Rod Brind'Amour

Today in Spartan History

October 15, 2017
• Oct. 15, 1932:  Michigan State improved its record to 3-1 with a 27-0 victory over Illinois Wesleyan. Coach Jim Crowley's final team wound up with a 7-1 overall record.

• October 15, 1938:  Dansville's Dave Diehl scored touchdowns on a blocked kick and an interception as the Spartans won at West Virginia, 26-0.

• October 15, 1949:  John Polochek intercepted three passes to lead the Spartans past William & Mary, 42-13.

• October 15, 1955:  MSU snapped Notre Dame's 11-game winning streak with a 21-7 victory. QB Earl Morrall outplayed future Heisman winner Paul Hornung.

• October 15, 1960:  Tom Wilson threw touchdown passes to Don Stewart (52 yards) and Herb Adderley (23 yards) as the Spartans ran their winning streak against Notre Dame to five in a row.

• October 15, 1966:  Quarterback Jimmy Raye led MSU on a game-winning 16-play, 84-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to defeat Ohio State, 11-8.

• October 15, 1988:  Rod Brind'Amour (pictured left) scored his first two collegiate goals in a 6-1 Spartan victory at Lake Superior State.

• October 15, 2011:  Michigan State defeated Michigan for a fourth straight game, 28-14, at Spartan Stadium. Edwin Baker rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan prevailed over the Spartans in 1948 by a score of 13-7

The 'Teens Have Belonged to the Spartans

October 8, 2017
With its 14-10 win at Ann Arbor Saturday night, Michigan State's football program clinched its first victorious decade over Michigan since the 1960s. 

History shows that the Maize and Blue have dominated the Green and White since the storied series began 119 seasons ago, leading with 69 victories to just 36 for the Spartans. Five games have ended in tied scores. The Wolverines domination was established through the first 52 games, winning 41 times over the small university they referred to as the "Cow College."

Over the past 68 years, Michigan State's efforts have dramatically improved since those early days, winning nearly 46 percent of the time (30 wins, 36 losses, 2 ties).

Over the most recent 10 games, the Spartans have played the role as the dominator, winning eight times, including four victories at the famed "Big House." 

• 2010-2017:  MSU 6, Michigan 2
• 2000-2009:  Michigan 7, MSU 3
• 1990-1999:  Michigan 6, MSU 4
• 1980-1989:  Michigan 8, MSU 2
• 1970-1979:  Michigan 9, MSU 1
• 1960-1969:  MSU 7, Michigan 2, 1 tie
• 1950-1959:  MSU 7, Michigan 2, 1 tie
• 1940-1949:  Michigan 8, MSU 0
• 1930-1939:  MSU 4, Michigan 4, 2 ties
• 1920-1929:  Michigan 10, MSU 0
• 1910-1919:  Michigan 8, MSU 2
• 1910-1919:  Michigan 8, MSU 2
• 1898-1908:  Michigan 3, MSU 0, 1 tie

John Fuzak

John Fuzak

August 29, 2017
JOHN FUZAK: Today marks the 103rd anniversary of the birth of a stalwart of Michigan State University’s athletics history. John Fuzak, better known around the East Lansing campus as “Jack”, served as an MSU faculty member for 31 years from 1948-79, including 20 years as the Spartans’ faculty athletics representative. 

He became deeply involved with the workings of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, acting as chairman of the Committee on Academic Requirements for five years. Fuzak then became a member of the NCAA’s Long Range Planning Committee and NCAA Council from 1970-79, spending two years as NCAA President. Among the most critical issues during that period focused upon cutting costs. Measures were taken to limit coaching staffs, traveling squads and off-campus visits by prospects. The ‘70s also were marked by Title IX and the sponsoring of women’s sports. 

In 1980, Fuzak became associate commissioner of the Athletic Coast Conference and he served as the ACC’s interim commissioner for a short time in 1987. 

As an undergraduate, he was a three-sport letterman as the University of Illinois, participating in football, basketball and baseball. His 1934 Illini ‘9’ won the Big Ten Championship. 

Fuzak was inducted into MSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 and died on June 2, 2007, at the age of 93.

