Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 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 sandwichlast night. I have to ask you which one. Well, but embarrassingly, and I I talked to you in the car. I think you weregoing through. I was going through a drive there, but that was formy daughter. Yes, what a good day. But then when I gothome Kelly was out and she brought me home the sandwich. So it wasand 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'sfunny, 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 lotof great stories, and this guest is a historian, you know, asports historian's yeah, well, he may know more about the history, especiallyif college football, then most anyone today alive. You know, it's amazingis these guys that we have on that that researchers and study this. Thedates and how fast they come up with stuff is so amazing. Their memoriesare unbelievable and I that's something I know. I we're a little we're a littlebit lack and it's a they were. The recollection is incredible, the waythey can just come up with dates and stats. Well and the inthe great thing is it keeps our street going with this, with this guessand yeah, and the end wearing this streak we're talking about is the whiffleballstreak, and he even wrote a piece on whiffleball. So He's not onlycollege football authority, he's a whiffleball authority who's a great writer and he wrotea 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'sall 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. Butthis week joining us in the huddle is John You Bacon, author of thenew book that he wrote about Michigan football and it's called overtime. It's JimHarbaugh and the Michigan Wolverine to the crossroads of College Football. So join usin 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 youhave 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 whenyou were little and growing up in an arbor, what was that firstthing 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 meis nice. Of course, my dad is a big sports fan. Nosurprised there. That's probably true for a lot of us. He was nota great athlete, but not a bad one, but he got US interestedin 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 dadplayed 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 theleast, but there's no jumping in hockey. I like that so but it's funnyhow almost every Jep of gotten and over news, Detroit News, youname it, down the road. Almost all that came from being a prettyaverage high school hockey player and it opens doors, man, it gets intothings. And now that I've got a kid myself, but I want fromhim it's kind of what I had, which is be a good enough athleteto make some teams and get some teammates to get exercise and not being videogames all day long, and also to make them teams and they get coverfrom teams to learn how to take a set back and keep going. Andgiven where I students things, I got some. I got plenty of thosealso. 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 coachcan name coach Mac, Mac Mackenzie, who actually lived in Scottsdale and justpassed away a couple of few years ago. In Fourth Grade I'm picking Daisy's inright field and the last batter on the team, playing three Nings thegame and the previous coach had no faith in me, obviously, and thencoach 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 fiftyor something, and that showed me at an early age what a huge differencehaving a coach of believing you can do. I could not have been that muchbigger, faster and fifth grade than fourth grade. But coach Mac ofthe Guy I will never forget to destroying him for Yahoo few years ago andhe actually read it. Had know you had happened to him and he foundthat. He read it and we exchanged a few letters and he passed awaythe 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 saidthat coach mack passed away and was hoping...

...maybe he'd be available to coach thepirates. They good years that man. Yeah, I recalled coach Mac thesweat dripping off his pointy nose and I played catcher. He's pounded out groundballs and a case he throwing out for me, of course, a littlebunch or whatever. And Yeah, the pirates fundamentals go a long way.People fundamentals go a long way. So Joon was a neighborhood you grew upin? Like? Was it like hey, bunch of kids going out, orwas everything organized for you? I mean we talked all the time aboutthings are unorganized. No parents involved, no coaches involved, get on yourbike, go play with your friends and and that's all. A lot ofUS 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'sa 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 hadto. But I had to fear it all out and even if your picklast, and I was but the youngest, smallest kid that group, so Ioften was, even if your pick last. So what, suck itup, get over it. And I interviewed Yogie Bear I years ago aboutthis and he said, you know, it's grandson Dale's kid, who ahot chat baseball player. Traveled Him Kid and selling. He said they havein 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 atbats 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 anall 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 inthe 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 allgrew up. and Dave, we got to find out if we're still we'regoing 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'retalking about whiffleball. Did you guys play whiffleball? Oh right, increase,baby whippleball. Yes, Google my name and the name whibbleball. I werea 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'mno