN 5
seniors
embraced as thercord crowd of
467 Michigan fans stood on their
feet celebrating the first victory
over No. 8 Illinois in 10 years. On
the other side of the court, Per-
etz's opponent, Brandon Davis,
slammed his racquet against the
sidewall in frustration.
Peretz's 6-4, 6-3 victory at No.
5 singles sealed the match for the
19th-ranked Wolverines. Junior
Matko Maravic later put the
exclamation mark on the evening
with a three-set upset over 15th-
ranked Ryan Rowe at No. 2 sin-
gles, setting the final score 5-2.
On Sunday, Michigan topped
off the weekend with a 6-1 victo-
ry over Purdue (1-8, 8-9). But the
win against Illinois (4-1 Big Ten,

12-6 Overall) marks a highpoint
in the career of Michigan coach
Bruce Berque.
"This is definitely a milestone
win for our team," Berque said.
Said Peretz: "This win really
shows that we can do it. There is
a real reason besides you proba-
blycan or you have a good chance
of beatingthem. Well, no, we just
beat them, all of our hard work
paid off."
Berque, who was an assistant
coach at Illinois from 1999 to
2004, had nothing but praise for
his former team.
"There is no reason for me to
take special satisfaction in beat-
ing the team that I worked at for
six years and had nothing but
fantastic experiences with," Ber-
que said.
But Berque's players did revel
in defeating their coach's former
team.
"He's got to be the hardest
working coach in the Big Ten,
if not the country," Peretz said.
"He's got to want that one, and
we wanted to do it very badly for

him."
The night did not start off so
well. Michigan found itself in an
early 0-2 hole.
Coming into Friday, the Wol-
verines won four straight dou-
bles points via sweep. The streak
ended when the No. 2 doubles
duo of Ryan Heller and Andrew
Mazlin lost 6-8 in a back and
forth match. But the No. 3 team
of Mike Sroczynski and George
Navas knotted the score with a
scrappy 8-6 victory.
At No. 1 doubles, Hung and
Maravic lost a competitive match
to defending NCAA champions
Kevin Anderson and Ryan Rowe.
Hung and Maravic were unable
to break serve with leads at 7-6
and 8-7, which forced the match
into a tiebreaker. In the extra set,
the Illinois duo took advantage of
some unforced Michigan errors
to run away with a 9-8(1) victory,
capturing the doubles point for
the Fighting Illini.
At one point during doubles
play, a Michigan player yelled,
See ILLINI, Page 3B

BY THE NUMBERS
7
Number of consecutive dual meets Michigan
has won.
10
Number ofnyears since Michigan last beat
Illinois prior to Friday's5-2 win
Michigan's current national rank, the highest it
has been in seven years

Senior Ryan Heller helped Michigan to its first victory over Illinois in a decade. Heller
won his No. 3 singles match 6-3, 7-6(3).

BASEBALL
Frigid temps
*wipe out series
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK RAR E SERIES CANCELLATION
Daily Sports Writer

The Michigan baseball team has
controlled the field, winninglO straight
games.
But this weekend, the Wolverines
couldn't control the weather.
Snow and temperatures in the low
20s forced Michigan to cancel all four
games ofits highly anticipated weekend
series against Minnesota, eliminating
the chance for two of the conference's
top teams to square off before the Big
Ten Tournament and possibly hurting
the Wolverines' chances for an NCAA
Tournament at-large bid.
Although some teams located near-
by, including Eastern Michigan, Bowl-
ing Green and Toledo, played at least
one weekend game in the cold, Michi-
gan coach Rich Maloney decided that
cancelling the games was the right
thing to do in the face of flurries and a
chilly wind.
"Both teams wanted to play, but we
didn't want to be stupid about it," Malo-
neysaid. "In my 12 years (as a collegiate
head coach), I haven't had something
quite like this. I've played in weather
like this, but I've never lost a series
to three straight days of this kind of
extreme weather."
This is the first time in nine years the
Wolverines have had a Big Ten home
series cancelled because of poor con-
ditions. This weekend's series would
have been Michigan's first real test
in Big Ten competition as both teams

This is thefirst time in nine years Michigan has
had a Big Ten home series cancelled in its entirety
because of bad weather. The Wolverines won't
have a chance to make up the games against
Minnesota, presenting the possibility oftthe
conference's top two teams entering the postsea-
son without having played each other. Michigan will
make another attempt to playpat Ray Fisher Stadium
on Tuesday when Toledo comes to town.
are early favorites for the conference
championship.
With no opportunity to reschedule
the games, the regular-season Big Ten
Champion could be crowned without
meetingthe runner-up in head-to-head
competition.
But the consequences for this week-
end's frigid weather extend beyond
the Big Ten season - after losing the
opportunity to play against Minneso-
ta, Michigan took another hit to their
NCAA at-large bid hopes.
When deciding the 34 at-large teams
for the NCAA Tournament, the selec-
tion committee analyzes each school's
strength of schedule and its Rating
Percentage Index (RPI), composed of
the team's winning percentage, oppo-
nents' records and opponents' strength
of schedule.
After Michigan's southern spring
trip, it had a strength of schedule
ranked 21st, but after playing Oakland
and Northwestern, the Wolverines'
strength of schedule has fallento 167th.
See BASEBALL, Page 3B

RODRIGO GAYA/Daly
The Michigan softball team had its games against conference rivals Penn State and Ohio State were cancelled this weekend because of snowy conditions.
Snow shuts out the weekend

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
Going into the weekend,
the Michigan softball team
was concerned about facing
Ohio State and Penn State, the
second and third-ranked Big
Ten teams, respectively. Both
teams' offenses posed a danger
to Michigan's recently strong
pitching (Big Ten-leading 1.46
ERA).
But the top threat to the Wol-
verines' Big Ten Championship
hopes wasn't Penn State's dan-
gerous bats (.308 batting aver-
age) or Ohio State's scary speed
on the base paths (46 stolen
bases).
Instead, they were blistering

winds and 30-degree tempera-
tures.
Notching victories against
two of the Big Ten's better
teams would have been crucial
for No. 9 Michigan (1-1 Big Ten,
28-6 overall) to stay in the race
for the Big Ten title with No. 8
Northwestern (6-1, 31-7).
The Wildcats faced two Big
Ten bottom-feeders, Purdue
and Indiana, and went 3-0 on
the weekend.
But the return of the winter
weather caused the cancella-
tion of Michigan's four sched-
uled games against Penn State
(2-0,16-12) and Ohio State (4-0,
21-13), and has delayed its Big
Ten home opener untilApril 27,
a matchup against Minnesota.

The cancelled games means
Michigan will play its short-
est regular-season conference
schedule in program history.
Of their 20 planned Big Ten
games, the Wolverines will
play no more than 16 this sea-
son. Michigan also lost anoth-
er scheduled non-conference
game against Notre Dame at
the beginning of March due to
rain.
The shorter conference sea-
son heightens the importance of
each game because the Big Ten
championship is determined by
conference win percentage.
Though both the Wolver-
ines and Wildcats each have
one loss (against each other),
Northwestern has five more

conference victories and has a
stranglehold on the conference
win percentage category (.857
to .500) and control of the Big
Ten.
But Michigan is not com-
pletely out of the race. Though
they fell significantly behind,
the Wolverines missed out on
the "toughest Big Ten week-
end," according to Hutchins,
and a potential loss or two may
have been weathered out.
And Northwestern has yet to
play this tough Penn State-Ohio
State back-to-back matchup.
A loss to either of those teams
next weekend would lower the
Wildcats' win percentage con-
siderably and allow Michigan
See SOFTBALL, Page 3B

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