Pete Gent

Pete Gent

August 22, 2017
Born this week in 1942 (Aug. 23), former Spartan basketball player Pete Gent remains one of the National Football League’s most successful players to emerge as a cross-over athlete. 

 The native of Bangor, Mich. played basketball at Michigan State from 1961 through ‘64 for Coach Forddy Anderson. Gent was State’s leading scorer all three seasons, averaging 17.4 points per game. As a senior, he tallied 21 per game. When he graduated in 1964, only Julius McCoy’s 1,377 points were more than Gent’s career total (1,146) at MSU. His proficiency on the court and in the classroom resulted in his being awarded the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor. 

Gent turned down a contract offer from the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets to sign with the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. In his second season with the Cowboys, he played opposite “Bullet Bob” Hayes as a wide receiver. Gent moved to tight end in 1967 when Dallas acquired Lance Rentzel. 

He eventually turned to writing, authoring the controversial novel “North Dallas Forty” in 1973. The best seller was made into a movie of the same name in 1979. Three sequel books—“North Dallas After 40”, “Texas Celebrity Turkey Trot” and “The Franchise”—also were published works by Gent. 

While working on a fifth novel, he died in 2011 from pulmonary disease.

Plaxico Burrell (#4)

Plaxico Burress

August 12, 2017
Today (Aug. 12) marks Plaxico Burress’s 40th birthday. 

A product of Virginia Beach (Va.) Green Run High School, his two seasons with Michigan State were spectacular. In 1998 as a freshman, Burress set a Spartan record with 65 catches for 1,013 yards. As a sophomore the next season, he bettered his school marks with 66 grabs for 1,142 yards. 

Two particularly memorable games as MSU came in his second season. Burress had a record 255 receiving yards in a 34-31 victory over Michigan (1999), then he followed it up with 13 receptions in State’s 2000 Citrus Bowl win vs. Florida. 

Drafted eighth overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Burress went on to amass 553 catches for 8,499 yards in 11 professional seasons. 

His standing among former Big Ten players in NFL career receiving yardage:
1. 13,899 yards, Cris Carter, Ohio State
2. 12,785 yards, Irving Fryar, Nebraska
3. 12,061 yards, Derrick Mason, Michigan State
4. 11,438 yards, Muhsin Muhammad, Michigan State
5. 10,950 yards, Joey Galloway, Ohio State
6. 10,205 yards, Andre Rison, Michigan State
7. 9,497 yards, Amani Toomer, Michigan
8. 8,823 yards, Terry Glenn, Ohio State
9. 8,565 yards, Paul Warfield, Ohio State
10. 8,499 yards, Plaxico Burress, Michigan State

Marshall Dill

Marshall Dill

August 10, 2017
One of the greatest Michigan State athletes ever and a proud Spartan celebrates his 65th birthday this week (Aug. 9). Marshall Dill, a product of Detroit Northern High School, made a huge splash as an MSU freshman in 1972, helping lead Coach Fran Dittrich’s Spartans to the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships. 

One of Dill’s most memorable performances was on Feb. 12, 1972, at the Michigan State Relays in the 300-yard dash. He negotiated Jenison Field House’s one-eighth-mile oval in a world record time of :29.5. Just minutes later, Dill’s teammate, Herb Washington, also set a world record in the 60-yard dash (:05.8). Dill, Washington, Ken Popejoy and Al Henderson paced State to a second-place team finish at the ’72 NCAA indoor meet in Detroit, losing by only one point to Southern California. 

Dill dominated Big Ten competition during his career, becoming an 11-time conference titlist and a three-time All-American. He won four consecutive championships in the outdoor 220-yard dash, three straight in the indoor 300-yard dash, and two titles in the outdoor 100 dash. 

In 1974, Dill broke his own world record in the 300 (:29.3). He’s a member of both the Drake Relays Hall of Fame (1990) and the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame (2007). 

In recent years, he was an assistant track coach at Lansing Community College. One of Dill’s seven children, daughter Marchoe, played basketball at Illinois. He also has 11 grandchildren. 

Dill now resides in East Lansing.

