The Wolverine

April 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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18 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2019 BY CHRIS BALAS T hirty years ago this March, Michigan basketball made an improbable run to its first (and still only) national cham- pionship. Days before the Wolverines embarked upon their six-game, three- week journey, head coach Bill Frieder left to take the job at Arizona State, at which point athletics director Bo Schembechler relieved him of his du- ties with his now legendary words: "A Michigan man will coach Michi- gan." That man, assistant Steve Fisher, led the Wolverines to the title, later had his interim tag removed and brought U-M to two more Final Fours before being let go in 1998. Most assumed Fisher would never return. He even admitted "San Diego is now home" when asked if he'd been back to Ann Arbor. Current head coach John Beilein, however, insisted his friend be a part of the ceremony to honor the team Fisher coached to the 1989 national championship. "One of my first Nike trips I was ever on, I was the coach at Canisius — it must have been the early 1990s — and there he is," Beilein recalled. "I was like, 'Wow. They won the national championship, and he's got tremen- dous teams.' We actually struck up a relationship by the pool. He probably doesn't remember it. "I was talking, and he was so nice to me. Ever since we have stayed in touch when we'd see each other on the road. He always remembered my name." Fisher called him within weeks after he learned Beilein would be the next Michigan coach. "He was so complimentary," Beilein remembered. "When you've coached as long as he and I have, you have spe- cial moments with your teams. "Thirty years later you see these men COMING HOME Michigan Celebrates The 30th Anniversary Of The 1989 National Champions

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