VERDICT IN, DETROIT RESPONDS SEE NEWS, PAGE 4
JON ADAMS/THE SOUTH END
SPIRITS OF DETROIT
WSU IMPACTS NFL
JULY 17 - JULY 24, 2013 | WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER SINCE 1967 | THESOUTHEND.WAYNE.EDU | DETROIT, MICHIGAN | FREE
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Navy vet finds residency privileges revoked
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U of M student must pay higher tuition after returning from overseas
DESIGN & MULTIMEDIA EDITOR JON ADAMS • ED6239@WAYNE.EDU
last four years overseas with
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CHRISTINA CLARK Staff Columnist At some point, every person has to decide what he or she is going to do with the rest of their lives. “Should I go straight to college? Find a job? Have a family? Join the military?” These are some of the questions that people ask themselves when they leave high school, or sometimes later in life, if they want a change in their lives. For some, including University of Michigan Student Brian Stone, joining the military is the option they want to take. WDIV Local 4 News reported that Stone is a native Michigander who spent the
“Stone did have to pay the
This is not to say that if he
the U.S. Navy. Stone re-
higher tuition. He appealed
had willingly moved to an-
turned home to Dearborn and
his case but it took about four
other state, changed his place
resumed his studies at the
months to get his classifica-
of residence, lived there for
University of Michigan.
tion changed, so he had to
several years, came back and
pay the higher tuition until
expected to get the in-state
to pay his tuition, however,
When it came time for him
then,” according to the WDIV
tuition that he should still
he told Local 4 that he was
Local 4 news report.
billed as an out-of-state resi-
According to University of
Yes, America’s military is
dent, which, according to the
Michigan’s residency clas-
all volunteers, and yes he
report, increased his bill by
sification guidelines posted
chose to enlist. He did not,
$10,000 each year.
on the university’s website,
however, give up his home of
students who “currently live
origin. A military deployment
the mail saying that due to
outside the state of Michigan
is far from simply moving.
my overseas service that I
for any purpose, including,
may be considered an out-
but not limited to, education,
person that is now overseas
of-state resident. I had a
volunteer activities, military
is considered a resident of
$6,000 bill that was left for
service, travel, employment,”
those countries until they
me,” Stone told WDIV Local
must file an application for
come back, and then at least
resident classification to be
in the case of U of M they
approved for in-state tuition.
would have to apply to be
“And then I got a letter in
According to the WDIV Local 4 News report, Stone went before the univer-
But, is military service really living outside of the state?
By this logic, every single
considered a citizen again. It’s no secret: higher
sity leaders on behalf of the
Provided this man did not
education is expensive for
student veterans association
change his place of residence
any student, and to make an
and hopes to have the policy
to wherever he was stationed,
in-state resident pay out-
changed, but he is waiting for
for all intents and purposes
of-state tuition because he
a response from the univer-
he was then, and is now, a
was overseas in the military
seems a bit … wrong.
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2 I JULY 17 - JULY 24, 2013 I THESOUTHEND.WAYNE.EDU
NEWS COREY WHEELER/THE SOUTH END
WSU President donates $1 million to university Donation will fund student scholarships, endowments, student services
CORRESPONDENT CHRIS EHRMANN Wayne State is getting a very nice parting gift from its president, Allan Gilmour. Gilmour has been president of WSU since January 2010, and was previously the vice chairman of Ford Motor Co. His term as WSU president comes to a close at the end of July, when Dr. M. Roy Wilson will begin his term. Before his departure, Gilmour has chosen to return something special to the university: his salary paid to him for running the university over the last three years. According to a press release, Gilmour is giving back $1 million to WSU, the total amount of his salary after taxes. “It was nine-hundred odd thousand dollars, including the value of benefits,” Gilmour said. Around the first of the year, Gilmour said he was thinking about leaving something behind that could help WSU maintain its reputation as a great university. “I wanted to leave something behind; Matt Lockwood, WSU Director of Communications, and his colleagues keep saying,
‘what is my legacy,’ but I got to think about what could I do. I’ve got enough money, thank heavens for Ford Motor Company … but I thought this place (needs) money, it needs endowment,” Gilmour said. Gilmour also said he did this to help showcase his vision of WSU for the future. How the $1 million gift will be broken down is only in its infant stages now — Gilmour said it will mainly serve the purpose of helping students who are close to finishing their degree but are experiencing financial difficulties. “Well, I don’t know how we are going to draw up the legal documents, but for the time being, first off it goes into the endowment, there’s no question about that,” Gilmour said, “and then the endowment pays out 4.5 percent annually, so $45,000 a year comes out of the endowment for use, $5,000 goes out to the development office for its overhead, raising more money and things, so $40,000. “In the short run — and I don’t know how long the short run is, maybe we’ll call it the intermediate run — it will go for student scholarships for students who are close to completing their full degree, four years or five years whatever it is, but have financial difficulties,” Gilmour said. Gilmour added that he wanted, for the very long run, to leave
