I was able to attend the Victors Rally at the Michigan Theater on Sunday to do some filming for The Wolverine, and I thought I’d share some of the video I got with you. The first two videos are from former head coach Gary Moeller’s speech. It’s really nice to see Coach Moeller staying connected to the program, and he had some great stories about Rick Leach (the event’s emcee) and Bo Schembechler, a nice dig at Lou Holtz (about the end of the ’94 Notre Dame game, which had been shown in one of the highlight videos just prior to his speech), and his thoughts on what became the themes of the day, the Michigan Man and turning around the program:
Former assistant coach Jerry Hanlon was a surprise speaker, and may have had the quote of the day: “I do want you to know one thing: for an old Irish man to still be included in what is the greatest program in the United States is very heartwarming. I am a Michigan Man.”
The whole speech is a great testament to the program, and to Hanlon’s part in it. Say what you will about this current coaching staff, but you can’t ignore the great effort they’ve made to reach out to former players and coaches. The show of support from the former players (Larry Foote and Brandon Graham were two of the speakers, and several former players were also in attendance) and coaches was a great thing to see, but that support doesn’t come if Rich Rodriguez and his staff don’t make an effort to connect with the old guard, and they’ve done an incredible job of doing so. None of the players and coaches involved with Sunday’s rally were forced to be there, but they were more than willing to step up on stage and stand behind the program and the current staff. I think that says a lot.
For the rest of my video from Sunday, head over to The Wolverine, where they’ve posted speeches by Rich Rodriguez and Foote, and Graham’s speech should be appearing there in the near future. If you weren’t able to make it to the Michigan Theater on Sunday, the video is well worth watching.