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Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

The private jet eased onto the airstrip at Detroit Metro Airport, just a few miles from where Charles Lindbergh once tested World War II bombers.

This plane’s mission wasn’t nearly so serious.  But the joy it gave to the people below might have exceeded just about everything since VJ Day.

The jet’s cargo was James Joseph Harbaugh.  He’s just a football coach, but he was doing exactly what many experts said he would never do: leave the bright lights of the NFL for the college towns of the Big Ten.  This decision – mystifying to most NFL reporters -- explains why the masses might be forgiven if they mistook Harbaugh for their savior. 

But why did Harbaugh do it? 

MGoBlog

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that forbids athletes at public universities in Michigan from organizing a union. It was one of 17 bills signed today by the governor.

The university athlete bill is an effort to preempt what happened at Northwestern University in Illinois, where football players at the private college voted last spring to form a union. There was no known similar effort at a Michigan university.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Jim Harbaugh displayed a ready wit, apologized for some past mistakes, and refused to guarantee a win over Ohio State at his first press conference as head coach for the University of Michigan football program.

The former San Francisco 49ers head coach and U of M star quarterback says he's dreamed about the job ever since he was a ball boy for the team, who once sat down at Bo Schembechler's desk and put his feet up on it.

Now the coach's desk – and team – are his.

Archimedo / Wikimedia commons

With snowfall in much of Michigan in November, ski areas got an early start to the season.

“When it’s cold and snowy people go into the retail stores and buy things. So the retail sales were up early this year and our ski areas were able to open early. So yes it was a real, real good start,” said Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

She says there are a little more than 100 days, on average, that Michigan ski areas are open each winter. 

Michigan ski areas have been investing to make improvements on the slopes.

MGoBlog

An analysis by Forbes' Chris Smith values the University of Michigan's football program at $117 million - behind Notre Dame ($122 million) and the Texas Longhorns ($131 million).

Football teams are school entities, so they can't be bought or sold. Smith calculates the value of the program on four things:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Brady Hoke grew up in Ohio, graduated from Ball State, and started his coaching career at Yorktown High in Indiana. He is a football man, through and through.

In 1995, Hoke began an eight-year stint assisting Michigan, a run that included the Wolverines’ first national title since 1948. The coaches and players loved the guy. 

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes wrote today: "Another longtime CEO with scant athletic experience beyond his playing days is looking for yet another football coach at the University of Michigan."

Brady Hoke.
User MGoBlog / Flickr

Brady Hoke is now the former head football coach for the University of Michigan.

Hoke's meeting with interim AD Jim Hackett produced the firing that so many fans expected and demanded.

Brady Hoke.
User MGoBlog / Flickr

Update: 6:00 p.m.

This was not an easy choice.

That's what interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett told reporters at the press conference earlier today after announcing that he'd fired head coach Brady Hoke. 

Michigan Wolverines vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
MGoBlue / flickr.com

This Saturday brings one of the deepest, most storied rivalries in all of college sports: Michigan versus Ohio State, as the Wolverines head to Columbus. Bruce Geelhoed is a history professor at Ball State University. He's the author Bump Elliott: The Michigan Wolverines and Their Championship Football Season. 

The book looks at the 1964 season, and Geelhoed says the U of M-Ohio State game was important for both teams, as it would decide the Big Ten championship for that year. Geelhoed notes that Ohio State had been on a winning streak the previous decade, making this a must-win game for Michigan to reassert its claim as a strong team in the rivalry.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This is shaping up to be a disappointing season for firearm deer hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

An early-season storm and lake effect combined to dump more than three feet of snow in parts of the U.P. last week. 

Russ Mason is the chief of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division. He says the deep snow is preventing hunters from reaching deer in the U.P.

“You would need a four-wheeler with tracks or a snow machine, and guys just aren’t prepared for that,” says Mason. “I expect the U.P. numbers are going to be way down this year.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tens of thousands of deer hunters are in Michigan’s woods and fields this weekend.

Michigan’s firearms deer season started today.

Russ Mason is the chief of the wildlife division of the Michigan DNR. He says the herd is still recovering from a virus that killed thousands of deer in 2012.

