Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 3 years ago

John U Bacon


Author of the new book, “Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football”, John U Bacon joins the Huddle. See for privacy information.

Heyday. What's going on? Hey, guys, not too much. What about you? I was a sandwich last night. I have to ask you which one. Well, but embarrassingly, and I I talked to you in the car. I think you were going through. I was going through a drive there, but that was for my daughter. Yes, what a good day. But then when I got home Kelly was out and she brought me home the sandwich. So it was and I had when, I think before, I went and picked one up. So there was many sandwiches. That's why I ask which one. It's funny, but this week's guest is here, this show's guess, I should say, is is very interesting. Another author. We've had several authors on, a lot of good authors, a lot of great stories, a lot of great stories, and this guest is a historian, you know, a sports historian's yeah, well, he may know more about the history, especially if college football, then most anyone today alive. You know, it's amazing is these guys that we have on that that researchers and study this. The dates and how fast they come up with stuff is so amazing. Their memories are unbelievable and I that's something I know. I we're a little we're a little bit lack and it's a they were. The recollection is incredible, the way they can just come up with dates and stats. Well and the in the great thing is it keeps our street going with this, with this guess and yeah, and the end wearing this streak we're talking about is the whiffleball streak, and he even wrote a piece on whiffleball. So He's not only college football authority, he's a whiffleball authority who's a great writer and he wrote a piece about it. That is and brings back a lot of good memories. Does and I'm sure if you want to know anything about sports in Michigan, John You Bacon can tell you. Just don't ask him as Middle Name. Know that it's it's a you and that's about all we know. It's all we'll find. It will wall of or now he'll never tell us, so you'll have to listen to the end to see if he does. But this week joining us in the huddle is John You Bacon, author of the new book that he wrote about Michigan football and it's called overtime. It's Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverine to the crossroads of College Football. So join us in the huddle with John. You Baking. So John, thanks for coming on. How my pleasure to our podcast Hudd off with gusts and you know, our show is really about how sports shaped your life and I think you have a great story and you've written about it, you've talked about it, but we want to get to the beginning. We want to get to that when you were little and growing up in an arbor, what was that first thing that influenced you for the love of the game, the love of sport, whatever it was, I love this and that change your pace for me is nice. Of course, my dad is a big sports fan. No surprised there. That's probably true for a lot of us. He was not a great athlete, but not a bad one, but he got US interested in baseball and all that. He did not play hockey, my main sport. He's from New York and it couldn't skate, but my best friend dad played goalie at Michigan. So now I'm playing hockey, which the good things. I'm five foot eight, so basketball would have been cruel to say the least, but there's no jumping in hockey. I like that so but it's funny how almost every Jep of gotten and over news, Detroit News, you name it, down the road. Almost all that came from being a pretty average high school hockey player and it opens doors, man, it gets into things. And now that I've got a kid myself, but I want from him it's kind of what I had, which is be a good enough athlete to make some teams and get some teammates to get exercise and not being video games all day long, and also to make them teams and they get cover from teams to learn how to take a set back and keep going. And given where I students things, I got some. I got plenty of those also. So for men is a great experience playing hockey and baseball growing up. One of my great influencers beyond Roast Ross Child. My first hockey coach can name coach Mac, Mac Mackenzie, who actually lived in Scottsdale and just passed away a couple of few years ago. In Fourth Grade I'm picking Daisy's in right field and the last batter on the team, playing three Nings the game and the previous coach had no faith in me, obviously, and then coach Mac comes in my fifth grade year and all a sudd I'm batting first, I'm starting catching in the captain the team and I'm batting like for fifty or something, and that showed me at an early age what a huge difference having a coach of believing you can do. I could not have been that much bigger, faster and fifth grade than fourth grade. But coach Mac of the Guy I will never forget to destroying him for Yahoo few years ago and he actually read it. Had know you had happened to him and he found that. He read it and we exchanged a few letters and he passed away the next year. So I was grateful that I got that off to him. So that's the kind of guy can change your life. Until you said that coach mack passed away and was hoping...