Craig Jarrett

Craig Jarrett

July 20, 2017
CRAIG JARRETT: Celebrating his 38th birthday this week (July 19) is former Michigan State football punter Craig Jarrett. Following four years as a starter from 1998-2001, he ranked fourth on MSU’s career punting list with an average kick of 42.9 yards. 

Only Greg Montgomery, Ralf Mojsiejenko and Ray Stachowicz had better averages than Jarrett. As a sophomore in 1999, he earned first-team All-Big Ten credentials. Jarrett’s best single punt was an 81-yard missile versus Penn State in 1998, the third-longest kick on MSU’s all-time list. 

Following his NFL career from 2002-2004, Jarrett became State’s quality control coach for offense and special teams (2006-08). In 2010, he earned a Master’s degree at the University of Indianapolis in special education and teaching. 

Jarrett is now a sales representative at Medco Sports Medicine in Indianapolis.

MSU’s career punting average leaders:  
 1. 45.21 - G. Montgomery - 1985-87  
 2. 45.00 - Brandon Fields - 2002-06  
 3. 43.80 - R. Mojsiejenko - 1981-84  
 4. 43.30 - Ray Stachowicz - 1977-80  
 5. 42.91 - Craig Jarrett - 1998-01  
 6. 42.19 - Mike Sadler - 2009-14  
 7. 41.95 - Aaron Bates - 2007-10  
 8. 41.04 - Josh Butland - 1988-91  
 9. 40.20 - Jason Daily - 2002-03  
10. 40.01 - Paul Edinger - 1996-99

Ken Mannie

June 28, 2017
Entering his 23rd year as Spartan football’s head strength and conditioning coach for football and overall director for all men’s and women’s sports is Ken Mannie. He celebrates his 65th birthday on July 1. 

Mannie was a three-year letterman and two-year starter at offensive guard for Akron from 1971-73, then spent nine of the next 10 years teaching and coaching at his alma mater, Steubenville (Ohio) Catholic Central High School. In 1984 he served as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State University, a team whose coaching staff included Mark Dantonio. A year later, Manning became head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Toledo and he continued in that role until Dec. 8, 1994. 

He’s been the strength coach for Spartan mentors Nick Saban, Bobby Williams, John L. Smith and Dantonio. The hundreds of athletes who’ve been trained by his “Fourth Quarter” and “Bottom Line” offseason conditioning programs have helped Michigan State football achieve 163 victories, including six bowl game championships. 

Over the last seven seasons alone, Mannie has helped Dantonio’s Spartan football teams compile a winning percentage of .731. Michigan State’s Varsity S Club inducted him as an honorary member. 

Mannie and his wife, the former Marianne Saccoccia, have a daughter, Alaina.

Val Washington

Val Washington

June 20, 2017
Celebrating his 65th birthday on June 21st is former Michigan State lacrosse star Valdemar “Val” Washington. A Spartan letter winner from 1971-74, he held the school’s all-time goal-scoring record with 77. State’s co-captain as a senior, Washington twice earned first-team all-conference honors for the Midwest Lacrosse Association. He played his first two seasons for MSU coach Ted Swoboda, then one year each for Bob Stevenson and Fred Hartman. During his academic career at MSU, he was a Rhodes Scholar nominee. Upon his graduation in 1975, Washington completed his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan’s Law School the following year. He maintained an independent law practice in the Flint area from 1978-86, then became chief judge of the Genesee County Circuit Court and visiting judge to the Michigan Court of Appeals for the next 10 years. During that same span, he was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Count as the Interim Chief Judge for the 22nd District Court in Inkster. In 1996, when he retired from the bench, Washington started the formal process of judge-conducted settlement conferences in all of his civil and family law cases. He’s also served as special master for the Detroit Edison Company and as Deputy State Treasurer for the Michigan Department of Treasury. Today, Washington heads SETTLEmate, an alternative dispute resolution services company. His sons, Val Jr. and Chris, followed in his athletic footsteps, playing lacrosse at Johns Hopkins and Washington and Lee, respectively.

Payton Fuller

Payton Fuller

June 4, 2017
Happy 74th Birthday (June 3) to former Michigan State men’s soccer All-American Payton Fuller. 

