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July 21, 1989 - Image 15

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1989-07-21

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SPORTS

s

Page 15

The Michigan Daily

1w -

Middaugh resigns as coach
BY STEVE BLONDER

Mike Gill
Gill Again

The expected finally came true

*Bud-ball wasn't kept
between the foul lines

last Friday, when Bud Middaugh
resigned as the Michigan baseball
coach.
The Michigan athletic department
issued a one-sentence release saying,
that Athletic Director Bo
Schembechler had accepted
Middaugh's resignation. The
rn.-Rnntnn arnorarn ratA 1- o in

Bud Middaugh liked painting himself as a renegade. BigiTen-Michiganpinvestigationoof
Hated by other league coaches. Big Ten-Michigan investigation of
Disliked, he explained, because he cared about kids, about collegiate the Wolverine baseball program.
athletics, about what was right, just, in the American way. Schembechler and Associate
After one particular Big Ten game this season he sat in the Michigan Athletic Director Jack Weidenbach
dugout, looked out on the field and said, "He wouldn't even shake my hand," were unavailable for comment and
referring to the opposing coach. And he told of why coaches were out to get Middaugh left town last Friday. No
him. successor has been named, and
He had a successful program. officials have no timetable for
He was an aggressive coach. selecting a new coach.
This may all be true. During his ten years at Michigan, Middaugh Big Ten coaches such as Steve
accumulated 465 wins and only 146 losses, along with a tie. There's no Land at Wisconsin as well as
doubt he accomplished everything but a College World Series coaches in the Mid-American
championship. Even this year, a year which saw such youth strewn
throughout infield, Michigan unexpectedly compiled the best record in the
Big Ten regular season.
Middaugh accomplished this because of a fearsome aggressiveness. Ever
see a runner waved home from second on an infield groundout? Middaugh
would try it. There were double steals, and hit-and-runs, suicide squeezes,
and all which makes baseball fun. He added an extra dimension to his team
with such gutchecks.
Maybe you would hate a coach that accomplished so many little things
against you - all of which added up to wins.
But Bud was forgetting something else. These Big Ten coaches, along
with the Mid-American Conference coaches who also complained to the Big -
Ten, did not like losing due on a sloped playing field. Middaugh fought with
MAC coaches for prized recruits like he used to when he coached at his old
romping ground, Miami of Ohio. -
They saw a great on-the-field general, but doing so with seemingly
illegal tactics. Maybe Middaugh forgot about that when he wondered why he
was so disliked. M IDDA UG H
And he continued to pile up the wins.MID A H
So on the same day that Middaugh's summer baseball camp for ...resigns
youngsters concluded, campers testified that he wasn't in the best of spirits. conference were not surprised with
"He seemed a little down," one camper said. And he had reason to. That day, Middaugh's resignation.
Middaugh resigned, probably under fire. "It didn't come as a shock," Land
The saga of Middaugh is over. Six Big Ten titles and a slew of said. "Seeing as long as he's coached
allegations that taint the glory. The Big Ten's investigation is coming to a and I've coached, you hear many
close and there are allegations such as paying players as much as $300 on a rumors about different things at
football Saturday to act as supervisors to football program sellers. One different times."
former player told the Detroit News that this job amounted to walking in Rumors had circulated in recent
circles. weeks that Middaugh would resign
When you hear these stories you hope athletic director Bo Schembechler before the investigation was
lit a fire on Middaugh's tail to push him out. Bo also deserves credit for not completed and accept a job in the
buckling to Middaugh or to his hot-shot Detroit attorney Jon Gandelot's Cincinnati Reds organization. But
plea to let Middaugh respond to the conclusions of the Big Ten's report. Reds officials and friends of
Middaugh had his say when he was questioned for hours by the Middaugh said those reports were
investigators. If that couldn't sway this jury, then begone with him - untrue.
which is exactly what Bo said. Despite the resignation, both Big
These are not nit-picked allegations. Yet when the Daily first broke that Ten and Michigan officials said the
there was an investigation, Middaugh responded with pure innocence. In the investigation would continue.
March 27, 1989 edition, it reads, "When asked whether he had knowingly Schembechler said last week that he
violated Big Ten rules, Middaugh replied, 'No. I don't think any coach at hoped the whole affair would be
Michigan would do anything liked that."' wrapped up before football practice
So it's goodbye to Bud. Personally, he's not a guy that's easy to consider opens next month.
a villain. He's a complete gentleman: cordial, friendly, conversational. The investigation reportedly
But Middaugh did not know to leave his aggressive instincts in the third focuses on players receiving
* base coaching box. He carried them too far. excessive payments for selling
Bud Middaugh will leave Michigan with far more than just a lost programs at home football games,
handshake froi an opposing coach. He leaves without his integrity, his the way Middaugh manipulated his
program, or his job. He leaves a program facing possible sanctions. scholarships, interest-free loans from
He brings with him 465 tainted victories. Middaugh to his players, and unfair

recruiting practices employed by close of the investigation. The gag
Middaugh and his staff, according to order forbids Middaugh from
former players and individuals discussing the investigation with
familiar with the investigation. current or former players, employees
An individual close to the in the athletic department, or
baseball team said Middaugh had members of the media.
loaned a player an amount of money
between $1,000-$1,500 when a However, Gandelot argued against
member of the player's family was such an order in his letter to
taken ill. Coaches are not allowed to Schembechler.
loan players money. "Allegations based on upon
Also, the investigation involves reports of what an individual, often
illegal scouting practices and unnamed, said to an investigator are
workouts of potential high school clearly hearsay.
recruits. "For Bud not to have the
One such illegal tryout involves opportunity to speak to those who
former Belleville pitcher Bill may be accusing him of wrongdoing
Ashley. makes it impossible for him to
Ashley, who currently pitches for prepare a response."
the Los Angeles Dodger Rookie One unconfirmed report suggests
team in Great Falls, Montana, told that the Big Ten and/or the NCAA
Big Ten investigators that Michigan will seek to ban Middaugh from
assistant Chuck Froning contacted coaching for five years as part of a
Belleville coach John Bortz about penalty. But Big Ten officials have
conducting an extra scouting refused to discuss the report.
session. Froning timed Ashley inMihigan, which has never had
the 60-yard dash after practice had Michgnwichanerhd
an athletic program punished for
The session would have been rules violations, was first notified of
legal if the entire team was asked to the Big Ten investigation last
run, even if Froning only recorded summer.
Ashley's time. The investigation was started
A two-page letter from Jon following complaints from coaches
Gandelot, Middaugh's attorney, was in the Big Ten and the Mid-
delivered to Schembechler's office American conference, along with
last Wednesday afternoon. The letter major league scouts.
called for Middaugh to be given a Middaugh has been Michigan's
"full and complete hearing prior to baseball coach for ten seasons.
any action by the university." During that span, his teams have
Middaugh met for nearly eight compiled a record of 465-146-1,
hours earlier this spring with Big which makes him the second
Ten investigator John Park and winningest coach in Wolverine
athletic department trouble-shooter history. His teams have won six
Jeff Long, who has conducted the conference championships in
University's investigation. addition to making four appearances
During that meeting, Middaugh in the College World Series.
answered questions and supplied the
investigators with personal and
business records.
Middaughhasbeen placed under a Daily Staffer Mike Head
gag order by Schembechler until the contributed to this story.
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