...maybe he'd be available to coach the pirates. They good years that man. Yeah, I recalled coach Mac the sweat dripping off his pointy nose and I played catcher. He's pounded out ground balls and a case he throwing out for me, of course, a little bunch or whatever. And Yeah, the pirates fundamentals go a long way. People fundamentals go a long way. So Joon was a neighborhood you grew up in? Like? Was it like hey, bunch of kids going out, or was everything organized for you? I mean we talked all the time about things are unorganized. No parents involved, no coaches involved, get on your bike, go play with your friends and and that's all. A lot of US learned the ups and downs sports. It was that one, of course, the first neighborhood we live in zeals in second or third grade. It's a ton of kids and of the baby boom, basically. And Yeah, for dinner we all got let out and parents had no idea where we were. He Got Ten, Fif twenty kids to play in soccer or big game, a base all our football or kick the can or catch the flag, whatever it was. And of course he had to solve your own disputes. You had to, you know, do it, do over if you had to. But I had to fear it all out and even if your pick last, and I was but the youngest, smallest kid that group, so I often was, even if your pick last. So what, suck it up, get over it. And I interviewed Yogie Bear I years ago about this and he said, you know, it's grandson Dale's kid, who a hot chat baseball player. Traveled Him Kid and selling. He said they have in a van. They traveled three or four hours. They played doubleheader. He might have six or seven at bats. He said. Joe, Gary, Joel and I in the Italian section of St Louis we had seven at bats by lunch. We had thirty at bats by lunch. All right, stickball, no one's playing attention. We learned to play baseball by playing baseball, not by getting in a van and go into games. So I'm an all believer in that. I'm not sure how you could do it now, but that that's spine hockey, man and Pine Hockey. No one's is in the bench. It's too cold. Everyone's plan and that's how I grew up. Yeah, I know, I love that, and that's how we all grew up. and Dave, we got to find out if we're still we're going to increase our percentage right now or if it's going to go down. I'm gonna see it's going to increase. So all right, John, we're talking about whiffleball. Did you guys play whiffleball? Oh right, increase, baby whippleball. Yes, Google my name and the name whibbleball. I were a piece last year for the post game that got post games. Yeahoo, yeah, there you go. Love it, Ye know, hell, yeah, whisotball all year long. And I got news for you guys. I'm no guts for I'm the NFL quarterback, but damn it up and tours like Michigan. I still have the record for sixty one home runs the summer of seventy six. No one been that. Yeah, I don't know. Dave says you could hit his twelve sixth curveball, though. It's pretty wicked. Yeah, not in the big leaks, that for sure, but man, whiffleball awesome. We all have the rule to because Jay Johnson was too fasts. Got To throw the ball at the runner. If you hit him, he's out. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, we had that. Like, come on, if you're going to cry because a whiffball at you, then well, especially if it's like foreign for something. You know enough fielders, right. You know, four, four, three and three. We play pictures hands. You're out, all that business. Use The lawn chairs, the umpire, the lawn chairs, the UMPIRES for the catcher. Sometimes exactly yeah, right, right, yeah, I know that. that. We love that. Even everybody almost would we had know about ninety six percent. Now it's get. Yeah, I'd see. We're not Nice Street. We have an AFICIONADO. Yeah, ninety six percent. Yeah, this is encouraging people, you know. Yeah, you know, it's like whiffleball. Communist that sea doesn't like whiff the ball. Right there, I said it. That might be here that you should write a piece about that. John. That's the ninety two percent. That's pretty good. Yeah, yeah, I know. That's been great because we feel like, even though it was whiffleball and it's your buddies, even then you had ups and downs. Like it was about learning how to play the game, learning how to get along with friends. It was so you know, being able to socialize with everyone in your in your community, and I think kids just miss know much of that today. They do. Like I said. I mean you got to pick your own teams, get a solve your own disputes. We had plenty of arguments, all right, and if you keep arguing the game ends. So you got to figure out something, you know, do over or whatever. And Yeah, they say that also. I'm talking to baseball coaches, Division One college baseball coaches and they say, with all the travel with him and all the rest, these guys can't play catch. They don't want to do it, they're bad at it. That struck me as incredible. But it's all travel tam yeah, and and I mean I kind of have a big pet PV. Even at football. It's it's I got to go find a coach to teach this kid how to throw when he's eight years old. Then I got to go find another coach and then we everything's got to be organized. I mean we went out, I was Terry Bradshaw when I was a kid. We just had out and win the snow and we would play. We'd make the field, whatever it was, whatever we had. We took our hats off or scarves offs, made the boundaries and you just play. And we exactly right. You played all day long and parents had no idea what you're up to and we just go by. Once I touchdowns worth one and backyard football. So came to...

...go to ten, that team wins. Yeah, we have. I have a good friend Keith to chuck, who still plays will football in his backyard up and now. And Keith, you know, every summer they go up to his home outside of Boston. There and and he actually has a backyard looks like a mini baseball film. They have big time with the ball tournaments and you know, those are the things I think kids just miss out today. I know esports and gaming is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, but there's just something intangible that you can't learn from all that stuff. I love it any anyone in our generation, man or I'm a little over the new but man, think about those memories and we can come up with those memories like that if we can remember specific whiptball games, which is ridiculous. I mean they know Umpires Anni produce was not there. Nobody cared, but man, we cared a lot as a so much fun. I never called being board. Playing those games another great and I have two daughters that are in high school. They both played volleyball and basketball, but I don't think either one has ever played a pickup basketball game, which seems unbelievable but I believe it's true. Like they we have a whoop in our drive away. They occasionally shoot at that, but I don't think they've ever like gone to a park and play whos I don't think anybody does. Know, I never see. Well, it would call you. In that case he would have to actually put down their phone, which is that's a that's a sin in itself, right, a right, hard to play one handed, right. Yeah, right. So, John, you basically spent like your time as a kid. You learned a lot of things from coach Mac. You go on too, high school. Who was that coach? It influenced you in high school. I had a good coach in high school, Bob Perry played high school hockey. But the great coach I had after that when I was insistant. Coach had places called Cul our academies Indiana. Well, Al Clark, who started the program and produced six or seven NHL players, including teammates of K chucks, by the way, right at about a hundred division one players. This guy's a quiet guy who never yells. It's a five bed of kap of math majors. Is Not the profile usually have a coach, but what he's done there is amazing. They produced, you know, countless state champions and he's just so soft spoken. Carry about the kids and pushed him and that's when I kind of realized, man, they're a lot of ways to do this. I was used to, you know, yellers and screamers, and you hear my voice, of course, but this guy was so quiet. But man, I boils on the two things. Had A care abouttom and he got to push him. To Care abouttom and don't push him. You're a softie and nobody remembers you. If you push them, don't care about