A three-time letter winner from 1963-65 for Coach Gene Kenney’s Spartans, he was recruited to East Lansing from Kingston, Jamaica. Fuller earned first-team All-America honors in 1964 as a junior. He played with MSU stars Guy Busch, Nick Krat, George Janes, Louie Eckhardt and Charlie Dedich. 

Together, during those three seasons, State compiled a cumulative overall record of 29-4-2 and twice appeared in the NCAA Championship game (1964 and ’65). Fuller scored 18 career goals during his career. He was an all-star in the classroom as well, compiling nearly a 4.0 grade point average. 

In 1970, Fuller succeeded Kenney as MSU’s head coach, becoming the first black head coach of a Big Ten program. From 1970-73, the Spartans had a respectable 20-8-9 record. Fuller went on to earn his doctorate in mechanical engineering and to hold several key positions in the auto industry. 

He’s now a mathematics professor at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.

Sam Vincent

Sam Vincent

May 18, 2017
James Samuel “Sam” Vincent celebrates his 54th birthday on May 18. The State of Michigan’s very first “Mr. Basketball” starred at Lansing Eastern High School, scoring a city record 61 points in one game his senior year. He went on to become a star for Jud Heathcote’s Michigan State Spartans basketball team.

His career, by the numbers:

3      His ranking on MSU’s all-time scoring list when he graduated in 1985

4      Number of times Sam scored more than 30 points in a game as a senior, including 32 in his collegiate finale vs. Alabama-Birmingham

5      His ranking on State’s assists list when his career ended (306 in 110 games).

11     Sam’s jersey number at MSU

17     Free throws he converted vs. Ohio State in 1983 (in 17 attempts)

16.8   His career points-per-game average as a Spartan

23.7   His points-per-game average in 1984-85, winning the Big Ten scoring title

39     Career-high number of points Sam scored at Purdue his senior year

117    Assists he dealt as a senior in 1984-85

476    MSU-record number of career free throws Sam made (of 593)

.803    Sam’s career free throw percentage

1,851   Career points he scored from 1981-85 for Michigan State

Earl Morrall

Earl Morrall

May 16, 2017
This week marks the 83rd anniversary of the birth of Michigan State football Hall of Famer Earl Morrall.  

As a teenager, he led Muskegon High School to the state football title in 1951, igniting a furious recruiting battle between coaches Biggie Munn of MSU, Bennie Oosterbaan of Michigan and Frank Leahy of Notre Dame. Of course, Morrall eventually chose the Spartans and he replaced All-American quarterback Tom Yewcic in 1954. 

In ’54 and ’55, Morrall threw a total of 167 passes, completing 81, for a total of 1,736 yards and 11 touchdowns. He concluded his collegiate career by leading MSU past UCLA in the 1956 Rose Bowl. 

Morrall’s greatest fame came at the professional level. San Francisco made him the second overall pick of the 1956 NFL Draft, but after only one season with the 49ers, he was traded to Pittsburgh in ’57, then to Detroit in ‘58. Morrall spent the 1965-67 seasons with the New York Giants until Baltimore acquired him in 1968 to back up Johnny Unitas. It was because of a Unitas injury in 1968 that Morrall achieved his first major honor as the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. The Colts lost Super Bowl III to the New York Jets. 

Two years later, Morrall again led the Colts to the Super Bowl (V), this time to a victory over Washington. In 1972, he was claimed on waivers by Miami. He replaced injured Dolphins QB Bob Griese in mid October of 1972 and paced Miami to a victory in Super Bowl VIII and a perfect 17-0 record. 

Morrall retired on May 2, 1977 with an NFL career total of 20,809 passing yards and 161 touchdowns. He died on April 25, 2014.

Gene Kenney

Gene Kenney

May 14, 2017
A wrestling letter winner at the University of Illinois, Gene Kenney joined Michigan State’s staff in 1955, serving as assistant wrestling coach and as a physical education instructor. He also was the advisor of the club soccer team. 