“(Bow) hunters are having pretty good reports seeing bigger bucks than they expected to see otherwise,” says Mason.

Hockey net.
Dean Michaud / Flickr

It’s been a sad week for the University of Michigan hockey program.  Last Friday, Michigan’s first three-time All-American, Wally Grant, passed away, at 86.  Then on Monday, Grant’s teammate, Al Renfrew, who went on to coach the team for 16 years, died at 89.  These two men made great contributions to Michigan hockey’s unequaled tradition.

During World War II, the fortunes of a college hockey team didn’t amount to a hill of beans.  The able-bodied were fighting in Europe and Asia, so Michigan’s roster shrunk.  So did the schedule, from 20 games to eight.  From 1940 to 1943, the Wolverines won exactly five games - total.  The next year, a local newspaper warned, “Michigan May Remove Hockey From Athletic Program.” 

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined us in the studio today to analyze what happened in Michigan sports this week.

You can listen to our conversation with him below:


Dan4th Nicholas / Flickr

Look around the crowd at any Red Wings game. You’ll see plenty of fans wearing the #24 jersey, even though it’s been more than five years since Hall of Famer  Chris Chelios skated for the Wings.

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock calls him “the greatest American player of all time.”

Now we learn what his storied career was like from Number 24 himself: Chris Chelios’ memoir is titled "Made In America." Listen to Chelios discuss his memoir below. 


Courtesy photo / Steelcase

On Nov. 17, 2006, Bo Schembechler died. He was 77.

For Michigan fans, the bad news hasn’t ended. Second-ranked Michigan lost the next day’s game to top-ranked Ohio State, missing a shot at a national title. Then the Wolverines lost the next three straight, including the historic upset by Appalachian State. That was followed by Rich Rodriguez’s troubled three-year run, and now almost four years of Brady Hoke. After Hoke’s honeymoon season in 2011, the program has been sliding steadily downhill.

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As virtually anyone who follows college sports knows by now, Dave Brandon is now the former Athletic Director at the University of Michigan.

Retired Steelcase executive Jim Hackett is the interim AD as the University searches for Brandon's permanent replacement.

When it comes to hires like these, the phrase "Michigan Man"comes up again and again.

Dave Brandon played for Bo. He seemed to fit the template of a "Michigan Man."

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon gives us his insight into what that phrase means.

You can hear our conversation with Bacon below:


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Major renovations to Lansing’s downtown baseball stadium are costing more than expected.

City officials recently learned the renovations to the nearly 20-year-old ballpark would cost $3 million more than expected.

Bob Trezise is the president of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. He says the problem is that the economy is getting better.

“The economy is rebounding and there aren’t enough construction firms and construction workers,” says Trezise. “So I think all construction projects are facing this ordeal right now.”

Dave Brandon, for better or worse, was tied to his hire as Michigan football head coach, Brady Hoke.
Adam Glanzman / Flickr

The University of Michigan's Athletic Director, David Brandon, has resigned.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel made the announcement this afternoon at a press conference. Schlissel said Brandon told him about his decision to resign on Wednesday (Oct. 29). Schlissel said the terms and conditions of Brandon's departure will be released later today. 

People in Brandon's position always have their critics, but the severe storm around Brandon grew over the last several weeks.

Gordie Howe's Hockey Card at age 43.
Trish Thornton / Flickr

You don’t have to know much about hockey to know about Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe. 

This week, we learned his family is “expecting the worst.”  With his days numbered, you’ll be reading a lot about Howe’s hockey heroics.  He set just about every NHL scoring record, and a dozen still stand.  One of the most impressive: he finished in the top five for scoring for two straight decades.

He played in the NHL at 18, and at 51. 

Howe’s heyday paralleled his team’s, and his town’s.

The Wings were a dynasty, winning four Stanley Cups, and nine regular season titles.  No team symbolized the Motor City’s might like the Red Wings. 

G.P. Putnam & Sons

DETROIT (AP) - Hockey great Gordie Howe has lost some function on the right side of his body after having a stroke Sunday in Texas.

  Howe's daughter Cathy says the 86-year-old Detroit Red Wings legend has lost much use of his right arm and right leg. Howe suffered the stroke in Lubbock, Texas, where his daughter lives.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan athletic director is slashing student ticket prices for next fall’s football season.

