Back in February 2006, I started Michigan Sports Center as nothing more than a hobby. Quickly it became something much bigger, however, and ever since it has led to numerous awesome opportunities, including running Pride of Detroit, SB Nation’s Lions blog. The newest opportunity that has come my way is to be the managing editor of SB Nation Detroit, which launched last night. SB Nation Detroit is one of 20 regional sites that will launch as part of the SB Nation network this month, and I’m very excited about what is in store for this new venture.
Although this is an awesome opportunity and I’m pumped for it, the one down side is that effective today, I will be done updating Michigan Sports Center. With the time I need to dedicate to SB Nation Detroit and the fact that I will be writing about U-M sports there, it was simply not feasible to continue updating MSC. After all, as you probably noticed the last few months, I haven’t had a ton of time for MSC in the first place, so it would have been unrealistic to try to keep this blog going, update Pride of Detroit and SB Nation Detroit, and have time to worry about my classes.
It was certainly an interesting four years of Michigan sports for me to cover. The first year of this blog, I was lucky enough to cover the 2006 football team, which just barely missed out on going undefeated in the regular season but did earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. Then in 2007, well, it was quite the roller coaster ride. Disaster happened when Michigan lost to Appalachian State and then was demolished a week later by Oregon. Michigan got its season turned around, however, and was able to send Lloyd Carr, who announced his plans to retire following the Ohio State game, out a winner by beating Florida in the Capital One Bowl.
Probably the most interesting single story to follow was the coaching search that immediately began following Carr’s retirement announcement. Every day there were new rumors about the latest hot name in the coaching search, and who could forget the Les Miles saga that Kirk Herbstreit helped create on the day of the SEC championship game? In the end Rich Rodriguez ended up getting the job, and we all know how that has gone. Rodriguez’s first season coincided with my first year at U-M, and to say things went poorly would be an understatement. Then, a year later, a promising 4-0 start resulted in a 5-7 finish. Oh, and there was practicegate and NCAA violations. Perhaps you heard about that, too.
This blog was also around for the firing of Tommy Amaker and the hiring of John Beilein. Beilein struggled mightily in his first season at Michigan, but season two was the highlight of my freshman year at U-M. The basketball team upset UCLA and Duke and made a strong late-season run to make its first NCAA tournament in a long, long time. Watching the selection show at Crisler was an absolutely awesome experience, and watching Michigan beat Clemson in the first round of the tourney was even better. Things didn’t go according to plan this past season and the future is very uncertain with Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims gone, but there’s no denying how great the 2008-09 season was.
The hockey team was the most consistent of the big three sports during the four years of this blog. Every year until this past season Michigan was consistently ranked near the top of the polls. Of course, Michigan still had an amazing season this year after making an unremarkable run to the NCAA tournament, and that run would have continued to the Frozen Four had it not been for some incompetent officiating. The Wolverines did make it to the Frozen Four once during the four years of this blog, but unfortunately they lost to Notre Dame in overtime in the semifinals.
The non-big three sports provided some memorable moments as well. There were plenty of Big Ten titles, a few club titles (lacrosse), and one national title (men’s gymnastics team) from the non-revenue sports teams, and the success of the baseball and softball programs has been great to watch. Who could forget the baseball team’s upset of Vanderbilt to make it to the super regional of the NCAA tournament a few years back? And for softball, well, they’re contenders for the College World Series every year, even if they didn’t make it this season.
Overall, it has been quite the ride to cover Michigan sports these last four years. There have been many highs and many lows, but all in all it has been very fun. And even though my role at SB Nation Detroit will require me to cover more than just Michigan sports (I even get to write about MSU too now. How fun!), you can bet I will still be writing about the Wolverines quite a bit. I won’t be able to cover every little tidbit of Michigan-related news, but it’s not like there is a shortage of awesome U-M sports blogs, so I’m sure you will all manage to get by.
Anyways, I just want to say thanks to everyone that read Michigan Sports Center over these last four years (coincidentally, the site just crossed 3,000,000 views yesterday), and I hope you will check out Pride of Detroit and SB Nation Detroit. I imagine there may be some future moments where I pop in here for a post every now and again, but to continue to follow my coverage of U-M sports, make sure to check out the Michigan football and basketball pages on SB Nation Detroit.
Thanks again for everything and Go Blue!