things flexible, because, according to him, 40 or 50 or 60 years from now who knows the needs of WSU will be. The endowment was named in honor of Gilmour’s partner, Eric Jirgens, and according to Gilmour there are also plans for a scholarship. “Well, it was a birthday present; I did that for his birthday party in December, and we are going to have a scholarship in (Jirgens’) name, so that will be one quarter of it, $250,000,” Gilmour said. Since gift giving usually goes both ways, Gilmour will also get a mall of his own at WSU. Ferry Mall on WSU’s main campus will be renamed Gilmour Mall, according to Debbie Dingell, board chair of the Board of Governors. Gilmour said he is flattered by the gesture. “I am excited and pleased,” he said. “Never, I mentioned it to Debbie Dingell, our board chair just as she was announcing it, I wouldn’t have thought about this in 25 years if I had nothing else to do, so I’m very pleased and very honored by it.” Gilmour’s gift comes at a crucial point, just after WSU announced an 8.9 percent tuition increase for undergraduate students, translating to an additional $900 per year for fulltime students. “The state of appropriation went down. It means our state
of appropriation, $83 million for this coming year, is the same level it was in 1991,” Gilmour said. “And as you can imagine, we have more students than we did in 1991, and the price of everything has gone up since 1991. And where are we going to get the money … But in a place like ours, where we want quality, we want quality of research, and quality of teaching, and quality in the community involvement, it all takes money. And if the state isn’t going to provide it, tuition will have to,” Gilmour said. Gilmour said that the best part of working at WSU was the students. “Because we changed lives,” he said. “I don’t mean I changed the lives — the faculty did it, they did the heavy lifting, but it’s exciting. And when we come to graduation, and when we come to people coming in as freshman at convocation, know the world isn’t going to hell. We can get things done with the capabilities, with the young people coming along. And they don’t know yet what will work, and we shouldn’t tell them. Because many of those things that we old people think don’t work, do work. So, that’s so exciting about the place. Midtown is so exciting, and all of those things are so exciting,” Gilmour said. Gilmour’s term ends July 31, and Wilson will be sworn in Aug. 1.
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Detroiters protest Zimmerman trial verdict Motor City joins other major U.S. cities in public outrage against acquittal ELI HOERLER The South End Crowds gathered in Grand Circus Park July 14, with many carrying signs resonating frustration, strength and mourning. Some bore messages of hope and unity such as “black and white unite to fight,” and “We are all Trayvon.” Others were expressions of frustration such as “the whole system is guilty,” and “Trayvon was stalked, Aiyana was sleeping.” The hastily organized rally came after George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin July 13. Demonstrators, united by their disagreement with the verdict, sounded off on Facebook and assembled in a group of several hundred. Despite the heat, some even came out in dark hoodies similar to the one Martin was reportedly wearing at the time of his death. Speeches were made by several people, including city council candidate Brian White and Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Jones, a 7-year-old girl who was shot by Detroit police in May 2010. Jones ended her speech in tears and was returned to the audience by a flurry of hugs and helping hands. “This is not the last step, this is
the first step,” one speaker from the ACLU said. Around 7 p.m., the group marched a half mile to the federal building on Michigan Avenue. The group of several hundred blocked traffic at times, and it was difficult to tell if motorists were blaring horns out of support or frustration. When the group reassembled at the federal building, several more speeches were delivered, and a local rapper performed a song via megaphone about Martin’s killing. By the time the group disbanded, many were waving bags of Skittles and bottles of iced tea, items found on the deceased Martin. Detroit police were present at the rally, but there was no incident. After it ended, people disbursed peacefully. Detroit is not the only city to host such a rally. Demonstrations have been reported in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and many other cities. Though there existed an air of frustration at the rally, many were pleased with the concern of citizens and the outcome of the protest. As one protester wrote on the Facebook event page for the protest, “Seeing so many organizations and individuals working together in fighting the unjust system that let this murderer (like so many before him) walk away... it gives me hope.”
