The Wolverine

June/July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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10 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2017   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Academic Achievement Award and Academic All-Big Ten honors three times each. • Abby Cole, volleyball — Cole became an American Volleyball Coaches Association second-team All-Ameri- can for her work as a team co-captain her senior season. The unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick wound up second in the history of the program in attack percentage (.317), fifth in career kills (1,452) and sixth in career attack attempts (3,236). The native of Grand Haven, Mich., made the Big Ten All-Freshman team her first year in Ann Arbor and gar- nered all-league status in each succeeding season. She also wound up making the all-tournament team in the NCAA Championship during her senior season. The following were on hand to take home Spirit Awards: • Ned Willig, cross coun- try — A graduate student from Brown, Willig quickly adapted to his surroundings at Michigan, becoming a strong teammate and leader among his peers. He's en- rolled in the School of Natu- ral Resources at Michigan, pursuing a master 's of sci- ence in environmental infor- matics. A product of Phoenixville, Pa., Willig brings a tire- less energy and high level of team spirit to the Wol- verines, as well as building on the multiple Ivy League championships he earned as an undergrad. He finished fourth in the 8,000-meter Adidas Pre-Nationals Open Race this year at Michigan and fifth at the 5,000-meter Michigan Open. • Eliza Stein, field hockey — Stein hails from Ann Ar- bor's Pioneer High School, and pursued a high-level aca- demic track at her hometown university. She majored in biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience at Michigan, earning a host of academic awards. The team captain garnered Academic All-Big Ten no- tice as a senior after being included on the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Collegiate National Aca- demic Team the year before. Stein provided leadership on the field as well, scoring in a 4-1 victory over Michigan State last fall. • Allie Murphy, swimming and diving — Murphy provided the Wolverines with a higher level of enthusi- asm throughout her two years at Michigan after transfer- ring in from Louisville. The native of Walled Lake, Mich., not only infused an encouraging and competitive attitude into her approach, she proved a strong contributor for the Wolverines in her specialty of diving. Murphy earned NCAA All-America honorable mention for her three-meter diving effort in 2017 while finishing in the top 15 at the Big Ten Championships in the platform (12th) and three-meter (15th) dives. Senior Awards also went to Zak Irvin and Derrick Wal- ton Jr. in basketball, along with Amara Darboh and Jake Butt in football, all of whom could not attend due to con- flict in pursuing impending professional careers. Volleyball coach Mark Rosen told the gathering a story about Cole's humorous commitment to his program a few years back. "For coaches, commit day is a big day, when one of the top kids in the country is ready to commit to you," Rosen said. "I was actually speaking up at Camp Michigania, with my family. I love the place, it's awesome. "But I had a feeling Abby was going to call that night, and I had to go do my speech for the faculty forum. So I told my 7-year-old son, and I gave him my phone and hoped there was cell service up there. I told him if Abby calls, let her know where I'm at and to call back because we couldn't call her. "She called while I was at the faculty forum. My son said, 'Hey, my dad said you were going to call and make sure you call back.' "She said, 'Oh, no, I don't need to call back. I'm calling to commit.' He goes, 'I know, but he's not here.' "She told him, 'I'm call- ing to commit to you. You're the reason I'm coming to the University of Michigan.' She'd gotten to know Cam- eron over the years, at camp and different things. "Now he's 12, and I can guarantee who his favorite player is. He reminds me all the time: 'You didn't get Abby Cole. I did.' "It's a great example of how special a person she is. She knew how that would make him feel. I get commits all the time. But a 7-year-old has had one." So it went, the stories flowing freely and the pride in Michigan overflowing. Pearson, coming back to Michigan from Michigan Tech in Upper Peninsula, hailed retiring coach Red Berenson, and insisted when the fall comes, he'll be "like a kid in a candy store" taking over the program he served for many years as an assistant. Pearson also kept the mood light. "The one person who is even happier than me is my wife," he said. "We had 265 inches of snow in Houghton this year. She's excited … "I've got two snowmobiles, three snow blowers and a roof rake … Craig's List — look it up." The club, formed by Ufer in 1947, has established a $250,000 endowed football scholarship in his name, along with making a $100,000 contribution to the Stephen M. Ross Academic Center. The club has given out nearly 150 scholarships under Ufer's name over the years. ❏ Mel Pearson, Michigan's new hockey coach, was among those who spoke at the Bob Ufer Quarterback Club's annual golf outing and ban- quet, held May 1 at the University of Michigan Golf Course. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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