him, you're a jerk. They'll remember you, but they won't like you. The hard thing is a care, a bottom and push him at the same time. Coach Mac had that, coach Al at Culebra had that, and those guys you never forget. Right. No, I agree with that. So did you have an I don't, somebody looked up to when you were young kid playing hockey? Oh, sure, I had. On the hockey side, had Alex Delvecium, and I shall hall of Famer with the Red Wings. Got To know him a little bit over the years through sports writing. Number ten, he was gordy how's linemate and maybe in an idiot I run into Gardy how and I'm in high school. Flay not to Hartford, where he's of course still playing, end of his career, and I say excuse the year Goredy how right he was. Yeah, and ADRIPO of nothing. I've got no idea why I said this. I said Alex Evecio was my favorite player. Good am my mouth and the second I set of a man picking you more on. How could you have said that? And he was so cool. He granted his and he said mine too. I got a lot of goals off. That's a great and that's a bit of cordiall class. We're right there. But so that was a special memory. Obviously we did Alec Ofvei and in Baseball Bill Free and number eleven for the Tigers, and I got to know him a little bit too in his coaching Michigan and I was always a catcher in baseball team. Too Small for that, but those are guys admired and you know, it's like it's usually bad idea to meet your idols when you're older because could be a drunks or louts or ego maniacs or whatever. And both those guys were just great, and so that was that. That broke down rule too. So when I was coaching high school hockey here in Michigan on the side of my writing career, I always kept out of mind. So we talked a little about your hockey. What about your baseball side? Like who in Michigan? Who Do they like? I mean do they roof? Is it Detroit, who usually you guys are cheering for? Is it somebody else? Now it's Detroit and that's the problem. Yeah, I did the math in this for the latest book. Over Time Michigan football and they've got, of course, four Major League tams here in Detroit and have had for a long time. In the s when I'm growing up, you've got four chances of year to win a division title. Times ten years got forty, shit forty chances to win a division title. The troy teams won exactly one when I was growing up, the Tigers and one hundred and twenty two, and I remember it, and they went nothing else a rest the decade. So I grew up thinking there's no way. When, when anything, when they finally one that world...

...three thousand and eighty four with Lance parish and those guys, I could not believe that it actually happened. So that's what makes you a college football fan. By the way, with all the Detroit teams, think go blue. Well, John, I grew up in Tucson Arizona, but I was a pirates fan. But my favorite player was ron the floor because, after after seeing the round the floor story, Oh yeah, I think it was on it and playing around the floor. Yes, I know, we could eat, could swipe the basses. is fantastic. That was a summer of seventy six. I am the football champion home run hitter. They've got run on the floor in the Allstar game and mark the bird fedrish on the mound. Wow, that might have been the happiest summer of my life. You're twelve years old and, as Stephen King said, and stand by me, famous movie of course, he said, do you ever have friends the way you do when you're twelve? You can't drive every day you spend with each other. It's taking for granted. Were playing the same games, the same sports and all that stuff, and that for me was a magical summer. Yeah, that's great. We all have those kind of memories of you know, I have several of those when just I remember just going getting up in the morning, dad saying don't come back to the whistle blows and you go getther go, you go find something to do, get all your friends up let's go. We're going to play some kind of sport and you had to go to Johnny's house because he had this ball that you wanted to use and he was the only one in to make at it. He wasn't home. So then you go to play some other sport because so and so had the hockey sticks, whatever it was, but those are those are great memories. So here's the question. Here the question. How much time, when no other around, how much time you just spend throwing a tennis ball on top of the roof and catching it? Oh, I can't tell. You're throwing it off a wall or anything I could get my hands on. I mean you just you just played constantly. I can remember ours was just shooting basketball. I wasn't very good at it, but I can just remember going to the local whoop and playing for hours upon hours. Well, I love that s right, I love throwing it off the stair at there's a staircase and a set of steps in front of my house, so you pitch to the stair case but if it hit like the corner of the step would get the line drive. So you could actually play a game against yourself and sometimes it would just come back slowly and there's an ALP but sometimes it would like fly over your head. Well, as very lonely as you can play. Tell what the other thing, there's still a lot of fun right. One of the other things I used to do is my dad had about twelve apple trees in our yard. We had about an acre of land and you know, we weren't that far outside of Pittsburgh. I mouth about an hour outside and my job every fall was all the apples that were not good I'd have to throw in the woods and most people would put them in a willbarrow whatever. I would just found out. I would take him one by one, untee how far I could throw them into the woods. I don't know how many apples I've thrown into the woods. Yoh, yeah, you know, just just strengthening my arm because these suckers are rotten or whatever and I'm just flinging them as far as I can, throw them over the power lines or you name it. Well, now, and also being Arizona, there's a lot of rocks around, as you can imagine, so I would I'd find a stick and then just do like endless like fungo practice into the desert. Yeah, rocks, you know. So once again we've established I was lonely, but maybe I come because I also called the stair game also. This is Michigan closer. We're guts. Grew up in Fitsburg, of course. So I'd play the stair game inside like three or four months out of the year. So the basement stairs were well used. Those are the wooden ones, Tho. There that's important. Oh Yeah, carted ones aren't as good. No, you, there's less. Yeah, the ball there's less velocity coming off the corner if it's carpeted. Well, now again, that's went. Anybody can do that. Come, yeah, right, yeah, you gotta fired. You gotta have some something to come back at. You working on this? Yeah, I could like a comeback or that almost hurts. Like right, right on, you'RE gonna get in front of it. So, John, you grew up in Ann Arbor and you went to Michigan. Is that just like a natural fit, or did you look anywhere else? Did you know you're going to be a wolverine? I look some other places and gotten some other schools, including northwestern, and this is kind of pathetic. You should not pick your college on this basis. But there was one thousand nine hundred and eighty two, and northwestern was in the middle of one of the biggest horrible routes. And Off College football. They want, like, you know, eight games in fifteen years, more or less, and a cost twise as much as Mischi can also, I couldn't really justified charge of my parents twice that, of course, but I have to admit that one of the factors on my list, and this is pathetic, is why would I want to go to school where I sent the stand and watch Michigan keep the crap out them when I could be going to that school? So right, I'm that very dumb basis. I picked Michigan. Well, that's not a bad place to watch a game either. In Michigan. I'd rather go there to I wouldn't know a guy, sir. Yeah, we're yeah, all right, the bow arrows pretty good. Yeah, so when you were with Bosham Black Beckler, do you remember existing coach he had, Cam Cameron? Oh sure, so cam was my first quarterback coach when I played for the Redskins. And no kidding, yeah, you used to tell me I almo, I was getting recruited by Michigan out of high school and then they just stopped recruiting me. That's where I really wanted to go and they stopped recruiting.

