The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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������ where are they now? a string of questionable foul calls in three minutes ended the comeback, sending Michigan home. U-M was still loaded the following year, but when All-American forward Phil Hubbard blew out a knee playing overseas in the summer, the Wolverines struggled without him. They finished 16-11 and fourth in the Big Ten, with freshman Mike McGee leading the scoring and Staton averaging a career-best 7.9 points per game while leading the team in steals with 45. Hubbard, Staton���s roommate and good friend, returned in 1978 and averaged 14.8 points. He later became a first-round NBA draft pick and enjoyed a nice career in Cleveland, but he was never the same. ���Those people never saw the real Phil Hubbard,��� Staton said. ���His explosive jumping inside, the strength of his jump and quickness ��� that was what he did, along with shooting that sweet jumper. He was just such a special player. ���People who know how bad it was still don���t understand to this day how he was able to drag that leg around. He had that big old brace on his knee, but was able to drag it around for 15 [points] and 10 [rebounds per game] throughout his career.��� The 1977-78 Wolverines could have been special had Hubbard not gotten hurt, Staton insisted. Staton has spent the last 10 years running his own marketing consulting firm, CoreTech Marketing Group, and has dedicated time to coaching youth basketball. photo courtesy tom staton ���There was no question. We had guys like Joel Thompson, Mike McGee and Johnny Johnson,��� he said. ���We were loaded. They had to institute a run and gun Las Vegas game. Baxter and I had the ball in our hands, and we were running like crazy. It was a sight to see, fast and furious, but we would have been that much better with Phil.��� Staton struggled with asthma and bronchitis his senior year, scoring just 4.3 points per game. He recovered to spend a year in the CBA, giving up a potential overseas career to be closer to family. He then started his long and illustrious professional career with Detroit Edison, remaining there for 18 years as a marketer, business analyst and corporate trainer, among other duties. Staton has spent the last 10 years running his own marketing consulting firm, CoreTech Marketing Group, providing consulting and several other services. A gifted speaker, he specializes in high performance team building, problem solving and more, having worked with Detroit���s major utilities, the automotive Big Three, the Detroit Medical Center and others. He���s also doing his ���Coach Carter thing��� as the head coach at Ferndale and has dedicated much of his time over the years to coaching on the AAU circuit and running summer camps, as well. From time to time, he���ll bump into someone who remembers him for his accomplishments on some of U-M���s best-ever teams. ���Just recently I had someone introduced to me and he said, ���Are you the Tom Staton?������ he recalled with a laugh. ���It���s nice to be remembered ��� I���d do it all over again.��� ��� ��� The Tom Staton File Michigan Accomplishments: Michigan captain, 1978���79 season ��� Three-year starter ��� Was the spark that led the Wol��� verines to the NCAA title game in his freshman year, coming off the bench to help lead wins over Wichita State and Notre Dame ��� One of the team���s top defensive players over his fouryear career ��� Averaged a career high 7.9 points per game and led the team in steals with 45 as a junior ��� Earned most im��� proved player award in 1976 and best defender honor in 1978. Michigan Memory: Michigan coaches Johnny Orr and Bill Frieder weren���t the only ones who coveted Staton when he was preparing for college. Indiana head coach Bobby Knight, for one, spent a day in the Statons��� home. ���I was supposed to be the one to take over for Quinn Buck��� ner, but when Bob came into my house ��� my dad was a pas��� tor,��� Staton recalled with a laugh. Knight made his presentation the way he always did ��� with plenty of energy and colorful language. ���My parents said, ���Mr. Knight, thank you very much.��� As soon as he walked out the door they said to me, ���You don���t want to go play there, do you?������ Staton recalled. ���But I remember one of the papers asked where I was going, and I said, ���I can���t go to Michigan because my girlfriend is going there, and we���re not going to the same college.��� Bill Frieder about had a heart attack. ���But it happened that my dad, a fire chief, had gone to fire college back in the ���40s when he was at Michigan, and he had a dream. He tells this story when he was at the table with Orr, Frieder and me about how he was in the Michigan Union, and they had the big wooden tables back then ��� how he saw all these names of great athletes carved into the table, and how it had always been his dream that one of his sons of a poor old fireman and preacher would go to the University of Michigan, the finest school in the country. ���He turned to me and said, ���If you don���t do anything else for me, son, I may not live to see it��� ��� and let me tell you, Coach Orr and Coach Frieder were smiling from ear to ear.��� Current Occupation: President and senior consultant at CoreTech Marketing Group, Staton has assisted numerous corporations in preparing their leaders and employees for the challenges of the new global-digital marketplace. Education: Staton graduated with a degree in communica��� tions in 1980. Family: Staton married his high school sweetheart, the for��� mer Wanda Scott, in 1983. They reside in Southfield, Mich., and have one son, Tom, who plays basketball at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. NOVEMBER 2011��� ������ the wolverine��� 113

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