PHOTOS BY ON ADAMS/THE SOUTH END
4 I JULY 17 - JULY 24, 2013 I THESOUTHEND.WAYNE.EDU
Verdict evokes strong emotions Detroiters make opinions heard
JAMILAH JACKSON The South End There has been a lot of energy and anger put into the atmosphere after the “not guilty” verdict George Zimmerman received. I can honestly say I’m not surprised. When it takes a police department 45 days to arrest a murder suspect, justice won’t be seen. I’m angry and upset that Trayvon Martin is gone. No matter if Zimmerman was found guilty or not — neither brings Martin back. His parents still have to live with the fact that they won’t see him off to prom or graduating from high school and college. They won’t be able to attend his wedding or see his children. His friend, Rachel Jeantel, will have to live with the fact that she heard Martin’s cry as he was murdered. Although it may not seem like it now, Zimmerman has to live with the fact that
he took a life. If he is human (and I’m sure he is) his conscience will catch up to him. There is no winner in this case. Here’s my concern about the verdict: the reaction. Lots of people on my Instagram feed, Twitter timeline, and Facebook news feed were all riled up and angry. Protests took place on streets across the city and state. I loved seeing this, but I was perplexed at the same time. Where was this energy when schools were being closed down at alarming rates? Where was this energy when the jury declared a mistrial in the Aiyana Jones case? Does she not deserve justice too? She was shot during a raid — an African-American little girl murdered by a Caucasian police officer. Everyone is up in arms about Zimmerman and Martin’s race. What about Aiyana? I don’t have a problem with people demanding justice. That’s our job as American citizens. Demand that things be made right but don’t pick and choose
your battles. This anger and rage we feel now is good. Use that energy to bring about change and justice for Martin but don’t let that energy die after a while. Use it to bring about change and justice in our city. Protest in large crowds against the injustices we suffer at home. Jobs are being lost left and right in the city. Protest against that. Fight to make a change in the Detroit Public Schools. Fight to bring equal opportunities to the children of the city so they can grow up healthy and strong. Fight to bring this city back to the beauty is once was. Another, but smaller, thought that crossed my mind after hearing the reactions was the fact that African-Americans love to bring up race. Yes, it was an injustice that Trayvon was murdered but let me pose this question. Had Zimmerman been black (the same as Trayvon) and the crime happened on the eastside of Detroit in front
of 10 people in a neighborhood, would anyone have spoken up? It’s funny that the African-American community believes in this “no snitching” rule. Innocent children die every day in this city and someone knows the killer but won’t speak up because “snitches get stiches.” Black on black crime isn’t anything new in this day and age. Whether Martin was shot by a Caucasian, Asian, Indian or Hispanic shouldn’t matter. This should not have been an issue of race. This is an issue of a child being murdered and the murder is protected by the law. It’s unfortunate that Martin was profiled as dangerous because of his skin, but to me — how can we as a race expect others to respect and value our lives if we don’t do the same for each other? So let’s review. One: don’t pick and choose your battles. There’s injustice all around us. Two: once we as AfricanAmericans start to value our lives and the lives of others, so too will people outside of our culture.