U of M students were in near revolt earlier this fall, not only because of the school’s struggling football team, but also the higher prices they had to pay to watch a game at the Big House.   

The athletic department has agreed to slash prices for next season.  

The price for a student ticket package for all seven home games next fall will cost a third less than this year. The school’s also working on reduced pricing for students with financial need.

User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

 

 

The spotlight this week is on one of the deepest college rivalries in sports: Michigan vs. Michigan State.

The Wolverines will travel to Spartan Stadium this Saturday.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says the game means "survival" for Michigan. "Michigan has lost 6 out of the last 7 to the 'little brother' -- by the way, calling them little brother gets a bit old when they keep kicking your butt."

But, as Bacon explains, Spartans are just as hungry for this game as the Wolverines. The rivalry is so personal that people from outside the state sometimes don't get it. Plus, if they win this weekend, Spartans will have a real shot for the Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl berth, and even the national title.

High contact sports pose risk of drug, alcohol use in teens

Oct 23, 2014
Chris Seward / Flickr Creative Commons

Many parents believe participation in any competitive sport will keep their teenage child from smoking or drinking.  But according to a new  study, they may be in for a disappointment.

A University of Michigan study reports that teens who play sports like  football, wrestling, hockey or lacrosse, are more likely to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or marijuana than students who play tennis, run track or swim.

Michigan Athletic Director, David Brandon.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan Board of Regents is meeting today at 3 p.m. in Flint.

It's a safe bet that one of the big issues on their agenda is the future of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says it's "90% clear where this is going to be headed."

Brandon and U-M Coach Brady Hoke came under fire when sophomore quarterback Shane Morris was allowed to play after he was injured in last month's game against Minnesota.

Morris was later diagnosed with a concussion. 

Bacon says the regents will have influence over a decision on Brandon, but it's U of M President Mark Schlissel who will have the final say. 

Schlissel turned up at football practice a week ago; Bacon says that rarely happens. It shows the issue is on the president's radar, and Schlissel is known for his emphasis on student experience – including the experience of student athletes.

It was a cold, wet night at the Spartan Stadium last Saturday.
User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

If you've forked over money for a ticket to a football game, do you have a responsibility to stay there until the end of the game? 

If you are a student, sitting in the student section at a Michigan State Football game, the answer seems to be yes, you do.

Coach Mark Dantonio and Spartan Athletic Director Mark Hollis have been very clear: They were disappointed in seeing so many fans leave early last Saturday night against Nebraska.

There were nearly 76,000 in the crowd at the start of the game, and there were plenty of empty seats by the end, when MSU nearly lost the game. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s another post season disappointment for the Detroit Tigers.

The fall air seemed to chill the Tigers' bats Sunday and a late rally in the ninth inning just wasn’t enough.

Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz sliced a two-run homer for his latest big postseason hit, and the Baltimore Orioles swept aside Detroit's Cy Young Award winners to hold off the Tigers 2-1 Sunday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the University of Michigan is taking precautions to avoid a repeat of the mistakes that allowed a Wolverine football player with a concussion to re-enter a game last week.

U of M plans to have more eyes on the field during this weekend’s football game against Rutgers.

Last week, quarterback Shane Morris suffered a concussion late in the game against Minnesota. But while the television audience saw the hit that left Morris dazed, none of U of M's coaches or medical staff saw it or took action.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan students are demanding top athletic department officials be fired, in the wake of the football program’s concussion controversy.

Hundreds of U of M students chanted “Fire Brandon” during a rally on the Ann Arbor campus tonight.   Brandon is Dave Brandon, U of M’s athletic director.

The students are upset about many things, from the latest concussion controversy to the cost of tickets. Many students are also dissatisfied with the Wolverine football program’s disappointing season. 

Pascrell office

The University of Michigan’s concussion controversy has reached the halls of Congress.

A New Jersey congressman wants the Big Ten conference to investigate the University of Michigan’s compliance with its own head injury protocols.

The university is under fire for allowing a player return to the field during a football game Saturday after he suffered a mild concussion. Quarterback Shane Morris appeared to be dazed after a hard hit in the second half of the game against Minnesota. 

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