So when camp became, my quarterback coach said, what happened? You were the quarterback coach there and you know you're he said, well, we were going after four quarterbacks, we got the one we really wanted and we stopped recruiting the rest. I said, Oh, I appreciate thanks. No, no word like a we're not recruiting you anymore. Just letters, just stop. But let her to stop. Here's the question, though. Did the guy they pick get fourteen years in the NFL? I bet not. I don't even know. I can't remember who they picked. It might I'm trying to think that would that would have been one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine. Who would have been the quarterback? I trying to remember who that quarterback was. Hard hot collins, maybe it might have been. He Bleed somews around. Then trying to think, yeah, he got some time, he's got a little bit of time. You usually I mean fourteen years. He did well, but not poteen year. Yeah, fifteen don't cut. I would they proved him wrong. Got Yeah, no, but the CAM taught me a lot. Really did, really do. taught me a lot. Great quarterback coach and I loved spend a time with them. And you know your new book, Jim Harbaugh. He and I've gone back and forth a few times and you know, we were in back in the day when they used to have, you know, the quarterback challenge. I don't know if you ever remember why you over that thing with the moving targets and all that. Oh Yeah, and Jim. You Know Jim's kind of intense. Yeah, thank you. So I'm in this. I'M gonna I know if that too. Yeah, yeah, we're in the offseason and and we're going to this quarterback challenge. I got my kids and my wife and everything and and it's really kind of laid back, like the guys like to do it, but it's kind of like a vacant one. Yeah, it's right. So we come out. I remember all the guys and it's my first experience with it. I didn't really know what to do and so I coed down and I got my Redskin Jersey on and and all the other guys far ofv and and Carrie call cares. Now I don't know. I think I don't think he was there. Course else. Stewart was there, drew drew bledsoe was there. You know, a couple of the other guys. Any TESTAVERDIE and we're all they kind of we're all kind of milling around and they're saying, you guys want a massage or what? Everybody's like no, you know, we were out last night. We don't need a massawe. You know whatever. And here times there's Jim over under the tent and yet with the athlete trainers get his ankles, tage his wrist, team stretching. He's sweating before we start anything and everybody's like that he's going on. Do we get to the one contest where it's like the one you got to like kind of grab the ball, Sprint, grab the ball, sprint, its targets and all that, and I did pretty well. I beat everybody else and Jim's the last one to go and sure enough he beats me by like five seconds and they're up. It comes down to like a replay and they give him the point. Five seconds right. That beats me and I lose. I lose twenty five grand. I'm like, are you kidding me? Come on, horrible but that's the kind of competitor he is to the same age, and so I grew up playing baseball against him and I was a defrom baseball player thanks to coach Mac, but Jim was clearly the best. Also football, of course, and basket by to not play those sports, but we're actually teammates. And Hockey and that was Jim's fourth sport, my first Board and I've always maintained that as slightly better at hardball and hockey. And not one of my teammates backs me on this. But I can tell you that in in eighth grade hockey, when you got a gable to give us seven o'clock in the morning for practice, this kind of stuff on a Sunday morning, we're all you know tires can be and little groggy and grows. You know that Harba showed up. Jessica said Gung Ho, ready to go. This is his fourth sport for right allowed to get two basketball games later on that day. So one of US got was a great athlete, but I want to tell you who, but not. But that intensity amount of court. He had a les tape. I got a throw in the book of him playing table hockey with a friend of mine and junior high school, and he said, unlike the rest of us, Jim could never play anything without a scoreboard and a clock. There's no point playing Frisbee. It's pointless. So they're playing the game. They knock a lamp over. As a lamp is flying to the ground, Jim Catches it by the base with his right hand and says in the same split second, stop the clock. That guy, that guy's more competitive than most. So you lost to you lost one of the best right now. I agree. I agree. So, John Um, how did you see? You see graduating from Michigan. We your journalist, journalism major. I probably should have been, but we didn't have that at mission of the time. They'd killed the program and I really didn't know what I was going to do. I took run an honors thesis in history, thank God, but a hundred pages while taking four or five created writing classes on the side. So, without realizing it, really kind of Dumb Luck, I had put together the perfect background for writing books, the research in the one side and the writing on the other. So that sounds I got lucky, but my first job was not in journalism at all. Was that Culver Academy's for all Clark, that great coach I mentioned, and I was teaching US history and coaching soccer, hockey and baseball for Ninezero.