STUDENTS REACT TO THE ZIMMERMAN VERDICT “Obviously our justice system has made no progress.” –Imani Nelson, 19 “Are people more concerned about race or justice?” –Brandon Roland, 20 “Majority of black men get the short end of the stick.” –Kaira Langford, 19 “I have to make sure that I word this correctly but because everyone wants to make this a racial thing, you have to deviate from that and in saying that, at the end of the day a fist stands no chance against a gun. This just shows how unjust and blatantly incorrect our judicial system is. Yes I am disappointed in the result of the verdict, but not for the obvious racism, but for the account of someone’s life. It’s almost as if we have to look past what’s obvious and dig a little deeper.” –Jillian Jackson, 18 “In a legal sense, yes because the prosecution didn’t prove 2nd degree murder or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt. -Marniqua Cook, 21 “The prosecutors didn’t do their job. The defense put on a great case. The jury ruled on what was in front of them, as they’re supposed to...not based on beliefs or media. Only the facts presented. However the killing was by all means unjustified, but the prosecutors did not prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.” -Sharde Fleming, 21 THESOUTHEND.WAYNE.EDU I JULY 17 - JULY 24, 2013 I 5
Spirits of Detroit Detroit’s first distillery since Prohibition to open in September ELI HOERLER The South End It’s comfortably out of the way, but somehow surrounded by everything. Out the back window looms Michigan Central Station, and just down the street are Slow’s Bar-B-Q and a slew of Michigan Avenue bars. Walk into the future tasting room at Two James Spirits and you’ll be welcomed by a circular bar, plenty of wood and a type of rustic warmth desirable even in the summer heat. Or at least that’s how the proprietors see the future. Two James isn’t operational yet, but come September they will be Detroit’s only distillery, and its first since Prohibition. “We’re hoping the tasting room (will be) this kind of place where people can come, taste our stuff, have a drink, hang out,” said Andy Mohr, director of marketing and social media at Two James. The floor is reclaimed wood from Reclaim Detroit, a group that deconstructs Detroit’s abandoned spaces and uses as much of the material as possi-
ble for new spaces in hopes of preserving history, helping the environment and keeping costs down. Two James is the creation of Dave Landrum and Peter Bailey. Landrum has been a cocktail expert and sommelier for over a decade. Bailey and Mohr worked in Landrum’s restaurant years ago, and when Landrum reached out to Bailey, he had been working in corporate America. “He just literally called me up, presented the idea, we took a workshop a few months later, and then tried to find a good reason not to do it,” Bailey said. Located at 2445 Michigan Ave., on the outskirts of Corktown, the soonhome of Two James was leased last year by Landrum and Bailey. Since then, renovations on the former taxi garage have been underway, and are going fairly smoothly. With no huge problems with federal and state licensing, and only a bit of barter with the city, the proper paperwork was obtained. Mohr said locations such as Eastern Market were considered, but Corktown was the best fit. “I think this had the best feel, still kind of on the way up, so there was a lot of room for growth.”
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They hope to join the likes of Slows Bar-B-Q and The Sugar House in bringing more foot traffic to their stretch of Michigan Avenue. The names Andrew, Peter and Dave beg the question: why name it Two James when there isn’t even one in the building? The answer is that the distillery was named for James Landrum and James Bailey, the fathers of the founders, both of whom are now deceased. The space the founders chose seems like it was meant to house Two James. The large, former taxi garage space allows plenty of room for five fermentation tanks, a water heater, a massive 500-gallon copper still from Louisville, Ky., and other equipment. The storefront and tasting room will be smaller and cozier, while the expansive backyard area, in full view of Roosevelt Park and Michigan Central Station, will provide space to host events and parties. A cocktail menu has been posted to www.twojames.com, but that’s subject to change, Mohr said. Two James will be distilling three liquors to start with. The first is the Grass Widow Bourbon, a “high
rye Bourbon that will be finished in Madeira barrels from Portugal and a proprietary filtering process,” Mohr said in an email. Also offered will be 28 Island Vodka, named for the 28 Islands in the Detroit River and made from an organic wheat mash bill, and Old Cockney Gin, juniper based liquor with a botanical blend. “Calvados (Apple Brandy) and Absinthe are spirits we plan to distill in near future, and we also plan to produce an interesting variety of bitters and liqueurs that take advantage of Michigan’s rich agricultural offerings,” Mohr wrote. “We will also be releasing Two James Rye Whiskey, made with a rye mash bill, and Two James Bourbon, made with primarily a corn and rye mash bill, in the future; but these spirits need to be aged in new American oak barrels for multiple years.” Everyone from the timid taster to the seasoned connoisseur will find a place at Two James. Be it a cold cocktail at the grand opening in September or a warm sip of bourbon in mid-winter, Detroiters will soon have a brand of their own when it comes to high-quality hooch.
