Brandon's Blog: A Homecoming for U-M's Champions
MGOBLUE Mary (Fischbach) Bailey
MGOBLUE
Mary (Fischbach) Bailey
MGOBLUE

Oct. 3, 2013

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page, mgoblue.com/brandon, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

Homecoming weekends are special! It is a chance for alumni to enjoy a fun fall weekend at their alma mater. It is a time to reminisce, reconnect and rediscover their campus.

At Michigan, football has been an integral part of the festivities for well over a century. Saturday (Oct. 5) will mark the 113th homecoming game in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines host Minnesota, and this year we will step it up a notch by hosting the Weekend of Champions.

What better way to celebrate our athletic tradition than having our student-athlete alumni take center stage at Michigan Stadium as we recognize the Big Ten championship teams, national championship teams, and individual national champions on their 10th, 25th, 40th and 50th anniversaries.

This is the inaugural Weekend of Champions, and with our great athletic tradition it will be a special event. Teams throughout the years have used this weekend for their reunions, but it is time to acknowledge on a much larger stage those who have built this athletic program.

We will host a tailgate in Crisler Center on the Hall of Honor concourse Saturday from noon till 2:30 p.m. Then, the champions will be escorted into the Michigan Stadium tunnel and onto the field for a pregame "Parade of Champions" prior to the start of the football game.

The champions of yesteryear will enter the field, walk under the M Go Blue Banner, and be introduced to the sellout crowd. The former individual national champions will remain on the field and form their own tunnel on both sides of the banner. The new members of Michigan's elite fraternity of national champions from the 2012-13 season will enter the field and walk between the previous NCAA titleholders as they are welcomed into this prestigious fraternity. Throughout the history of U-M athletics, Wolverines have won 303 individual and relay national titles.

These individual accomplishments are impressive, but each singular achievement has an even more valuable reward: the success of "The Team, The Team, The Team."

Their teams, the Michigan teams, have won a total of 55 national championships.

In the Big Ten, the numbers are more impressive. The Wolverines have won 366 conference team titles, and they will more than likely reach the 400 mark before any other Big Ten team can win 300 championships. Illinois has the second-most conference titles with 237, and Ohio State has 206.

Those championships have been the foundation for the Michigan Athletic Department. It is the reason we need to celebrate those achievements.

These are the individuals who have enabled the motto "Leaders and Best" to endure.

Thank you to all our student-athletes who helped make this possible.

Go Blue!

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The following teams and individuals will be honored during the inaugural Weekend of Champions:

2003 Big Ten Champions
Women's Cross Country
Field Hockey
Football
Women's Gymnastics
Rowing
Men's Swimming & Diving
Women's Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor)
Water Polo (CWPA Southern Division)

1988 Big Ten Champions
Football (1989 Rose Bowl champions)
Women's Swimming & Diving
Men's Swimming & Diving
Men's Tennis

1973 Big Ten Champions
Football
Men's Gymnastics
Men's Tennis
Wrestling

1963 Big Ten Champions
Men's Track & Field (Indoor)
Wrestling

1963 Big Ten and National Champions
Men's Gymnastics

Individual National Champions
Andrew DiGiore (men's gymnastics), 2003
Jason Coben (men's diving), 2003
Nate Brannen (men's track), 2003
Ryan Bertin (wrestling), 2003
Brent Lang (men's swimming), 1988
Mary (Fischbach) Bailey (women's diving), 1988
John Scherer (men's track), 1988
Jarrett Hubbard (wrestling), 1973
Gil LaRose (men's gymnastics), 1963
Mike Henderson (men's gymnastics), 1963
Arno Lascari (men's gymnastics), 1963
Gary Erwin (men's gymnastics), 1963
Ed Bartsch (men's swimming), 1963
Jack Barden (wrestling), 1963

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