Dollars a year high, four figures, and that's a stair your coaching career right there. That's all every code starts really. Usually it's like you don't even get paid when you start. You actually got lucky and got paid. You're right, I mean get and all that, and that's one thing to I mean, obviously the money these days is incredible. You can make you know, five, ten million dollars a year, but find me the coach in this generation who made a dime starting out, who didn't put in a hundred hour weeks line in the field or doing whatever it takes to gear where they are. It's pretty rare. Yeah, my son is at William and Mary. He played two years and now he's coaching and he'll call and complain and you like Man Dad. They just make me do everything. I'm doing all this and getting ready for the Games and I have to do the scouting reports and I'm like gunner. Every single person and coached at a high level had to do all of that, and that's now it's just your turn and they're just, you know, it's just running down hill right to you right now and you got to take care of that. And that's that's just how it is. You want to be a coach, you want to be a somebody at the top, then you got to start at the bottom. I'm sorry, and and Hardworre's going to get you there. And he's been getting better and better, but he understands that a little bit now, I honest. yeasause. Definitely. Then I fell and told him that I don't know, you let me to have you. No matter what I've ever told him, he's never listened to me. So I don't know, maybe maybe I got a four year old. I'm getting used to it already. Yeah, actual, he's maybe something stuck in there. I don't know. Smike still added, of course, and you know it goes. When Jack Harbor, Jim's Dad, got to Michigan Coaching for bow and seventy three they made sixteen thousand dollars a year and even back then that was crap. So they had one station wagon for the two of them. Jack had to get a right to get to the football building every morning. That's that's how they did it. So it's the dous. You got to pay and in some ways it's not a bad weed out. So you don't want to do that. You probably want one like the rest of it anyway. So what's like? How does your writing career take off? You've written at least ten books now and I know you do all kinds of different projects. Like what was your first like paying writing game? First Pain Writing Gig? Let's see, I went to mich in law school for five minutes, literally when it got to the part where he says look your left, look to your right, at the end of the semester one of you will be gone. They prided themselves and plunking out a third of the class and it kind of said we don't do that anymore. We're joking, but I was in there thinking, man, I've always wanted to be a writer. I've never want to be a lawyer. What am I doing here? I liked my left, I like to my right and I said, good news, Boys, I'm the Guy, I'm the word, I think up the books. I quit in five minutes. I return the book for a full refund and please to say and three days later I'm on top of the Whitmore Lake press box covering a pretty bad high school football game for the Anivernews for fifty bucks per game. Thinking of myself, my career will never stink more than it does right now, and I already love this. I made the right call. So I gave myself three years to make it. If I didn't make it in three years, then I got to go back to law school. That was the deal I made with myself and by the end of that had a comm with the antibur news and then the Detroit News Ninety five and ninety nine, sports feature writing, which is great, and covering them Super Bowl, the Olympics, you name it. Then left there in ninety nine to our right freelance for the Wallsher Journal of the New York Times and others. YESPN sports illustrated and right books and now mainly writing books these days. So the big break, though, is that the trade news. Jim Russ, Bob Giles at the trade news. They really I mean that's my first full time job. For crying now loud and I'm paper that should not have given me that job. But like coach Mac, they believe. If they believe me when few others did, and Jack Harbus told me you need at least one coach in life to believe in you, and I've had five and I got to count those guys among them. That that was a huge break and I'm always grateful for that right. So when you're you know, as a coach, you know I've been a coach and a player, and as a coach you want to teach kids your knowledge and then as a player you want to you know, you want to learn as much as you can. And so, just like you said, coaches have to care, they have to also teach about you, have to be tough on you. What is an editor like for you when you were at the Detroit press there and what did you learn from them? Where they are on you did? Did you get some of that feedback from them? That's a great question and honestly it's about the same. They got to push in, they got to care about you. Mark Let, I'm still touching with him, and Bob Giles is since retired. These guys were great to me, but they did not put up with any crap either. I mean, as we said, it was a daily it's not. You don't get any complete the next day you get fired, and I explain it to my students now. Work over the year. Times they don't give you a knocket right down the third they fire you on the spot. So you got to handle your business. But they cared about me. That cared about my work, and that's funny. Made a lot of things possible that would not have been possible otherwise. So, Louke Grant, think of that guy. It's about who you're talking about. The same kind of guy, gruff, old guy who actually does care about you, but he's not going to put up with crap and and that inspires you, obviously. So I've loved what I'm doing. It's been fun to do it and I will say also having coached high school hockey and some baseball to that was a that's been a big help talking to coaches, because I know how hard it is, even at the high school level. Then you tell a kid the same thing five times and he goes out and he doesn't do it right. I mean when...