PHOTOS BY ELI HOERLER/THE SOUTH END
THESOUTHEND.WAYNE.EDU I JULY 17 - JULY 24, 2013 I 7
FEATURES COURTESY JOHN CARLISLE
Carlisle shines new light on Detroit Columnist’s unique stories change view of city LYNN LOSH Contriubting Writer The outside world may see Detroit as a falling city, but one journalist has managed to capture the heart, life and culture that remain. John Carlisle is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press who writes stories about colorful characters and interesting places around the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan. Carlisle is perhaps better known as Detroitblogger John, his pen name when he wrote for Detroit’s Metro Times on detroitblog.org. He began writing the blog in 2007, while also working as the managing editor of C&G Newspapers. “I was an editor and stuck at a desk,” Carlisle said. “It was just a boring job and I missed writing so I came up with the idea of it because there wasn’t any good coverage of anything in the city. I just thought, ‘I’ll post it on this blog and a few people will read it and it’ll give me good writing practice’.” Carlisle’s career started when he attended WSU as a journalism major. He worked his way up from staff writer all the way to manag-
ing editor. After graduating, he worked as a freelance writer before climbing the journalism ladder at C&G Newspapers. He has also contributed to several other local papers and magazines, including Hour Detroit. Carlisle’s inspiration for the blog was to shed light on the hidden underside of Detroit that many don’t know about. “Most people weren’t writing about Detroit, except for crime or city council or the mayor, and it seemed like this great opportunity to highlight things that nobody knew about. A lot of people know just downtown or midtown, but there’s this huge city out there with all these things going on,” Carlisle said. “That was a great void to step into, so I thought (that) there was a great chance, and it obviously worked out well for me.” Carlisle is also a published author. His book, “313: Life in the Motor City,” is a collection of articles that appeared in the Metro Times. He chose 42 articles that he thought would “give a cross section of things people don’t know about.” Carlisle mixes old-style journalism research with his nontraditional-style human-interest stories.
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“He’s a talented writer, and an old-fashioned reporter who burns up shoe leather instead of just talking into a phone,” Michael Jackman, Metro Times editor, said. Carlisle has what he calls an “organic” approach to finding leads. “I really just drive around or walk around and look for things, and if I see something interesting I go up and knock on the door. If I see someone interesting, I’ll just go up and start a conversation with them,” Carlisle said. “It’s going out with no ideas in mind and just seeing what you come across.” Carlisle was named one of the “5 Guys Who Are Raising Detroit From The Dead” by askmen.com. “Through his blog, this veteran Detroit journalist has single-handedly rearranged the way newspapers and magazines in Detroit cover the city,” said John Horn of askmen.com. Carlisle was named Journalist of the Year by the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2011. “It was just amazing,” Carlisle said of the award. “I was a freelance columnist and I don’t think a freelancer has ever won it.” Carlisle’s style of journalism has become a large hit with readers around the Detroit area, online
and print alike. “I like that Mr. Carlisle brings the readers attention to lesser known positive things,” said Free Press reader Michelle Harris. Carlisle’s column at the Free Press expands his coverage from just Detroit to the state of Michigan. “They want me to go all over the state because there’s just as much hidden stuff out there, like up north or the west side of the state, that people haven’t heard of,” Carlisle said. “It’s pretty much the same, just a broader geographical area.” Traveling, a favorite of Carlisle’s, is luckily for him a part of his job description. He also enjoys playing hockey. He’s captain of the Knights Hockey Club of Michigan’s Premier Adult Hockey League. Carlisle’s main focus, though, is his job. His articles tell the stories of the little known wonders and intriguing people around the city of Detroit, and now the state of Michigan. “It’s really just to find things that no one knows about and write interesting stories about them, sometimes help out struggling people who aren’t getting business, and help keep these little gems alive,” Carlisle said.