When MSU lifted soccer to varsity status in 1956, Spartan director of athletics Biggie Munn named Kenney as the team’s head coach. From 1956-69, he directed the Spartans to a 14-year record of 120 victories, 13 losses and 13 ties (.866 winning percentage). Among eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, Kenney’s 1967 and ’68 teams were both national co-champions. His 1964 and 1965 teams took second place, and Kenney's 1966 team took third place. In 1967, both US Soccer Magazine and Pro Soccer Magazine named him National Collegiate Coach of the Year.

Kenney coached 13 first-team All-Americans and six second-team All-Americans during his Spartan tenure. Two of his former players have also served as head coach of the Spartan soccer team. Former MSU All-American Payton Fuller coached the Spartans from 1970-73, and Joe Baum headed the program from 1978-2008.

In 1970 Munn named Kenney as assistant athletics director and ultimately served the position under five ADs. Kenney oversaw the building and renovation of many athletic buildings, including Munn Ice Arena and The Jack Breslin Student Event Center. He also founded and directed the Summer Sports School, the nation’s first of its kind.

Kenney retired from MSU in 1994 and, 11 years later, was inducted into Michigan State’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He celebrates his 89th birthday on May 15.

Mitch Lyons

Mitch Lyons

May 11, 2017
Happy 47th birthday to former Michigan State football standout Mitch Lyons on May 13. 

A 1988 graduate of Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern High School, he was recruited by Spartan head coach George Perles. 

Lyons was redshirted as a freshman, then played sparingly his next two seasons. In 1991, he had 16 catches for 146 yards, including a five-reception performance against Michigan. Lyons started all 11 games at tight end his senior year, finishing second in individual catches to Mill Coleman, 37 to 36, and earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. 

He was drafted in the sixth round of the 1993 NFL Draft by Atlanta and played for the Falcons from 1993-96. Lyons then signed with Pittsburgh and wore a Steelers jersey for three seasons. 

A knee injury ended his career in 1999 and he moved home to Rockford to begin his career in financial services. Today, he’s a principal owner of Lyons Kitzrow Wealth Advisors. Lyons has been very active in his community, serving on boards that have included the YMCA, Mentor One and the West Michigan Sports Awards. 

He was elected to Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees for an eight-year term beginning January 1, 2011. Mitch and his wife, Angela, have six children.

Flozell Adams

Flozell Adams

May 9, 2017
Celebrating his 42nd birthday this week--May 10--is former Michigan State football star Flozell Adams. 

A Chicago native and graduate of Proviso West High School, he didn’t begin playing football until his junior year. So outstanding were his two all-star seasons as a prep gridder that the Panthers retired his number 76. Coach Nick Saban recruited Adams to MSU in 1994. 

The 6-7, 335-pound offensive tackle, nicknamed “The Hotel”, was a starter from 1995-97. As a junior, he earned second-team All-Big Ten laurels, then was named the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year and a first-team All-American his senior year. 

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Adams in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft and he became a 10-game starter as a rookie. When Bill Parcells became the Cowboys coach in 2003, Adams earned the first of five Pro Bowl honors. He was released by Dallas following the 2009 season, then signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

In April of 2014, Adams presented a $1.5 million gift to Michigan State’s athletics department. As a result, MSU’s home locker room in Spartan Stadium was named for Flozell's late mother, Rachel Adams. Today, Adams resides in Morton, Ill.

Drew Neitzel

Drew Neitzel

May 7, 2017
DREW NEITZEL - By the Numbers

Today (May 7) is former Michigan State basketball star Drew Neitzel’s 32nd birthday. The four-time letter winner from Wyoming Park High School co-captained the Spartans in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and ranks as one of MSU’s best three-point shooters of all-time. 

Neitzel’s career, by the numbers:

1    Times he led MSU in assists (189 in 2005-06).

2    Number of seasons he led MSU in three-point field goals.

3    Neitzel’s ranking on State’s career list for three-pointers (273), behind Shawn Respert (331) and Chris Hill (306).

5    Where he ranks on MSU career assists list (582).

11   Neitzel's jersey number as a sophomore, junior and senior.

12    His jersey number as a freshman at MSU.

.866    Neitzel’s career free throw percentage, tops among all Spartans.

