Nov. 27, 2013
At the Michigan vs. Ohio State football game on Saturday (Nov. 30), the U-M Athletic Department will honor three individuals who are retiring after building iconic careers with the Maize and Blue: Jon Falk, Bruce Madej and Frank Beckmann.
After 40 years, Falk will retire as head equipment manager following the 2013 football season. Madej, who was U-M's sports information director from 1982-2010 and is now associate athletic director for special projects, will retire June 30, 2014, after 34 years of service. And Beckmann, the voice of Michigan football, will retire at the end of this season after 33 years in the radio booth.
MGoBlue.com will recognize each of these men in the days leading up the "Big Game," starting with Madej's top personal moments of his career. Look for Beckmann's top memories on Friday (Nov. 29) and a feature on Falk on game day (Nov. 30).
After U-M won the 2005 NCAA softball title, I helped plan and work the ceremony honoring the team. It was a day that allowed me to sit back and watch Carol Hutchins and her team enjoy a ceremony that can only be described in one way -- this is what college athletics should be all about. I will never forget the faces on the team, the coaches and their friends and fans. And I was able to sit back and take it all in.
Not only did U-M win the 1994 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track Championships, I was asked to be the PA announcer for the event, and I had so much fun interacting with all the conference coaches and our team. Then to spend time with my good friends, champion coaches Jack Harvey and Ron Warhurst, turned it into an unforgettable weekend.
Doing the play-by-play broadcasts for Michigan basketball and ice hockey. I had so much fun doing the games with analyst Dugan Fife for basketball and Jim Schneider in hockey. My most memorable moment was a Michigan-Notre Dame NIT game in South Bend. Fife got so excited on a play, he smacked me upside the head, knocked the headphones onto the court, and I had to try and get them back quickly while the game was being played. And hockey, hearing Schneids talk about building blocks became a joke he and I still talk about to this day.
U-M winning the NCAA Ice Hockey Championship in Cincinnati in 1996 was amazing fun. I had our two oldest boys (Mike and John) with me on the trip. Everything from the first media party, to the ice issues in the semifinal game between Colorado College and Vermont, and then winning in OT was amazing.
The "Big Chill" hockey extravaganza at Michigan Stadium was a great four weeks for me. I was able to work with the Discovery Channel, got to know the company putting down the ice, was one of the first people on the ice (with my wife Suzette, who was the first woman on the ice at Michigan Stadium), got to play a game at the Big House and then watch U-M beat Michigan State in front of the largest crowd in hockey history.
Working with the Fab Five over the two seasons was amazing. It was like travelling with The Beatles. After a game at Wisconsin, Steve Fisher, Perry Watson, Brian Dutcher and the managers had to literally hold hands and form a "flying wedge" to get the guys to the bus after the game.
Charles Woodson winning the Heisman Trophy has to be one of the most exciting days of my career. Peyton Manning was "supposed" to win it, and when they announced Woodson it was special. The entire Manning family and UT entourage walked out of the New York Downtown Athletic Club with a look of absolute disbelief; it was a moment I will never forget.
Desmond Howard's Heisman Trophy pose after his punt return TD against Ohio State was one of those days you would never forget. We pretty much knew he was going to be the runaway Heisman winner at this point, and the pose put an exclamation point on it. And then to have Desmond win the Heisman and everything that went along with it was the icing on the cake.
The 1989 NCAA Basketball Championship is No. 2 on the list. The entire NCAA run, coaching change, and everything that went along with it made one of the most exciting three weeks of my life. It can't be explained in a paragraph -- maybe a book.
Best day of my U-M career: Jan. 1, 1998, U-M wins the Rose Bowl and all but clinches its first football national championship since 1948. The weather was picture perfect, and it was a special day, from the Rose Bowl Parade through the evening, that I was able to share with my Michigan friends and immediate family.