COURTESY WSU ATHLETICS
WSU all-star baseball camp Tigers Miguel Cabrera and Torii Hunter make appearance HUMBERTO MARTINEZ JR. Sports Correspondent The Wayne State baseball team, partnered with the Detroit Tigers, held its annual summer baseball camp this past weekend, July 12-13, at the WSU baseball field in Detroit. A fundamental skills camp, players ages 7-18 attended the camp to receive instruction on all facets of the game. Head clinicians for the camp included Warriors head coach Ryan Kelley and Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones. “It’s great (being able to instruct the kids),” Kelley said. “It’s fun,” Jones said. “It’s really an enjoyable thing for me.” Current players from the WSU roster provided instruction as well, along with team coaches and coaches from local high schools. “I think it’s really awesome,” senior catcher Eric Cunningham said. “Coach pushes us to give back to the community and we always want to do that and it’s always fun — teaches guys what we know.” Campers are broken down into different groups and rotate to a station
dedicated to different aspects of the game with a few coaches. “We pretty much touch on almost every aspect of baseball,” Kelley said. “Offense, defensive, base running, teaching them how to catch, they’re fielding ground balls, they’re pitching, hitting; we do a lot of different things to help these kids take something home with them.” While the camp teaches kids how to be successful on the field, it also teaches them how to be successful off the field. Campers are given advice on how to balance school and baseball and are told to focus on education as much as athletics. And who better to hear that from than a college coach — one who emphasizes the “student” in “studentathlete” — and current studentathletes? “Every station they’re going to learn about (education),” Kelley said.”Get good grades. To be a good player, you gotta do well in school. If you wanna reach the college level, you gotta make sure you take care of your grades.” “The biggest thing I can teach these guys is time management,” Cunningham said. “That’s what
helps you get in the classroom and focus on when you have practice and when you can handle your schoolwork.” And Jones, who has seen his fair share of ballplayers not reach their dreams of playing major league baseball, believes that education comes first as well. “That’s very, very important,” Jones said. “Of all these kids that are out here today, you never know if any of them are gonna get the opportunity to play professional baseball, let alone major league baseball. It’s so important to get a good education and do everything you can to get yourself ready for the real world just in case athletics don’t work out. To me education is first and then athletics come second.” Jones has been a mainstay of the camp since it first started. He participated in the camp with former WSU head baseball coach Jay Alexander, and continues to attend with Kelley at the helm. “It’s been a number of years (that he’s been with the camp),” Jones said. “It started when Jay Alexander was the coach and when Ryan Kelley took over, he asked me if I
wanted to continue doing it and I said ‘Yeah.’” “It’s great (to have Jones at the camp),” Kelley said. “I can’t say enough good things about him. He always does great.” As he has in years past, Jones brought along two special guests with him: players from the Detroit Tigers. Last season’s MVP and Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera visited the camp on Friday, while right fielder Torii Hunter made an appearance on Saturday. Both players participated in a question and answer session with the campers and signed autographs afterward. “It’s outstanding (to have Tigers players attend),” Kelley said. “For a youngster to be face-to-face with a great Detroit Tiger is outstanding. But also to learn from those guys about how they got to the level they’re at, I think it’s an awesome opportunity.” So it was another successful WSU baseball camp, and for any young ballplayers wanting to get in on the action next year, be sure to look for updates on wsuathletics.com. See you next summer.
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WSU leaves mark on NFL pro Former linebacker, head coach recalls college days ALLISON KOEHLER Staff Writer With all of the success that Wayne State alumnus Brian VanGorder has seen over his 30 years working in football, it should’ve come as no surprise when he got the call for the WSU Hall of Fame. “This is something that I’ve always wanted; something very important to me as I look at my career and legacy moving forward,” said VanGorder in his Hall of Fame speech earlier this year. Back in VanGorder’s playing days, WSU’s football program had it going on. The Tartars were flying to road games, had scholarships and a staff of full-time coaches. And they were winning. It was against the Akron Zips when VanGorder’s name was first called by legendary coach Dick Lowry. He was a true freshman. He described his time as a Tartar as “tough, competitive and rugged.” “I’ve coached in five college playoff games, four bowl games, two SEC championship games and four NFL playoff games,” VanGorder said “Yet I’ve never had a better coaching experience than what I had at Wayne State. “This is a tremendous, tremendous honor to put the VanGorder name on that wall at Wayne State,” VanGorder said proudly during his induction speech. The VanGorder brood, four boys and one girl, naturally followed in their father’s footsteps. Molloy and Mack have defense in their blood. Molloy was a defensive back at Georgia and Mack is also a DB at Auburn. Montgomery is a senior quarterback at Buford High School in Gainesville, Ga. The lone daughter, Morgan, is an alumna of Georgia, where she was a star distance runner. The youngest at 6 years old, Malone, has been playing basketball and fottball for most of his life. VanGorder attended West Bloomfield High School. While he came to WSU to “have fun and play ball,” he ended up with a stellar education in the process. For three-and-a-half years, he