guts for I'm the NFL quarterback, but damn it up and tours likeMichigan. I still have the record for sixty one home runs the summer ofseventy six. No one been that. Yeah, I don't know. Davesays 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. Weplay pictures hands. You're out, all that business. Use The lawn chairs, the umpire, the lawn chairs, the UMPIRES for the catcher. Sometimesexactly yeah, right, right, yeah, I know that. that. Welove 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 isencouraging 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 waswhiffleball and it's your buddies, even then you had ups and downs. Likeit was about learning how to play the game, learning how to get alongwith friends. It was so you know, being able to socialize with everyone inyour in your community, and I think kids just miss know much ofthat today. They do. Like I said. I mean you got topick your own teams, get a solve your own disputes. We had plentyof 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, DivisionOne college baseball coaches and they say, with all the travel with him andall the rest, these guys can't play catch. They don't want todo it, they're bad at it. That struck me as incredible. Butit's all travel tam yeah, and and I mean I kind of have abig pet PV. Even at football. It's it's I got to go finda 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 beorganized. I mean we went out, I was Terry Bradshaw when I wasa kid. We just had out and win the snow and we would play. We'd make the field, whatever it was, whatever we had. Wetook 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 noidea what you're up to and we just go by. Once I touchdowns worthone 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 thethings I think kids just miss out today. I know esports and gaming is gettingbigger and bigger and bigger, but there's just something intangible that you can'tlearn 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 memoriesand we can come up with those memories like that if we can remember specificwhiptball games, which is ridiculous. I mean they know Umpires Anni produce wasnot there. Nobody cared, but man, we cared a lot as a somuch fun. I never called being board. Playing those games another greatand I have two daughters that are in high school. They both played volleyballand basketball, but I don't think either one has ever played a pickup basketballgame, which seems unbelievable but I believe it's true. Like they we havea whoop in our drive away. They occasionally shoot at that, but Idon't think they've ever like gone to a park and play whos I don't thinkanybody does. Know, I never see. Well, it would call you.In that case he would have to actually put down their phone, whichis that's a that's a sin in itself, right, a right, hard toplay one handed, right. Yeah, right. So, John, youbasically spent like your time as a kid. You learned a lot ofthings from coach Mac. You go on too, high school. Who wasthat coach? It influenced you in high school. I had a good coachin high school, Bob Perry played high school hockey. But the great coachI had after that when I was insistant. Coach had places called Cul our academiesIndiana. Well, Al Clark, who started the program and produced sixor 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 neveryells. It's a five bed of kap of math majors. Is Notthe 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 usedto, you know, yellers and screamers, and you hear my voice, ofcourse, but this guy was so quiet. But man, I boilson 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 isa care, a bottom and push him at the same time. Coach Machad that, coach Al at Culebra had that, and those guys you neverforget. Right. No, I agree with that. So did you havean I don't, somebody looked up to when you were young kid playing hockey? Oh, sure, I had. On the hockey side, had AlexDelvecium, and I shall hall of Famer with the Red Wings. Got Toknow 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 howand I'm in high school. Flay not to Hartford, where he's of coursestill playing, end of his career, and I say excuse the year Goredyhow right he was. Yeah, and ADRIPO of nothing. I've got noidea 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 moreon. How could you have said that? And he was so cool. Hegranted 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 rightthere. But so that was a special memory. Obviously we did Alec Ofveiand in Baseball Bill Free and number eleven for the Tigers, and I gotto know him a little bit too in his coaching Michigan and I was alwaysa catcher in baseball team. Too Small for that, but those are guysadmired and you know, it's like it's usually bad idea to meet your idolswhen 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. Thatbroke down rule too. So when I was coaching high school hockey herein Michigan on the side of my writing career, I always kept out ofmind. So we talked a little about your hockey. What about your baseballside? Like who in Michigan? Who Do they like? I mean dothey 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 footballand they've got, of course, four Major League tams here in Detroit andhave 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 yearsgot forty, shit forty chances to win a division title. The troy teamswon exactly one when I was growing up, the Tigers and one hundred and twentytwo, and I remember it, and they went nothing else a restthe decade. So I grew up thinking there's no way. When, whenanything, when they finally one that world...

