The Wolverine

November 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NOVEMBER 2020 THE WOLVERINE 53   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? "Next thing you know, they were getting up and they were ready to fist- fight over that chair. Ben says, 'Let's go out in the hallway,' and Floyd says okay. Luckily enough, Coach Carr was walking out of his office right at that time, so it got broken up. "I was like, man, we're ready to go this year." Go they did, undefeated through 12 games. Many recount the Iowa comeback that year, the dominating "Judgment Day" victory over Penn State, and the feeling of standing on the Rose Bowl turf after clinching an undefeated season and a national title. Schanski's mind drifts back to the 20-14 fistfight over Ohio State of end the regular season. "We won the Big Ten, the fans were rushing on the field," he said. "It was just that perfect fall day. I remem- ber a million times as a kid, watch- ing Michigan wrap up the Big Ten against Ohio State. The sky was all gray, it was flurrying a little bit. "I was like, 'Holy cow, this is what I dreamed about growing up. It's happening now, and I'm out here.'" Twenty years later, when the na- tional championship team reconvened in Ann Arbor, the glow hadn't faded. "I still talk to all my buddies regu- larly," Schanski said. "But the guys you hadn't seen in a long time, it was like we never left. I told my wife when we left that weekend, that was one of my favorite weekends I've ever had in my life. "Getting back with the guys, all the stories we talked about … it was like a warp in time." Lloyd Carr offered Schanski a move to the defensive secondary the following year. He took it, seeing more playing time and working his way into the two-deep. He didn't hesitate when asked to do his part. "I never had any second thoughts about it," Schanski said. "If Coach Carr asked me to do it, I was going to do it." Schanski thought the Wolverines were going to do it in his fifth-year senior season. That's do it, as in win another national title. People don't realize how close they were in 1999, he insists. Only back-to-back narrow losses to Michigan State (34-31) and Illinois (35-29) kept the Wolverines from run- ning the table. "I thought our team my senior year was just as good as our national championship team," Schanski said. "That was a bummer." He'd have gone 4-0 in his playing years against MSU, but for the defeat in '99. "Losing to those bums my senior year was a crushing blow," Schanski insisted. Then it happened again, a week later. "I still don't know how we blew that game, but we just played like crap in the second half," Schanski said. "Peo- ple don't realize — if we would have won that Illinois game, we would have had everything in front of us." The Wolverines bounced back to fin- ish with consecutive wins over Penn State, Ohio State and a loaded Ala- bama squad in the 2000 Orange Bowl. "That Alabama team was one of the best teams we ever played at Michigan," Schanski stressed. "The [missed] extra point? I don't care. We beat them." They should have beaten every- one, Schanski insisted, with another strong defense and Tom Brady at the QB helm. "Everybody's always like, 'Aw nobody ever knew that Tommy was going to do what he did,'" Schanski said. "I tell people, 'Obviously, no. We didn't know he was going to end up being the best football player that ever lived.' "You can't say you knew that. But all of us guys — especially the older guys — we knew Tommy was 'The Man.'" Schanski became the financial man after graduating just before that Or- ange Bowl. He worked for AXA Ad- visors, before moving on to Seneca Financial for the past seven years. He also coaches wide receivers and handles a couple of special teams for Haslett High, passing on what he learned from his father — head coach at Perry High for 23 years — and at Michigan. "I absolutely love it," Schanski said. "I started being the ball boy at Perry when I was in first grade. I was the little kid that, if we got beat on Friday, I was bawling my eyes out and my dad was having to console me. "I grew up around football my whole life." ❏ The Tate Schanski File Michigan Accomplishments: Performed on the 1997 Michigan national cham- pionship team … Scored a touchdown late in U-M's 38-3 win over Baylor in '97 … Played running back for three years, and defensive back his final two. Professional Accomplishments: Began working as a financial advisor right out of Michigan for AXA Advisors … Has worked for Seneca Financial for the past seven years … Served as an assistant football coach at Haslett High school the past seven years. Michigan Memory: "It's the whole experience of playing football at Michigan, es- pecially with Coach [Lloyd] Carr as our head coach. He reinforced all the important things in life, not just football. Always play for your team first. Always work as hard as you can. Don't complain. If you want something, go get it. If you're not getting it, work harder to go get it. And the friendship I had with all the guys. We all knew what it was like going through that as a team, and you just have a bond with those guys. You can't replicate it." Education: Earned a Bachelor's degree in organizational studies in December 1999. Family: He and his wife, Keely, have three kids: son Trajen (T.J.), 16; daughter Sen- eca, 14; and son Baylor, 12. After graduation, Schanski — seen here with his family — began working as a finan- cial advisor and also followed in his father's footsteps as a high school football coach. PHOTO COURTESY TATE SCHANSKI

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