and Phil Emery (general manager, Chicago Bears) were roommates. They would later reunite in Atlanta where Emery was director of scouting. “It’s been a lot of fun watching him grow in our business,” VanGorder said. “He’s very intellectual and it’s really paid off for him. To be a general manager in the NFL, it’s been a long road.” VanGorder lettered four seasons an All-GLIAC linebacker at WSU. After an honorable mention his first season, he earned first team accolades in 1979 and 1980. He joined his team in three consecutive runner-up finishes in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference under fellow Hall of Famer Lowry. In his junior year, VanGorder had a career-high three interceptions and 85 total tackles. Team captain his senior year, he had three fumble recoveries and 73 total tackles, and helped his team to a winning record under first-year head coach Stephen Fickert. He credits his experience at WSU and Lowry for teaching him how to be a leader. “Dick was an outstanding leader. He taught me so much,” he said. “I was a little flamboyant, a little loud; just approached the game with a very emotional state,” VanGorder said. “Some of the direction they gave me in respects to appreciating the game from the intellectual side was important, and it became more important to me as I went into the profession as a coach.” A record at the time of graduation, VanGorder had amassed 335 tackles, second in school history. VanGorder’s first coaching position after leaving WSU, he returned to his high school alma mater West Bloomfield to serve as assistant head coach. Still plugging away at the pros for a year-and-a-half after graduating, he was working out for the NFL when he heard a little school called Boca Raton Academy was seeking a head coach. “I just decided to move on (from playing),” he said. “When I started coaching at age 23, I understood organization, I understood repetition, and
I understood discipline. That was kind of my blueprint as I started. I had a lot of success as a head high school coach. “I had never really lost that initial blue print; it’s always been a part of what I do.” VanGorder would spend the next seven years in Florida with Boca Raton Academy, American Heritage High School and Boca Raton Community High School. He first became a collegiate coach when he joined Grand Valley State as defensive coordinator. After three years at Grand Valley, he returned to coach the very team he played for a dozen years earlier. VanGorder’s coaching experience, however, was substantially different than when he played. The program was struggling financially and forced to raise funds to keep it going. Roughly 11 scholarships were available when he was at the helm of the green and gold, yet flew to games when he was a player. Despite tough financial times, VanGorder led his Tartars to 16 wins — the most in a decade over a three-year period. He recorded consecutive winning seasons in his final two years with the organization. VanGorder also had coaching stints on the defensive side at the University of Central Florida, 1994-97; Central Michigan, 199899; and Western Illinois, 2000. After a year as Western Illinois defensive coordinator, he was hired as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, two positions he obviously knew quite well. And it showed. In his first season, the Bulldogs allowed just shy of 19 points a game, had a fifthranked rushing defense and were 17th in defensive scoring. In his last two seasons with the team, they were top 10 in the nation in both scoring and total defense. During VanGorder’s four years, the Bulldogs defense really showed their teeth, winning one SEC title, two SEC East Division Championships and three bowl games. The most points allowed during that period was 30 — and
even that was only once. Additionally, VanGorder’s defense produced six players drafted in the top two rounds of the NFL including former Detroit Lions safety Sean Jones and linebacker Boss Bailey. VanGorder earned professional status for his outstanding leadership in Georgia, and rightly so. He served as linebacker coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2005, with the defense finishing sixth in total defense. However, the following year he returned to college and to Georgia, where he became head coach of Georgia Southern. It wouldn’t be long until VanGorder was lured by the NFL once again. Staying in Georgia, he joined the Atlanta Falcons staff and remained for the next five years. Hired as linebackers coach in 2007, he was promoted to defensive coordinator the following season. VanGorder implemented his style of defense immediately and the Falcons finished 11th in the league in points allowed. In the years to follow, it was the rushing attack, finishing top 10 in the league in 2009 and 2010. VanGorder’s defense shined again in what would be his final season with the organization. In 2011, the Falcons defense finished second in the NFL in the red zone, sixth against the run and 12th in total defense. In four of the five years spent with the Falcons, the organization had consecutive winning seasons — a first for the franchise. The team reached the playoffs in 2008, 2010 and 2011. The next season, in what was “an awful decision professionally,” VanGorder left the NFL to coordinate the defense at Auburn. Making an about-face, he rejoined the linebackers in February, this time back in the pros with the New York Jets, where linebackers include David Harris, one of the highest paid at his position. He would ultimately like to return to the defensive coordinator position, where he had the most success. If the Jets defense can turn itself around this year, VanGorder could just stick around.
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Published on Jul 17, 2013