...they get me out of the coaches and all that, I'm pretty sure the coaches not toll that guy to jump off sides. I'll bet that one right now. All right. So it's a hard life and I think College football coaching might be the hardest if you only get twelve games and if he lose one of those games, man it's like death, but slower and quieter. Basically it's horribly be around. So those jobs are hard well, and it's it's really is a big business to I mean you love the kids, but you know, as a head college edge coach at a major school like Michigan, it's a business. It's it's relationships. There's so much untail. You know. I think in your book it you talked about there was a picture with it. John's secretary said, you know, this is not just a nine to five, forty hour work week. Are you right about that? It's yeah, Jim, secretary, the enemy, Danuel, the question they love and look, you play a tell us and Dave, you know what's going on with this stuff. Yeah, but this staff. First, they're sixty seven full time staffers and Shimbeco Hall and I'm sure's the name it tall sir pit or Penn State. And their favorite question is what do you guys do in the offseason? And they say in the offseason we cut our hours back one hundred hours a week to fifty hours a week. That's the offseasons. So and that's if you're, you know, the nutritionist for the strength coach, their cruiting director, any of that stuff. Those jobs are brutal and the pay is not bad, certainly, but they said, look for the money. You can do something else and make more money. The Glamor how that wears out very quickly. If you don't love being around college athletes, this is not going to make sense to you, so don't do it right. No, I agree. I agree. Well, now, John, you like writing also about, like any teach, is we just we heard at the beginning of the show history of sports in the United States. Is that fun for you to go back and teach the history of sports, or do you rather would you do you like to talk about the current stuff, or kind of mix of both? Or I love it all, man, and it's fun to teach. Of course, as the youngest of three kids, I was at the questions. It's front of the answers for once. That's good. So I change a pace for me. But the class I basically created thirteen years ago history of college athletics, and and they they're do it also. What's amazing to me, though, of course, to them and bear with me here. The fab five is ancient history to them as like man, yeah, mighty of history is Walter Camp, John Hays, that's history right out of these guys. It's it's fat five. Yeah, it's amazing the references that you used to making, that you have to judge us to, depending on who you're speaking with, our our producers, twenty three, and I did pick and shoes what I use as a comparison, because it sports is all about comparisons, you know. But right, true. And in fact, you know, when we're getting ready for the interview, I accidentally said, and I was thinking of remember Mark Making at Temple our? Sure, yeah, but that, well, I guard played for the Pistons for a little while. Yeah, so I so, I I called you for whatever reason mark making. I don't know why I did that. It's Ryan and right. Yeah, but you know, there was if just a blank look and remember mark making. It's like now, don't remember Mark Make It, right. Yeah, but in my world he was like a complete that was like when I was in high school, he was a total stud. Right. Oh, yeah, how could you do not know mark make it? Well, there's so many actually, there's so many people that we talked to that are younger, that don't understand anything what, even in the S, right in the S, you know they're that's so removed from them you want to go. I just did a camp in Fort Worth and was talking to kids and asking them about certain athletes if they knew who they were, and they had no idea. You know, Dude, if they're not on man, they don't know, which is not explaining them that George farmer did not start out as a grill salesman where the man was a stone called athlete. Asked who Cassius Clay Wood before became my home at Ali so and at the big shocker to me this last week. First we got a semester my students. Some of them were not born when and eleven happened, and that put in a perspective very quick pick like a day we can ever forget. They weren't even around for it. Right. Well, that happened very fast. You can't say where were going on eleven because they didn't exist. Right, explain one hundred and eleven was start there. Yeah, actually, that might scoop. That may need explanation sometimes too. So exactly so, if you're looking at the history of college athletics. What do you think is, let's say men's college athletics. What do you think the greatest game ever played was in any sport? Wow, wow, the most important game was out the greatest game magic Johnson versus Larry Bird, because that launched basketball. And and of course, March madness. All some March matness is pretty quiet before then you seela usually winning, says that's the most important one. But while the biggest game, man, Oh man, great question,...

...tough question. The NFL. I can answer that one with the giants, of course, versus the colts and fifty nine, which launches the NFL. College. HMM, I can to have a lot of great ones, but I'm trying to decide what the greatest one was all of all time. I don't know. What do you guys have? Well, you know, I look back and if you think about just football and the old you know, and is not necessarily Michigan, but like Notre Dame. We talked to rocky Blyer, even rocky going to Notre Dame. He knew some about Notre Dame, but I'm just trying you know and how great they were. But you know, he it's about going there you got a let her in the mail something like today. It's so different and I'm just wondering what really put college athletics on the map for first kids to really want to know that they're going to Ay this the chance for me to go and get a scholarship and and play college because they're going to pay for me to go to school. I wonder when time switched. You know I'm saying, and that's why right we have a historian on in college athletics and just trying to figure out when the troll with that angle. I can answer that one for you. That in seventy three Michigan Ties Ohio state ten to ten. No overtime back then. So both teams are ten and one. They've got no tie breaker and that that point in the big ten, which is not very smart. So they had a vote of the athletic directors and they'll let the s vote six to four to send hill state to the rose bones at a Michigan no ball games back then. Dennis Franklin, Michigan's quarterback for three years. Thirty wins, two losses, one tie, not one bowl game on top five teams. So from that game you can say that's in the ball madness started back then. They're there eleven ball games. Now they're at least forty. So now a teams go. Of course that's where that starts. That's not the only thing that broke it, though. HMM. One that has switched to that degree probably maybe the beasts ninety eight. And of course the title Games became so big. But I had a big thing too when I was growing up. There are two Michigan Football Games on TV every year. That's all. Michigan State, Ohio State. That's it. The rest is all radio. In the S, for crying out right, in seventy nine the NBA, NBA finals were on tape delay nationwide. You could not watch them live, which incredible. So you got to say the ball madness, plus Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. That's totally got a lot of it going. But now, of course, the money and the exposures just beyond whatever anybody could have imagined. But those are two too good places to start right there. Right. So what gave you the inspiration to write your new book overtime? Well, I thought I was done write in the college foll books after end zone, because with fourth and long I talked about Penn State. was inside with those guys. I end zone is how, basically, they screwed it up for four or five years and then, with hardball back, seem pretty much fixed. But then it's occurred to me I forgot to ask really the players. What does it like to be a player at this level? What does it mean to you? I talked to the parents for this one. I think eight players for offense, for defense, some big names, some walk ons. I asked the parents also what it's like for them when your kids being tweeted about, when your kid gets injured, when you kid is a big game, big game. was that what that's life for you? I talked to the staff is also what their lifestyles are like. So this is the best possible look I could create of what is like behind the scenes of a major college program to be a player or a parent or a staffer, as well as a hardball stuff. So that's what compelled me to do one more of these books and I'm glad I did. And I got to say too, I went away feeling a lot better about cos football that I held a year ago, that for the most part these guys are doing it for the right reasons. They've got planned after football and their parents are levelhead of people and maybe more discourage about the twitter verse, and I was going a ripping people you don't know who are actually kids. They're the three hundred pounds or six foot five and they can't grow a proper beard. They're still kids, right, and you got to realize that, and I think too, is that the other part of the game, and is is all the kids on the team. You know, you only get basically twenty two starters love on each side college, or maybe a little more. But you know, Michigan has how many people on the team every year? A hundred, and you know they're probably over ninety. I would say there's a lot of people just want to be involved in Michigan football that may never see the field, right. You're right. Yeah, you know, and I wonder what that is like, with that relationship is like with the coach and the parents and everybody else, because even though you don't want to admit it, there's still a big part of the team. All. You're right, of course you're sending record that Tulsa, but I got a chapter on Matt Mitchell, a fifth year senior of Michigan, from a local high school about twenty minuth away from here. Five is in the team. Is Not Gotten in a segreget starting has not been in a single game in five years. As you know, Gust that's possible. I'm sure their guys a also and knock themselves out, the rudy kind of characters, trying, hoping for one play, and he finally gets same. When they're beat up on Nebraska last year,...