...three thousand and eighty four with Lanceparish and those guys, I could not believe that it actually happened. Sothat's what makes you a college football fan. By the way, with all theDetroit teams, think go blue. Well, John, I grew upin Tucson Arizona, but I was a pirates fan. But my favorite playerwas 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 championhome run hitter. They've got run on the floor in the Allstar game andmark the bird fedrish on the mound. Wow, that might have been thehappiest summer of my life. You're twelve years old and, as Stephen Kingsaid, 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'tdrive every day you spend with each other. It's taking for granted. Were playingthe same games, the same sports and all that stuff, and thatfor me was a magical summer. Yeah, that's great. We all have thosekind of memories of you know, I have several of those when justI remember just going getting up in the morning, dad saying don't come backto the whistle blows and you go getther go, you go find something todo, get all your friends up let's go. We're going to play somekind of sport and you had to go to Johnny's house because he had thisball that you wanted to use and he was the only one in to makeat it. He wasn't home. So then you go to play some othersport because so and so had the hockey sticks, whatever it was, butthose are those are great memories. So here's the question. Here the question. How much time, when no other around, how much time you justspend 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 couldget my hands on. I mean you just you just played constantly. Ican 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 uponhours. Well, I love that s right, I love throwing it offthe stair at there's a staircase and a set of steps in front of myhouse, so you pitch to the stair case but if it hit like thecorner of the step would get the line drive. So you could actually playa game against yourself and sometimes it would just come back slowly and there's anALP but sometimes it would like fly over your head. Well, as verylonely as you can play. Tell what the other thing, there's still alot of fun right. One of the other things I used to do ismy dad had about twelve apple trees in our yard. We had about anacre 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 applesthat were not good I'd have to throw in the woods and most people wouldput them in a willbarrow whatever. I would just found out. I wouldtake him one by one, untee how far I could throw them into thewoods. 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 arerotten or whatever and I'm just flinging them as far as I can, throwthem over the power lines or you name it. Well, now, andalso 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 likefungo practice into the desert. Yeah, rocks, you know. So onceagain we've established I was lonely, but maybe I come because I also calledthe stair game also. This is Michigan closer. We're guts. Grew upin Fitsburg, of course. So I'd play the stair game inside like threeor 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 comeback at. You working on this? Yeah, I could like a comebackor that almost hurts. Like right, right on, you'RE gonna get infront of it. So, John, you grew up in Ann Arbor andyou went to Michigan. Is that just like a natural fit, ordid 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 thisbasis. But there was one thousand nine hundred and eighty two, and northwesternwas in the middle of one of the biggest horrible routes. And Off Collegefootball. 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, andthis is pathetic, is why would I want to go to school where Isent the stand and watch Michigan keep the crap out them when I could begoing to that school? So right, I'm that very dumb basis. Ipicked 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 rememberexisting coach he had, Cam Cameron? Oh sure, so cam was myfirst 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 outof high school and then they just stopped recruiting me. That's where Ireally wanted to go and they stopped recruiting.

So when camp became, my quarterbackcoach said, what happened? You were the quarterback coach there and youknow you're he said, well, we were going after four quarterbacks, wegot 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 recruitingyou anymore. Just letters, just stop. But let her to stop. Here's the question, though. Did the guy they pick get fourteen yearsin the NFL? I bet not. I don't even know. I can'tremember who they picked. It might I'm trying to think that would that wouldhave been one thousand nine hundred and eighty nine. Who would have been thequarterback? 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 poteenyear. 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 spenda 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 overthat thing with the moving targets and all that. Oh Yeah, and Jim. You Know Jim's kind of intense. Yeah, thank you. So I'min 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 gotmy 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 vacantone. Yeah, it's right. So we come out. I rememberall the guys and it's my first experience with it. I didn't really knowwhat to do and so I coed down and I got my Redskin Jersey onand and all the other guys far ofv and and Carrie call cares. NowI don't know. I think I don't think he was there. Course else. Stewart was there, drew drew bledsoe was there. You know, acouple of the other guys. Any TESTAVERDIE and we're all they kind of we'reall 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. Wedon't need a massawe. You know whatever. And here times there's Jimover under the tent and yet with the athlete trainers get his ankles, tagehis wrist, team stretching. He's sweating before we start anything and everybody's likethat he's going on. Do we get to the one contest where it's likethe one you got to like kind of grab the ball, Sprint, grabthe ball, sprint, its targets and all that, and I did prettywell. I beat everybody else and Jim's the last one to go and sureenough he beats me by like five seconds and they're up. It comes downto 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 competitorhe is to the same age, and so I grew up playing baseballagainst him and I was a defrom baseball player thanks to coach Mac, butJim was clearly the best. Also football, of course, and basket by tonot play those sports, but we're actually teammates. And