The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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4 THE WOLVERINE ❱ SEPTEMBER 2023 I n the spring of 1989, Jeff Long, whom I had be- friended when he worked in the recruiting office at NC State and was then an assis- tant to Michigan head football coach and athletics director Bo Schembechler, called us to see if we wanted to bid on producing a book covering the school's national champion- ship in basketball. We didn't get the project, but the U-M athletics depart- ment was looking for a com- pany to produce a publication covering its sports program (two other attempts had failed) — and with Jeff's input, they picked us. While the school would not be involved with the publica- tion financially, they would help promote it by giving us one-time access to the U-M Alumni Association member mailing list of 50,000 names and having Schembechler write a letter endorsing the magazine. We published our first is- sue prior to the 1989 season opener against Notre Dame, received permission to put 10,000 cop- ies under the wipers of the cars parked for the game and arranged for a group of Boy Scouts to help with the distribu- tion. Then it rained on game day, ruining our plans. However, the mailing was a huge success, generating over 3,000 orders in a month and completely over- whelming our one-person customer service staff. We had optimistically predicted that we could reach 12,000 subscriptions to The Wolverine and prior to joining in 2000 and starting The- website, we had over 17,000 subscribers. Major keys to our success have been the support we received from the ath- letics department and the tireless ef- forts of our talented staffs. I wasn't the talent — I hired the talent and tried to support them. Knowing that any listing I make will be incomplete, here are some of the people to whom I'm most grateful for their contributions to The Wolverine and throughout the last 34-plus years: • Mark Schmetzer — The first editor of The Wolverine was also the editor of Reds Report, our publication covering the Cincinnati Reds. Mark got us off to an excellent start and then moved back to his hometown of Cincinnati after two years. • John Borton — We hired John in the sum- mer of 1991, and he's been the editor and very respected voice of The Wolverine ever since. John is the best pure writer we have ever had at our small publishing company, a master of the meta- phor and rock-solid dependable. • Chris Balas — Chris started with us on a part- time basis in 1997 and then joined us full-time in 2002 to manage our web- site in the Rivals network. He brings his unmatched passion for Michigan football, basketball, recruiting and other sports into everything he does for us. His efforts have helped make one of the best college team websites. • Michael Spath — Michael de- veloped into an outstanding writer/ reporter combination for us during his 14 years at The Wolverine. He ran his own sports radio show for years and now works for the Kapnick Insurance Group in Ann Arbor. • Paul Dodd — When we hired John, we also added Paul. His enthusiasm and energy helped build The Wolver- ine into one of the best team-specific college sports publications in the country. • Bob Abramson — Bob capably replaced Paul. While he struggled early with the demands of publishing a then-weekly magazine during foot- ball season, he never gave up. Several years later, he breezed through law school (he was used to working hard) and now practices law in the Ann Arbor-Detroit area. • Josh Helmholdt — Josh kept us at the top in covering Michigan recruit- ing for over seven years. noticed and hired him away to cover Midwest recruiting for the network, which he now manages. • Lon Horwedel and Per Kjeldsen — Lon and Per have been providing quality photography for The Wolverine and our football preview magazines for decades. It's been a joy to work with them. • Doug Karsch — Doug started out writing a column for us while he was working at WTKA, a radio station in Ann Arbor. A tremendous talent, he moved on to a radio station in Detroit and is now the play-by-play announcer for Michigan football games. He continues to contribute his thoughts on the football team to The Wolverine and • Ryan Tice — Ryan started with us as an intern when he was in college at NC State, joined us full-time after he graduated and eventually took over as the managing editor of The Wolverine and His love of sports, high-level editing and strong work ethic helped keep both properties at a top level. When I sold the com- pany to On3 in November 2021, they moved Ryan to Nashville, Tenn., to help run their network of LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER ❱ STU COMAN Goodbye (Sort Of), And Go Blue! The first issue of The Wolverine was published prior to the 1989 season opener with Notre Dame, with Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler on the cover. This September 2023 issue is the 679th edition of the magazine.

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