...pretty much a blow out, in the fourth quarter, the special team guys calls his name and when he runs out there, all the future NFL players, all Americans, all the starters, they all leave the bench and go to the edge of the field. Just see that guy play his one play in a Michian football uniform and chase when of itch. Now at the doing the Patriots Big Defensive End. He goes out there and give them a chess bop. After the play, their roommates. They run to the sideline. You Look Up, you see Matt Mitchell's parents. They're crying and chase one of it his parents and from Pittsburgh. They're crying also, and that's in your real eye. There are a lot of stories there. You just don't see a TV right, and it's so important that you know when you say it's a team, it's a team. And when you see a story like that, a scenario like that, it makes you realize that this guy gave everything he had for five years and he just wanted to be out in that field and that that's such a great story and you know those are the things that he'll never forget. We're talking about Wolfe Ball. Will never forget some of those games. That couldn't never forget that day. Oh, you're exactly right. And Look, you get a chance to hire one of those guys, do it, because that guy works with Tailoff, can take orders and never gives up. No, guys tend to do quite well, as you know from your experience at tell us a. The walk on him if you can, right, because they're there to work, they want to be part of something bigger than them and they understand what it takes to get there and they're going to do everything they can to try and get on that field. It transitions great into the business world. Exactly. Writing. Gusts, I guarantee everyone year old walk on teammates and Elsa is bragging about being on your team. I don't know about that. I'm brother than I played that guy. Maybe, maybe, except for that one incident I had a DC. They probably try to forget me then. Well, let that go. Yeah, but even, you know, you can even make the comparison to like baseball coaches. They're, you know, baseball managers. Some of the best ones were never very good players and some of the best players didn't turn out to be very good managers, and it's kind of that walk on thing that this sort of the same effect. They're all you're very much right. I mean, how many coaches that any support were really great athletes? To listen is very short, very short. And I asked Bo schembeckler about this because of course you went to Miami of Ohio and they've got the cradle coaches down there. Of course they got a on the back of their scoreboard, a mural of like flower. Thirteen guys who played our coach there were now in the Hall of Fame For coaching. Are Parseigan what he hates? Paul Brown said, Gilman. The list is long and ridiculous. Bohm meckler and so on. John Harbaugh, Jim's brother, and I asked Bo about this once and I said, man, how can you past explain how you guys and that small school have fourteen or whatever hall of fame coaches? Because they can? That's easy. We could not play the game. I'm sure that's like a good love football. I. You want to stand football, you better forgot a way to do it. becauitting any plan. Right, it's like coach Dick and sir, I like it. Yeah, directed to the point. Right, you got it, Dick, I love bone vice first, obviously. Right. Oh, yeah, they were, they were. They were both like coach Dick. You know, we asked him some questions and one of his every question is answer was all about great and hard work and you know he's a Pittsburgh real guy and it was just it was just great here in his here in his take on life. But we asked him, wait, would you still love you? Right, Oh, yeah, he was great. It came on you. It's for guy and all that. Yeah, it was a wonderful interview. We really enjoyed it. But you know, Dave, tell him about what? What he well, yeah, we asked him a little. We asked him what what his biggest pet peeve was, and that took him up like half a second. To respond. People Bitch. Yeah, that's it. Just like just get it done. Don't bitch about just that was him. A lot of people say like Oh, when you don't hold the door for someone or whatever, you know they don't say thank you. He's right. People, people bitch. Right, that's the epitome of coach Dick Well, Hey, you gotta love that. By the way, above the photo mentioned with Dana mcdaniel, Jim Harbaz, secretary, but jim talking. Look above that photo. The sign above Jim's door has two words. No whining, but bring me anything else. I'll listen. What a bitch. Go find someone else. Yeah, I love it. It's good. Same stuff. I think that's what we're going to call our podcast studio, and no one knows. Yeah, the no whining Yo, whining student, no whining zone. Yeah, that's right, that's right. All right, hey, Joe, know we appreciate you beat on one last little segment we do. It's called no huddle. We're just like with coach Dick Up, but we go through week, fire some questions at you and in answer them quickly. I'm pretty excited to ask John some of these questions days. Well, we'll ask John Right off the bat. What's your biggest pet Peez, but it's hard to beat no bitching, isn't it? Yeah, no, we got a bitch. You know why to come on getting give us something else. Here's my biggest pepief. If you're arrogant, stupid people. If you're stupid, be nice. If you're arrogant, be right. You're arrogant and stupid. This is not going to go well.

