The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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78 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Bowls, beating USC 22‑14 when An‑ derson was a redshirt freshman. A year later, they lost to the Trojans 17‑10 in a highly controversial ending that tainted Bo Schembechler's final game as head coach. Beyond the numbers, Anderson re‑ calls the feeling. He remembers the an‑ ticipation of what would unfold every single season. "I just remember the camaraderie," he recalled. "I remember the desire, the commonality that we had. I remember the high expectations. When I played, we went into every season with the expectation of greatness. "It was not a cockiness. Some people from the outside may look at it and say it was arrogance, but it really wasn't arrogance. It was just a calm confidence in knowing we were preparing as well, if not better, than everybody else in the country. We fully expected to be com‑ peting for the Big Ten championship." They did more than compete. "I'm fortunate enough to have played for an amazing group of Michi‑ gan Men," Anderson assured. "We won four Big Ten championships in a row, three outright. It really was a great stretch. "We really lived through The Team, The Team, The Team. That was a mantra that we truly believed in. My senior year, with Desmond [Howard] win‑ ning the Heisman and me winning the Butkus, that was not a typical Michigan year. "I did not go into that season, nor did Desmond, with a goal or a thought of those individual accomplishments. That was stuff that took place because we were an amazing team." They continued with strong squads in the absence of Schembechler, who retired as head coach on the urging of his doctors. Hearing his head coach call it a career might have been the hardest hit Anderson absorbed over the course of five seasons in Ann Arbor. "It was bittersweet," he said. "Look‑ ing back on it, you get to talk about the historical significance of being there, in the room, when Bo Schembechler came in and announced to the team that he was not going to be coming back, that the Rose Bowl was going to be the last game he would coach. "It was very emotional. The vast ma‑ jority of us were in shock. We knew nothing of Michigan without Bo. We knew it was going to be in good hands — we had all the confidence in Coach [Gary] Moeller — but it was not going to be Bo. "That was very difficult. It was very difficult, at that time, to make that tran‑ sition. Michigan football, for me, was Bo Schembechler. He was the reason why I went to Michigan." Anderson grew up in Chicago, the son of a man who played football at Northwestern. All the younger Ander‑ son knew about Michigan growing up involved the Wolverines beating up on the Wildcats each season. The recruiting process introduced him to Schembechler, and the coach became Michigan to Anderson before his horizons broadened upon arrival in Ann Arbor. He still describes Schem‑ bechler's departure as "life changing." "Years later, I had the opportunity to talk to Bo," Anderson said. "I'd joke around and let him know how mad I was at him. He'd say, 'Why are you mad at me?' I'd say, 'You promised me if I were the type of player that you thought I was, you could see me being a captain for you.' "He says, 'Well, you were a captain.' I'd say, 'Yeah, I was a captain at Michi‑ gan, but I was not a Bo Schembechler captain. There is a difference.' For me, there was a difference. "Don't get me wrong. It's the greatest honor I've ever had the opportunity to enjoy, to wear that title. To be a captain at Michigan is the greatest honor that I earned. But again, there's a difference between being a Michigan captain and a Michigan captain playing under Bo Schembechler." Anderson is now coaching in a way that would make Schembechler beam with pride. It's still about The Team and becoming the best you can be. ❏ Michigan Accomplishments: Butkus Award winner as the nation's best line‑ backer in 1991 … Played on four Big Ten championship teams and three Rose Bowl squads from 1988‑91 … Third‑leading tackler in Michigan football history with 428 … The only player in Michigan football history to lead the team in tack‑ ling four straight years … Served as a captain in 1991. Michigan Memory: "The first time we clinched a Rose Bowl berth, my sopho‑ more year, stands out. We actually clinched the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl berth against Illinois. That was significant for me, being somebody that grew up in Illinois. "When I was recruited to go to Michigan, that saying — 'Those Who Stay Will Be Champions' — meant that everybody that ever played for Bo Schembechler won a Big Ten championship. I was part of that continuation. The classes behind me, the class above me, we had done it as well. "We were part of that family. We stayed, and we won a Big Ten championship. We continued that tradition." Professional Accomplishments: Selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round of the 1992 NFL Draft … Enjoyed a brief NFL career with the Chiefs and the Washington Redskins before closing out his pro efforts … Teaches adapted physical education at Shaker Heights High School in Ohio, and works with FIT (Fitness In Teams, LLC). Education: Earned BGS degree in 1994 from the University of Michigan. Family: Wife, Hilary (a former field hockey player at Michigan), and daughters Kendal (21, and a senior field hockey player at Michigan State) and Kasidy (19, and a sophomore on a full‑ride ice hockey scholarship at Northeastern University in Boston). The Erick Anderson File Anderson was a part of four Big Ten cham- pionship teams and capped his career by winning the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker in 1991. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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