Sept. 15, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Six former Wolverines were inducted into the University of Michigan Men's Track & Field Hall of Fame on Friday (Sept. 14), joining the 69 other members who have been inducted since 2006. The Class of Fall 2012 included Howard Hoffman (1920-22), Edwin Russell (1930-32), Mamon Gibson (1957-59), John Mann (1970-72), Steve Adams (1971-74) and Gerard Donakowski (1981-83).
Gibson, Mann, Adams and Donakowski were each in attendance to accept their induction. Several other men's track and field alums, family and friends also attended to share the special moment, as well as the current men's track and field team, coaches and staff.
Each of the inductees in attendance commented on the great honor and their memories of their Michigan experience.
Mamon Gibson, 1959, Pole Vault
"It's one of the high points of my life. When I was here I used to see, in the old field house, the pictures of these guys that I looked up to. And when I was elected captain my senior year, I thought I had reached the peak, but this really topped it. I was dumbfounded when I got the letter. The nice thing about it, as many of the guys said, is that the educational preparation we had here prepared us to do almost anything. Just saying that you graduated from Michigan, people are blown away. I was the first generation from my family to graduate from college. The education here was one of those things that was out of this world."
John Mann, 1972, High Jump
"The team was what was most important to me -- the relationship with the guys. You could ask me about specific track meets and I probably couldn't tell you anything, but I can tell you about experiences we had as teammates and those are what's important. We get together every year, a bunch of us, to go to a football game just to enjoy each other and that's what's fun. That's what I've been telling the current guys -- the track is wonderful and the competition is great, but what you get to do is you get to meet some really good guys and share something with them and that lasts forever. This event was special, of course you feel special, I mean how many athletes have they had at the University of Michigan. Of course it's a wonderful thing. Just like when I was here before, today was fun."
Steve Adams, 1984, Throws
"It's maybe one of the, if not the most important thing I've been involved with. Just because as I said, my life philosophy is very simple -- 'Know thy self.' As a society we've gotten away from that -- we know Brad Pitt and we know Rihanna, but we should really take that time to know ourselves. If you know yourself, if you know what makes you happy, what makes you unhappy, what you don't like to do, what you don't like to do, but you have to do, it's important. Being a Wolverine, as I said when I spoke, the discipline and focus I got from my classes and my sports activities here have grown over the years. I'm proud of that and very, very grateful for it."
Gerard Donakowski, 1983, Distance
"It means a lot more than I thought it would to tell you the truth. I didn't really know much about the Hall of Fame since I live in Colorado. My brother was inducted, but only once I started thinking about all the things that happened in my career, going through my old running journals, it really brought back some great memories and life lessons that I learned, which were very valuable to me. I realized that it's a very elite crew. I like the fact that these current athletes are reading my journals that I brought back, so if I can in some way pass the torch and help people, that's the most important thing."