I am going to be honest, I am a huge Michigan Wolverines fan and I have been my entire life. Maize and Blue is in my blood and it will be no matter where my life takes me in the sports industry. Yesterday, I attended an event that really opened up my thinking about the University of Michigan as a whole after listening to former players speak.
The event I attended was a golf outing and dinner to support the Jordan Morgan Foundation hosted by Michael Spath’s Inside the Huddle on WTKA 1050am Ann Arbor. I was able to play golf with Jordan Morgan and that alone was a fantastic experience being able to talk to one of my favorite Michigan Basketball players ever. Hearing about his background and what he has been through in his life and basketball career was amazing. The whole event was dedicated to his foundation which seeks to be a catalyst in inner-city generational change with initiatives centered on education, outreach, and sport. His foundation is remarkable because it gives underprivileged children a chance to succeed and it stimulates their thinking about life overall. The other cool thing about it was that the outing was held at Island Hills Golf Club which I have been around all summer with my internship with the Callaway/Meijer Junior Tour. Rolla Frisinger was my head supervisor all summer and he is the director of golf operations at Island Hills, so once again I thank him for opening up the golf course for the event and playing a great host.
(Pictured: My best friend, me, Jordan Morgan, and my father)
After golf, dinner was served and the three players that were in attendance opened up a discussion that I took the most out of in terms of what the University of Michigan is capable of.
Jordan was the first to speak and he touched on his time at Michigan and gave details on his foundation. Jordan was not heavily recruited, but he found out that the University of Michigan believed in him even though people didn’t think he could play at Michigan. Jordan used hard work on the basketball court and hard work off the court to get where he is now. With his foundation, he knew that academics were under performing worldwide and he wanted to help change that. His foundation helps children in the lowest income areas of Detroit learn Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math topics (STEM). My favorite part was the info he gave about basketball clinics that focus on the normal drills, but also make sure to take time out to teach the kids about life skills such as entrepreneurship, sports safety, nutrition, and academic excellence. I want to thank Jordan for everything he is doing because it truly is making a difference!
(Pictured: Jordan and I)
Then, Greg Skrepenak and Doug Skene former Michigan offensive lineman got into the thick of things talking about Michigan as a whole and what Michigan does on the inside to achieve the success they look for. With Michigan Football, they stated that for as long they could remember the standard was winning the Big Ten Championship. They both compared their coach at the time, the legend Bo Schembechler, to John Beilein because everything was a team effort for both coaches and each kid loved each other. A good point was brought up was that John Beilein was actually not the one who came up the basketball teams mottos, it was actually the players. Each year the basketball team selected a motto such as “Do More, Say Less” which was the main example. With the football team these days, each player plays individually instead of loving each other as a team and that was Greg and Doug’s main point. Traditions have seemed to be fading these days and that is the biggest thing that coach Jim Harbaugh needs to change. Bo in the past would ask each player “what are you going to do today to beat Ohio State” because he knew that by having that mentality beating all the other teams would come naturally. It was also comical when Doug brought up what Michigan State does with their trophies. They have all of their trophies in a case such as the Rose Bowl, individual player awards, etc in the back with one trophy in a huge case in the middle of the room, the Paul Bunyen Trophy. Doug told us that Michigan State measures their success off of Michigan, while Ohio State is the main focus for the Wolverines and always should be. Michigan is based around tradition and each player needs to have the same mentality and that is what each coach of every sport at Michigan should teach each player no matter what.
(Pictured: Greg Skrepenak and I)
Overall, Michigan’s first instinct in any sport should be beat Ohio State and it was incredible to hear three great players and three great guys talk and give their insight on The University of Michigan. They were able to give us an idea of where the success originates from and how the success will continue to grow if a few things are taken into thought for each Michigan Wolverine, athlete or non-athlete.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone involved in making this event as special as it was because I know I took a ton out of it and it was a perfect day that I will never forget!
(Pictured: Greg Skrepenak, Jordan Morgan, and Doug Skene)