THEY WILL BE MISSED
This has been a tough week for me.
Two of my guys died.
One guy you heard of. The other guy you may not have heard of.
Former Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham is known as a marketing genius. He is credited with making Michigan football games the place to be for more than 100,000 folks each weekend. But here is something you don't know about Canham.
He was one of my biggest boosters. I don't know why. But he often called, giving me tips on stories.
He always denied it but I believe Canham was responsible for one of the biggest breaks in my career.
I was the Michigan football writer at the Free Press when Bo Schembechler was on the downside of his football career. There were rumors he was going to become Michigan's Athletic Director. Out of the blue a Michigan booster began calling me. He walked me toward every step during the process and I was ahead of everybody in this breaking story.
I know Canham had this guy call me. He said it is not true.
But thanks any way big fella".
Walter Grable is a guy you may not have heard about. A number of us mentored Grable because he was a young man from inner city Detroit who needed a break. He worked as a clerk at the Free Press and although I left the paper many years ago a few folks at the paper and I kept in touch to try to help Walter.
He got a job at the Indianapolis Star, but he always ran into trouble there. It was not a good fit and after much anguish he finally landed a job as an assistant sports editor at a small paper in North Carolina. He had a daughter there and wanted to be close to her.
This week he collapsed and died while playing pick up basketball. He was 38. That is way too soon to leave this sweet mother Earth.
And it was too soon for this world to see Walter go. He was not perfect, but he had a sweet heart and tried to help kids.
The only good thing is Walter died doing what he loved. He was a very good basketball player and one of my greatest post school accomplishments was leading a team of Snooze reporters past the Morning Friendly in the Gus Macker tournament.
I got hot and it was a source of pride that the Freep made a defensive switch and had Walter guard me. He was a better player. But I burned him any way.
Thanks for the game Walt. And thanks for the friendship Don.
Both of you guys will be missed.