Hockey and thatwas Jim's fourth sport, my first Board and I've always maintained that as slightlybetter at hardball and hockey. And not one of my teammates backs me onthis. But I can tell you that in in eighth grade hockey, whenyou 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 beand little groggy and grows. You know that Harba showed up. Jessicasaid Gung Ho, ready to go. This is his fourth sport for rightallowed to get two basketball games later on that day. So one of USgot was a great athlete, but I want to tell you who, butnot. But that intensity amount of court. He had a les tape. Igot a throw in the book of him playing table hockey with a friendof mine and junior high school, and he said, unlike the rest ofus, Jim could never play anything without a scoreboard and a clock. There'sno point playing Frisbee. It's pointless. So they're playing the game. Theyknock a lamp over. As a lamp is flying to the ground, JimCatches it by the base with his right hand and says in the same splitsecond, stop the clock. That guy, that guy's more competitive than most.So you lost to you lost one of the best right now. Iagree. I agree. So, John Um, how did you see?You see graduating from Michigan. We your journalist, journalism major. I probablyshould 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 ahundred pages while taking four or five created writing classes on the side. So, without realizing it, really kind of Dumb Luck, I had put togetherthe perfect background for writing books, the research in the one side and thewriting on the other. So that sounds I got lucky, but my firstjob 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 coachingsoccer, 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 codestarts 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 andall that, and that's one thing to I mean, obviously the money thesedays is incredible. You can make you know, five, ten million dollarsa year, but find me the coach in this generation who made a dimestarting out, who didn't put in a hundred hour weeks line in the fieldor 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 andnow he's coaching and he'll call and complain and you like Man Dad. Theyjust make me do everything. I'm doing all this and getting ready for theGames and I have to do the scouting reports and I'm like gunner. Everysingle 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'sjust running down hill right to you right now and you got to take careof that. And that's that's just how it is. You want to bea coach, you want to be a somebody at the top, then yougot to start at the bottom. I'm sorry, and and Hardworre's going toget you there. And he's been getting better and better, but he understandsthat a little bit now, I honest. yeasause. Definitely. Then I felland 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. SoI don't know, maybe maybe I got a four year old. I'mgetting used to it already. Yeah, actual, he's maybe something stuck inthere. I don't know. Smike still added, of course, and youknow it goes. When Jack Harbor, Jim's Dad, got to Michigan Coachingfor bow and seventy three they made sixteen thousand dollars a year and even backthen that was crap. So they had one station wagon for the two ofthem. Jack had to get a right to get to the football building everymorning. That's that's how they did it. So it's the dous. You gotto pay and in some ways it's not a bad weed out. Soyou don't want to do that. You probably want one like the rest ofit 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 ofdifferent projects. Like what was your first like paying writing game? First PainWriting Gig? Let's see, I went to mich in law school for fiveminutes, 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 youwill be gone. They prided themselves and plunking out a third of the classand it kind of said we don't do that anymore. We're joking, butI 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? Iliked my left, I like to my right and I said, goodnews, Boys, I'm the Guy, I'm the word, I think upthe books. I quit in five minutes. I return the book for a fullrefund and please to say and three days later I'm on top of theWhitmore Lake press box covering a pretty bad high school football game for the Anivernewsfor fifty bucks per game. Thinking of myself, my career will never stinkmore than it does right now, and I already love this. I madethe right call. So I gave myself three years to make it. IfI didn't make it in three years, then I got to go back tolaw school. That was the deal I made with myself and by the endof that had a comm with the antibur news and then the Detroit News Ninetyfive and ninety nine, sports feature writing, which is great, and covering themSuper Bowl, the Olympics, you name it. Then left there inninety nine to our right freelance for the Wallsher Journal of the New York Timesand others. YESPN sports illustrated and right books and now mainly writing books thesedays. So the big break, though, is that the trade news. JimRuss, Bob Giles at the trade news. They really I mean that'smy first full time job. For crying now loud and I'm paper that shouldnot 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 needat least one coach in life to believe in you, and I've hadfive and I got to count those guys among them. That that was ahuge 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 aplayer you want to you know, you want to learn as much as youcan. 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 thereand 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 andhonestly it's about the same. They got to push in, they got tocare about you. Mark Let, I'm still touching with him, and BobGiles is since retired. These guys were great to me, but they didnot 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 dayyou get fired, and I explain it to my students now. Work overthe year. Times they don't give you a knocket right down the third theyfire you on the spot. So you got to handle your business. Butthey 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 aboutyou, but he's not going to put up with crap and and thatinspires you, obviously. So I've loved what I'm doing. It's been funto do it and I will say also having coached high school hockey and somebaseball to that was a that's been a big help talking to coaches, becauseI know how hard it is, even at the high school level. Thenyou tell a kid the same thing five times and he goes out and hedoesn't do it right. I mean when...

