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June 18, 1980 - Image 12

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1980-06-18

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Page 12-Wednesday, June 18,1980-The Michigan Daily
33-YEAR T RAINER EXITS ON A HIGH NOT E
Paddock ends long career

By MARK MIHANOVIC
Len Paddock brought it out to his kit-
chen and displayed it with pride. It was
Butch Woolfolk's gold medal for first
place in the 200-meter dash at the 1980
Big Ten Track Championships, given
by the sprinter and football tailback to
Paddock in honor of his retirement af-
ter 33 years as Michigan's assistant
trainer.
"I thought it was a nice gesture," the
65-year-old Paddock said ap-
preciatively yesterday.'"You don't give
away gold medals; they're something
you treasure."
THIRTY-THREE years dating back
to 1947-48, when the Wolverines won
national championships in football,
hockey, and swimming, and when Don
Canham was an assistant track coach
("I run into people today who say, 'No,
Canham was never the assistant
anything' "). Thirty-three years ser-
ving under 36 head coaches in 11 sports
during which the Maize-and-Blue com-
piled 102 Big Ten athletic champion-
ships, 16 of them in track-and-field.
And Paddock says that last month's
Big. Ten Championships, in which the
men trackers upset Indiana to win the
title, is the memory that stands out
most. The team members presented
Paddock with two $100 bills on the night
before they departed for Champaign,
Illinois, and standout distance runner
Dan Heikkinen promised the trainer
that the Wolverines would win the
championship for him.
PADDOCK RELISHED the thought
of the incident. "I said, 'Dammit, I've
been through these things before where
people dedicate a game to someone and
then blow it. You better win this meet.'
"Well, they won it. I'm not that vain
to think they won it because of me, but I
like to think that maybe it had
something to do with it. Maybe I'm a lit-
tle corny to think so."
Paddock, who worked on football and
track during the fall and track for most
of the rest of the year, has enjoyed the
past two weeks of relaxation, although
he won't be officially retired until June
30th. It is apparent, however, that the
locker room scene will never stray very
far from his mind, his love of Michigan
athletics and the people involved
coming through loud and clear with his
every sentence and with the tedious

statistics he has kept over the years.
Paddock, who had played some
college football (at Northern State
Teachers' College, now Northern
Michigan), came to Ann Arbor with
Jim Hunt in 1947 and remained a loyal
assistant until the latter's retirement in
1968. It was decision-making time for
Paddock, then 53.
"BY THE time the situation (an
opening for the head trainer job)
presented itself, I was too old," he
recalled. "At that time, Canham hinted
that if I was interested, I might be con-
sidered, but I said, 'Absolutely not'.
"It's a job for a younger man who can
hustle. Financially, I'm sure I would
have been better off, but what the hell?
The die was cast."
However, he never had trouble main-
taining interest in his job, which in-
volved, on the average, 55 hours per
week during football season.
"YOU GET tired at times, but you
hardly get bored," he said. "It's hard to
get bored in a university town where
the students are swarming and such.
We (the trainers) are right in the center
of activity, where we know what's going
on.
"And every week is a new week.
Some of these students who go to class
and don't engage in athletics might get
bored. For a football player, his objec-
tive is right there, five days away. You
sure as hell don't get bored."
A career spanning the gridiron
coaching tenures of Fritz Crisler, Ben-
nie Oosterbaan, Bump Elliott, and Bo
Schembechler has given Paddock a
unique vantage point from which to
view the Michigan football program.
He declined to compare Schembechler
with any of his predecessors, though.
"HE (SCHEMBECHLER) would kill
me," Paddock joked. "He'd come out
here with his little stick and beat me.
It's not fair to compare. They're each
their own man. And they all had
definite ideas on what they'd do if they
were in charge."
He'll undoubtedly miss being on the
"inside" of the Wolverine sports scene,
but Paddock is not at all reluctant to
move on to the next phase of his life,
retirement. "Next fall, it'll be hard to
find something to do. But when the old
routine is shot, you've got to adapt to a

new routine. No problem." the other hundreds and hundreds of
As the interview ended, the old Michigan athletes whose ankles he has
trainer called out, "Don't forget the taped don't forget the 33-year part of
part about Butch." Len Paddock, a man who is truly
Not as long as Woolfolk and many of Maize-and-Blue all over.

LEN PADDOCK is pictured here (kneeling left) with Lindsy McLean (kneeling
right) of the San Francisco 49'ers, Michigan assistant Dan Campbell (standing
left) and Al Green of Kentucky.
ROWDINESS ENDED:
Bleachers emptied

By TOM SHAHEEN
Special to the Daily
DETROIT - The centerfield
bleachers at Tiger Stadium were void
of a single person during last night's
game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Detroit Tiger President and General
Manager Jim Campbell announced that
the bleachers would be temporarily
closed because of the "rowdy and
sometimes ' dangerously careless
behavior of some fans."
The ruling came in the wake of Mon-
day night's twinight doubleheader
against Milwaukee, during which
Brewer centerfielder Gorman Thomas
and Sixto Lescano were bombarded by

a barrage of cups, bottles and other
garbage to the point of making it very
dangerous for the two Milwaukee out-
fielders.
"I got hit with cups and a whiskey
bottle," said Thomas. "I have a lot of
respect for the Detroit organization.
They have to show everybody that this
stupidity must stop."
Brewers' manager George Bam-
berger echoed the disgust of his center-
fielder and was pleased with the
decision to close the bleachers.
"I told the players to walk off the field
if they felt they were going to get hurt,"
said Bamberger.

MILWAUKEE CENTERFIELDER Gorman Thomas is surrounded by debris
on the field of Tiger Stadium Monday evening. The litter was slung onto the
field by Detroit's bleacher fans in the second game of a split doubleheader,
and resulted in the closing of the bleachers for last night's game.

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