Before last season, Fred Jackson said Fitz Toussaint had "Mike
Hart ability with speed." That speed finally showed up. So didt
yards. Since he asserted himself as Michigan's lead back three
weeks ago, Fitz has run for 420 yards. A lot can happen in thre
weeks. Denard Robinson is human. The defense is immortal. A
Fitz is the king of them all. What the hell is going on out there?
Michael Florek, Stephen J. Nesbitt, Kevin Raftery, Tim Rohi
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Column: With two home games
remaining, it's time for the student
section to redeem itself on Saturday.
Looking for '01': Only one seat in
Michigan Stadium is different. Michael
Florek's search for Crisler's legendary seat.
Advance: Taylor Martinez and Rex
Burkhead lead a multi-faceted Nebraska
offense. They're Michigan's next test.
Cover illustration by Marissa McClain
e Western Michigan (Sept. 3): Good thing the Michigan State (Oct. 15): Edwin Baker and
%nd rain came. And the blitzes, too. Looked like Greg Le'Veon Bell ran over and through Michigan last
+ Robinson was coaching until the second quarter. year, and Kirk Cousins ain't too shabby either.
an "'Little Brother's growing up.
Notre Dame (Sept. 10): Nothing to see here. Purdue (Oct. 29): It was the Fitz show at the Big
Michigan rallied with a 28-point fourth quarter House. Toussaint took over as Michigan's lead
to stun the Fighting Irish and get the victory, running back, rushing for 170 yards.
Eastern Michigan (Sept. 17): Another meeting Iowa (Nov. 5): An eight-point loss hurts a bit
-'- with another inferior neighbor: may be Michi- more when you've got four shots at the end zone
gan's only shot to hang SO-plus points ina game. from the three-yard line.
San Diego State (Sept. 24): Hoke said it was Illinois (Nov. 12): Michigan's got its formula:
hard leaving his players behind at San Diego IL .1 a steady defense and a load of Fitz. Toussaint
State. They were mad he didn't say goodbye. rumbled for 192 yards in 'M's 31-14 victory.
Minnesota(Oct.1): MarQueis Gray played wide 7 Nebraska (Nov. 19): The legendary blackshirts
receiver last year - now he's the quarterback make their debut at the Big House. Jets will mark
and the only thing exciting about the Gophers. ,. the beginning of the game, what'il be the end?
Northwestern (Oct. 8): Good thing Kain Colter Ohio State (Nov. 26): No Tressell? No Pryor?
didn't play the entire game because Dan Persa Ohio State's still deeper than Michigan, and
did Michigan a few favors. "j< Boom Herron is one scary back.
No. 2Okla. State (-27.5) atIvwa State
No. 3SAlabama (NlS) t ogiaSouth
No. 4 Oregon (-16.5)vs. No. 18 USc
NoN. 5Oklahoma (-14) at N.25 Bayore
N. B Akansas (-14.5) vs. Mississippi State
No. 7 Clemson (-10) at Nc State
No. 8 Stanford (-20.5)atCalfornia
No virginia Tech(-13)vs.vtNorthCarolina
No. t0 BoisSstate (-20) at San ODeo Stats
No.11 Houston (-21.5) vs. SMU
No. 12 Michigan State (-28) vs. Indiana
No. 13 Georgia (-29.5) vs Kentucky
No. 14 South Caroina(NS) vs.The ctadel
No. 15 Wisconsin (-13.5) at Illinois
Texas (-7) vs. No.t6KansasState
No. 1vTCUv(-3.v. CoaStateu
OhioaState (-S55v. No.21 lPentate
No. 22 Southern ,Miss. (-22.505A
No. 23 Floida State (-18) vs. Virginia
San Diego Stats
One summer he took a construction job, re-pouring concrete for the
steps in Michigan Stadium. With the old concrete removed, onlythe steel
frame of the stairs remained. Behind that was the gray area under the
Adams Crisler bent down and peered into the excavated area, still
searching. Nothing. He poured the concrete, shutting the area off to
darkness and closing his search forever.
"I feel like I looked every place I possibly could to find it," Adams
"I think it's a legend," he added later. "That would be my guess."
I pulled off Main Street toa quaint house no more than 100 yards from
Michigan Stadium. Other than its wispy light blue exterior, it was the
same as any other house in the neighborhood.
I was here to talk to former Michigan hockey coach Al Renfrew, sim-
ply looking for confirmation on what I had learned.
Kristie had called me back, telling me what her mom knew.
"He gave that seat to himself, you had it right the first time," she said.
"It was kind of like a legendary joke, a mythical thing.
"There was no actual seat itself."
Looking back at the Sports illustrated article, I realized the clues were
right in front of me the whole time. They didn't come from "it has its
spot,"as Crisler claimed but from his smile and cocktail parties.
I called associate athletic director Bruce Madej. He'd worked for the
University since 1978. He knew Fritz. In a documentary on the stadium,
he had said the seat was dedicated to Fielding Yost. He'd heard it the
other way too.
While he wouldn't say the seat was phantom outright, his carefully
chosen words coincided with Kristie's.
But if anyone knew, it was Renfrew. In 1973, Renfrew retired from
coaching and became the ticket manager.
Before personal computers, digital ticket sign-up or cell phones, Ren-
frew had the task of distributing every ticket into Michigan Stadium.
With a paper and pen, he and his staff charted every single seat in the
If there really was an '01' occupied on Saturdays, Renfrew would have
It didn't take long for his story to line up with everyone else's.
"It was a fictitious number," he said.
THE LEGEND LIVES
I wrote this story simply because I thought it would be fun to find the
seat. The full story of the seat left with Crisler. But I just got the moat
verified story possible. The seat wasn't real. That just left me a bit empty.
This legend that I loved so much was just, well, over. I couldn'tgo back
and look again. I couldn't think about the possibilities. The man I needed
to talkto, the one who could dispute my findings, died in 1982.
"The neatest thing about sports is that there can be legend and the
legend of the '5' continues to live, because of what Fritz Crisler said origi-
nally," Madej told me. "It's just a fun story. That's the thing. That's what
the '01' is all about."
Somewhere along the way I had forgotten that. I had become so
obsessed with getting a definitive answer that I didn't realize the fun
tame from the uncertainty of the whole thing.
"How many times do you talk about stadium's capacities?" Madej said.
"If we had just the regular capacity there would not be that type of a
"Fritz would absolutely have a blast with this discussion. Fritz would
be excited to know that this chingecontinues. Fritz Crisler loved any time
anybody would talk more about Michigan."
I justended Fritz Crisler's party. For 55 years, ithad been partof Mich-
gan lore. It's a part of Crisler's legacy. Adams Crisler spent a good chunk
of his life searching for it.
He called unannounced a few days after our interview.
The question had been lingering in his head. He had to tell me some-
thing. The seat being real?
"I think it's possible."
WHO DO YOU THINK IS FASTER?
Denard Robinson or Taylor Martinez?
CHECK OUT MICHIGANDAILY.COM FOR COVERAGE AFTER THE GAME.
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