...they get me out of the coachesand all that, I'm pretty sure the coaches not toll that guy to jumpoff sides. I'll bet that one right now. All right. So it'sa hard life and I think College football coaching might be the hardest if youonly get twelve games and if he lose one of those games, man it'slike death, but slower and quieter. Basically it's horribly be around. Sothose jobs are hard well, and it's it's really is a big business toI mean you love the kids, but you know, as a head collegeedge 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 bookit 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 workweek. Are you right about that? It's yeah, Jim, secretary,the enemy, Danuel, the question they love and look, you play atell 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 ShimbecoHall and I'm sure's the name it tall sir pit or Penn State. Andtheir favorite question is what do you guys do in the offseason? And theysay in the offseason we cut our hours back one hundred hours a week tofifty hours a week. That's the offseasons. So and that's if you're, youknow, the nutritionist for the strength coach, their cruiting director, anyof that stuff. Those jobs are brutal and the pay is not bad,certainly, but they said, look for the money. You can do somethingelse 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 senseto you, so don't do it right. No, I agree.I agree. Well, now, John, you like writing also about, likeany teach, is we just we heard at the beginning of the showhistory of sports in the United States. Is that fun for you to goback and teach the history of sports, or do you rather would you doyou 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. Ofcourse, 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 apace for me. But the class I basically created thirteen years ago historyof college athletics, and and they they're do it also. What's amazing tome, though, of course, to them and bear with me here.The fab five is ancient history to them as like man, yeah, mightyof 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 usedto making, that you have to judge us to, depending on whoyou're speaking with, our our producers, twenty three, and I did pickand shoes what I use as a comparison, because it sports is all about comparisons, you know. But right, true. And in fact, youknow, when we're getting ready for the interview, I accidentally said, andI 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 markmaking. 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 remembermark 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 whenI 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 areyounger, that don't understand anything what, even in the S, right inthe 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 andasking them about certain athletes if they knew who they were, and they hadno idea. You know, Dude, if they're not on man, theydon't know, which is not explaining them that George farmer did not start outas a grill salesman where the man was a stone called athlete. Asked whoCassius Clay Wood before became my home at Ali so and at the big shockerto me this last week. First we got a semester my students. Someof them were not born when and eleven happened, and that put in aperspective very quick pick like a day we can ever forget. They weren't evenaround for it. Right. Well, that happened very fast. You can'tsay where were going on eleven because they didn't exist. Right, explain onehundred and eleven was start there. Yeah, actually, that might scoop. Thatmay need explanation sometimes too. So exactly so, if you're looking atthe history of college athletics. What do you think is, let's say men'scollege athletics. What do you think the greatest game ever played was in anysport? Wow, wow, the most important game was out the greatest gamemagic Johnson versus Larry Bird, because that launched basketball. And and of course, March madness. All some March matness is pretty quiet before then you seelausually winning, says that's the most important one. But while the biggest game, man, Oh man, great question,...

...tough question. The NFL. Ican answer that one with the giants, of course, versus the colts andfifty nine, which launches the NFL. College. HMM, I can tohave a lot of great ones, but I'm trying to decide what thegreatest one was all of all time. I don't know. What do youguys have? Well, you know, I look back and if you thinkabout just football and the old you know, and is not necessarily Michigan, butlike Notre Dame. We talked to rocky Blyer, even rocky going toNotre Dame. He knew some about Notre Dame, but I'm just trying youknow and how great they were. But you know, he it's about goingthere you got a let her in the mail something like today. It's sodifferent and I'm just wondering what really put college athletics on the map for firstkids to really want to know that they're going to Ay this the chance forme to go and get a scholarship and and play college because they're going topay for me to go to school. I wonder when time switched. Youknow I'm saying, and that's why right we have a historian on in collegeathletics and just trying to figure out when the troll with that angle. Ican answer that one for you. That in seventy three Michigan Ties Ohio stateten 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 athleticdirectors and they'll let the s vote six to four to send hill state tothe rose bones at a Michigan no ball games back then. Dennis Franklin,Michigan's quarterback for three years. Thirty wins, two losses, one tie, notone bowl game on top five teams. So from that game you can saythat'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 coursethat'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 ninetyeight. And of course the title Games became so big. But I hada big thing too when I was growing up. There are two Michigan FootballGames on TV every year. That's all. Michigan State, Ohio State. That'sit. The