There's my dike right there. I like it. I like it all right. So, if you could trade places with one person, dead or live, who would it be? For One day? Wow, for one day, for one day, Ken Burns, the filmmaker out of Ann Arbor to the baseball series, civil war and all the rest. If I could do one thing, that'd be it. Nice. Yeah, as a as a history pro like yourself, you must really appreciate Ken Burns. Oh Yeah, and I know my little bit. He does have been very nice to me, but that guy kind of remade the whole genre of documentary film. So now, of course, having said that, I don't know damning about film, so it's not a very good goal. Let's go. That's what you want to do. Somebody who does same thing as you well and a good point. It's only for day to see can get away with it. Right. There you go for a day. If you could be commissioner of any league for one day, what would you implement? Oh it would be I'd be a commissioner of hockey and I go to Olympic size rinks because they're too big in the two fast and there's no room. How about that? I like a good one. Yeah, I mean hockey. I love the speed, the game up scores many goals, make it exciting. I mean it's still we get a lot of that, but when the game in hockey is it's like a long, slow baseball game. It's tough sometimes. Yep, all right. Besides the big besides the big house, what's your favorite sports venue? I got a lot of them. How about for each sport, I would say outside the big house, except, of course, I love that beaber stadium at Penn State for a white out Saturday night. That is very hard to beat. That's about it, because gets, I think, in football. What about professional basketball? Professional Basketball, Cameron and door stadium for Duke. Of course, seen a few games there and I don't know why they call it indoor stadium. What the hell would it be with the outdoor stadium is back then? I don't think so, right. But Cameron, very the cameron crazies. That's very hard to be and that's number one. They're baseball fenway and of conversation. Right. No, I get a lot. We get a lot of good reviews on Pittsburgh, but just you got you gotta have the wins that go with it. As long as there's not a game going on, a stadium's awesome. You can go back and tell John when you were young, when you're that young, baseball, you know, pro Wi football player, one thing. What would you go back and tell yourself back? You know that you've learned through your life. I would say the losses don't matter, that don't get two down, little lessons, but don't let that stop you and and years from now you'll get over in some cases many years. But Hey, the losses don't matter. Keep going, keep going. All right, with two more for you. What's the most overrated thing in sports today? HMM, TV timeouts. Hate them. Stop that. So that overrated. But when they here, I'm going to call it on that one. They caught a media time out. I could I scream bloody murder. Now one going to presspot called the time out. All right, so it's not overrated, but it's overblown. That's got to stop right now. overrated. overrated? HMM, homefield advantage, I guess. overrated. You think so, even with Seventyzero or a hundred tenzero? Yeah, now, with a dumb answer. No, but I but I quickly, I quickly rescind it. No, but you know what, though, I think if you it's statistically, if you do a little research, it may be a little bit overrated, like I think you know. I mean not with this the point spread makes up for that, but if you're just talking about wins and losses, there might be a little bit of overreading there. Yeah, I don't know. I don't know. I still think you. I mean, it's homefill advantage for a reason, you know. I don't think it's just because you're, you know, for laws, not for nothing. Right, and of course that could be my bitter interpretation of as a mission alum, seeing Ohio State beat Michigan Sixteen out of eighteen times this century. So yes, I've learned that it doesn't matter much to them, but the buck guys right. But yes, but you are right. It doesn't matter, especially in certain sports. I think football play the most, where emotions amentum such a big part of the game. No, I believe then. I think there was something too about sleeping in your own bed compared to sleeping in a hotel. But it makes a big ACM. It's funny you said that, by the way. I asked the players about this and they said being at home one of the big reasons why they love being at home. And they go to the same hotel you've been going to for forty years. You stay in the same room every time, same roommate, same food, same all the rooms. Is that it's like being at your home versus being at at someone else's house on the road. You had that hotel. Maybe you know once or twice during your career you get lost it don't like the foot. You don't know where the hell I go right and they said the whole thing is distorted in a way I had not really considered. So you know about that, Guss, but I didn't.

Yeah, know that is that. I definitely agree with that. All right, last one here, John. If we were scrolling to your phone, who's that most who's the most famous person? We would find in your phone. Michael Jordan, that number on nolier works all right, so we're going to put a little bit in your phone. Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep but all right. So if you call them or you text them, they would answer. WHO's that most favorite for see you that? HMM. John Saunders, vspn. He and I did a book together three years ago before we passed away. Rich Eisen might might qualify. If you text him, he will. He will text me back, especially during football games. Solid that is I like listen to him a lot. So we really appreciate is there anything else you want to tell us about overtime? And we'd love for you to give us a shout out, you know, so that we can when we do your promos and stuff and we go on to social media, we can share that with the now. Sure, and I'll have the blast your show as well. It is a last week a number thirteen on the publishers weekly best sellers list. So we made a national best sellars list. That's goods and today by book libraries called the number two best news football black out there. Number one is Bob stoops that pastored right, written by gene what Jerhousi a great friend of mine at the ESPN, so I can hardly regargehim that. But number two, I'll takes. We're doing okay with that and it's all in Johnny Bakingcom and John You baking on twitter as well. Hey, we want to thank you for joining us today on howdle up with guests, where we talked to a wide range of guests about how sports shaped to life. As always, I'm joined by my great friend and Co host, Dave Hagar, and we want you to be able to follow us on all of our social media at huddle up with gusts and we really appreciate you and thank you for your time and listening to our podcast.

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