rest is all radio. In the S, for crying outright, in seventy nine the NBA, NBA finals were on tape delay nationwide. You could not watch them live, which incredible. So you got tosay the ball madness, plus Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. That's totallygot a lot of it going. But now, of course, the moneyand the exposures just beyond whatever anybody could have imagined. But those are twotoo good places to start right there. Right. So what gave you theinspiration to write your new book overtime? Well, I thought I was donewrite in the college foll books after end zone, because with fourth and longI talked about Penn State. was inside with those guys. I end zoneis how, basically, they screwed it up for four or five years andthen, with hardball back, seem pretty much fixed. But then it's occurredto me I forgot to ask really the players. What does it like tobe a player at this level? What does it mean to you? Italked to the parents for this one. I think eight players for offense,for defense, some big names, some walk ons. I asked the parentsalso what it's like for them when your kids being tweeted about, when yourkid 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 alsowhat their lifestyles are like. So this is the best possible look I couldcreate of what is like behind the scenes of a major college program to bea 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'mglad I did. And I got to say too, I went away feelinga lot better about cos football that I held a year ago, that forthe most part these guys are doing it for the right reasons. They've gotplanned after football and their parents are levelhead of people and maybe more discourage aboutthe twitter verse, and I was going a ripping people you don't know whoare actually kids. They're the three hundred pounds or six foot five and theycan't grow a proper beard. They're still kids, right, and you gotto realize that, and I think too, is that the other part of thegame, and is is all the kids on the team. You know, you only get basically twenty two starters love on each side college, ormaybe a little more. But you know, Michigan has how many people on theteam 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 inMichigan football that may never see the field, right. You're right. Yeah,you know, and I wonder what that is like, with that relationshipis like with the coach and the parents and everybody else, because even thoughyou 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, butI 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 inthe team. Is Not Gotten in a segreget starting has not been in asingle game in five years. As you know, Gust that's possible. I'msure their guys a also and knock themselves out, the rudy kind of characters, trying, hoping for one play, and he finally gets same. Whenthey're beat up on Nebraska last year,...

...pretty much a blow out, inthe fourth quarter, the special team guys calls his name and when he runsout 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 chasewhen of itch. Now at the doing the Patriots Big Defensive End. Hegoes out there and give them a chess bop. After the play, theirroommates. They run to the sideline. You Look Up, you see MattMitchell'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 alot of stories there. You just don't see a TV right, and it'sso 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 andhe just wanted to be out in that field and that that's such a greatstory and you know those are the things that he'll never forget. We're talkingabout Wolfe Ball. Will never forget some of those games. That couldn't neverforget that day. Oh, you're exactly right. And Look, you geta chance to hire one of those guys, do it, because that guy workswith Tailoff, can take orders and never gives up. No, guystend to do quite well, as you know from your experience at tell usa. The walk on him if you can, right, because they're thereto work, they want to be part of something bigger than them and theyunderstand what it takes to get there and they're going to do everything they canto try and get on that field. It transitions great into the business world. Exactly. Writing. Gusts, I guarantee everyone year old walk on teammatesand 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 thatone incident I had a DC. They probably try to forget me then. Well, let that go. Yeah, but even, you know, youcan even make the comparison to like baseball coaches. They're, you know, baseball managers. Some of the best ones were never very good players andsome of the best players didn't turn out to be very good managers, andit'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 anysupport 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 ofOhio and they've got the cradle coaches down there. Of course they got aon the back of their scoreboard, a mural of like flower. Thirteen guyswho played our coach there were now in the Hall of Fame For coaching.Are Parseigan what he hates? Paul Brown said, Gilman. The list islong and ridiculous. Bohm meckler and so on. John Harbaugh, Jim's brother, and I asked Bo about this once and I said, man, howcan you past explain how you guys and that small school have fourteen or whateverhall of fame coaches? Because they can? That's easy. We could not playthe 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 likeit. 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. Youknow, we asked him some questions and one of his every question is answerwas all about great and hard work and you know he's a Pittsburgh real guyand it was just it was just great here in his here in his takeon 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 aboutwhat? What he well, yeah, we asked him a little. Weasked him what what his biggest pet peeve was, and that took him uplike 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 forsomeone 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 photomentioned with Dana mcdaniel, Jim Harbaz, secretary, but jim talking. Lookabove that photo. The sign above Jim's door has two words. No whining, but bring me anything else. I'll listen. What a bitch. Gofind 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 noone knows. Yeah, the no whining Yo, whining student, no whiningzone. 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 wego 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'llask John Right off the bat. What's your biggest pet Peez, but it'shard to beat no bitching, isn't it? Yeah, no, we got abitch. 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. Ilike it. I like it all right. So, if you couldtrade places with one person, dead or live, who would it be?For One day? Wow, for one day, for one day, KenBurns, the filmmaker out of Ann Arbor to the baseball series, civil warand all the rest. If I could do one thing, that'd be it. Nice. Yeah, as a as a history pro like yourself, youmust really appreciate Ken Burns. Oh Yeah, and I know my little bit.He does have been very nice to me, but that guy kind ofremade the whole genre of documentary film. So now, of course, havingsaid that, I don't know damning about film, so it's not a verygood goal. Let's go. That's what you want to do. Somebody whodoes same thing as you well and a good point. It's only for dayto see can get away with it. Right. There you go for aday. If you could be commissioner of any league for one day, whatwould you implement? Oh it would be I'd be a commissioner of hockey andI go to Olympic size rinks because they're too big in the two fast andthere's no room. How about that? I like a good one. Yeah, I mean hockey. I love the speed, the game up scores manygoals, make it exciting. I mean it's still we get a lot ofthat, but when the game in hockey is it's like a long, slowbaseball game. It's tough sometimes. Yep, all right. Besides the big besidesthe big house, what's your favorite sports venue? I got a lotof them. How about for each sport, I would say outside the big house, except, of course, I love that beaber stadium at Penn Statefor a white out Saturday night. That is very hard to beat. That'sabout 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 ofconversation. Right. No, I get a lot. We get a lotof good reviews on Pittsburgh, but just you got you gotta have the winsthat 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? Youknow 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 stopyou 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. Allright, with two more for you. What's the most overrated thing in sportstoday? HMM, TV timeouts. Hate them. Stop that. So thatoverrated. 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'snot overrated, but it's overblown. That's got to stop right now. overrated. overrated? HMM, homefield advantage, I guess. overrated. You thinkso, even with Seventyzero or a hundred tenzero? Yeah, now, witha dumb answer. No, but I but I quickly, I quickly rescindit. No, but you know what, though, I think if you it'sstatistically, if you do a little research, it may be a littlebit overrated, like I think you know. I mean not with this the pointspread makes up for that, but if you're just talking about wins andlosses, there might be a little bit of overreading there. Yeah, Idon'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 justbecause you're, you know, for laws, not for nothing. Right, andof 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 guysright. But yes, but you are right. It doesn't matter, especiallyin certain sports. I think football play the most, where emotions amentum sucha big part of the game. No, I believe then. I think therewas something too about sleeping in your own bed compared to sleeping in ahotel. But it makes a big ACM. It's funny you said that, bythe way. I asked the players about this and they said being athome one of the big reasons why they love being at home. And theygo to the same hotel you've been going to for forty years. You stayin the same room every time, same roommate, same food, same allthe rooms. Is that it's like being at your home versus being at atsomeone else's house on the road. You had that hotel. Maybe you knowonce 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 thingis distorted in a way I had not really considered. So you know aboutthat, Guss, but I didn't.

Yeah, know that is that.I definitely agree with that. All right, last one here, John. Ifwe were scrolling to your phone, who's that most who's the most famousperson? We would find in your phone. Michael Jordan, that number on nolierworks all right, so we're going to put a little bit in yourphone. Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep but all right. So ifyou call them or you text them, they would answer. WHO's that mostfavorite for see you that? HMM. John Saunders, vspn. He andI did a book together three years ago before we passed away. Rich Eisenmight might qualify. If you text him, he will. He will text meback, especially during football games. Solid that is I like listen tohim a lot. So we really appreciate is there anything else you want totell us about overtime? And we'd love for you to give us a shoutout, you know, so that we can when we do your promos andstuff 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. Itis 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 librariescalled the number two best news football black out there. Number one isBob stoops that pastored right, written by gene what Jerhousi a great friend ofmine 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 Bakingcomand John You baking on twitter as well. Hey, we want to thank youfor joining us today on howdle up with guests, where we talked toa 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 wewant you to be able to follow us on all of our social media athuddle up with gusts and we really appreciate you and thank you for your timeand listening to our podcast.

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