.879    His single-season best mark for free throw percentage (2006-07), best ever by a Spartan junior.

17    Neitzel’s ranking on MSU’s career scoring list (1,534 points).

98    Number of games he won during his Spartan career (40 losses).

117    Career starts he made at Michigan State (in 138 games).

Mike Eddington

Mike Eddington

May 4, 2017
Thirty-three years ago this week -- May 6, 1984 -- Michigan State senior Mike Eddington broke Kirk Gibson’s single-season record for home runs and runs batted in, pacing the Spartans past Michigan. His 16th and 17th long balls topped Gibson’s 1978 record of 16, while his 53rd RBI bettered Kirk’s mark of 52. 

Eddington eventually finished the ’84 season with MSU records in home runs (20), RBI (66), runs (59) and total bases (143), and second in slugging percentage (.773) to Al Luplow. Those statistics earned the Spartan senior captain first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-America honors. 

Eddington was chosen in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by Oakland, but spent only one year in the minors before pursuing a career in education. He’s been a physical education teacher and head baseball coach at Grand Rapids Union High School since 1998. 

MSU’s single-season home run leaders list:
20    Mike Eddington, 1984
16    Kirk Gibson, 1978
16    Matt Riggins, 1996
16    Bob Malek, 2002
15    Chris McCuiston, 2002
14    Rob Ellis, 1971
14    Kyle Geswein, 2002
13    Ryan Krill, 2015
13    Travis Gulick, 2003
13    Jim Sepanek, 1985
13    Scott Ayotte, 1995

Chuck Davey

Chuck Davey

May 2, 2017
Wednesday marks the 92nd anniversary of the birth of Spartan boxing star Chuck Davey, a charter member of Michigan State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame. 

College boxing’s only four-time champion—1943, ’47, ’48 & ’49—he had an undefeated record in collegiate competition. 

A member of the United States’ 1948 Olympic Team, Davey became a professional in 1949. Over his first 39 pro fights, he had 37 wins and two draws, including victories over Carmen Basilio and Rocky Graziano. On Feb. 11, 1953, Davey fought Kid Gavilan for the world welterweight title, but he lost on a technical knockout decision after nine rounds. 

Davey fought only nine more times after that and ended his career with a record of 42 wins, five losses and two draws. 

The Detroit native then became boxing commissioner for the state of Michigan as well as a successful insurance salesman. 

A tragic swimming accident in 1998 broke Davey’s neck and left him paralyzed from the neck down. He died on December 4, 2002, at the age of 77.

Barb Mucha

Barb Mucha

April 30, 2017
Thirty-three years ago--April 29, 1984--Michigan State women’s golfer Barb Mucha became only the fourth Spartan to earn All-Big Ten honors. 

MSU’s co-captain from Parma Heights, Ohio won three tournaments that season, including the Illinois State, Michigan and Ohio State invitationals. 

A six-time winner on the FUTURES Tour, Mucha became a successful LPGA competitor, winning five tournaments. One of those was the 1992 Oldsmobile Classic. 

She tied for 17th place in the 1993 U.S. Women's Open, then tied for ninth at the 1997 Women's PGA Championship.

Seven times, Mucha ranked among the top 50 on the LPGA’s season earnings list, highlighted by a 15th-place finish in 1996. Since her rookie season in 1987, she’s earned more than $2.4 million. Three times, Mucha recorded LPGA holes in one. 

Today, she’s a golf professional in the Orlando, Fla. area.

1966 Michigan State Football Media Guide

Spartan NFL Draft Trivia

April 27, 2017
On Thursday, April 27, the annual NFL Draft festivities begin in Philadelphia. Over the first 81 years of the NFL Draft, 39 Spartans have been first-round NFL draft picks … 25 have been second-round picks … and 19 have been third-round picks. Here's more historical trivia about Michigan State football and the NFL Draft:

• The most Spartans taken in a single-NFL Draft was 10. In 1973, Billy Joe DuPree and Joe DeLamielleure were both first-round picks, while Brad VanPelt was #40 overall in the second round. By the way, that 1972 Spartan squad, Duffy Daugherty’s final team, had a record of 5-5-1. 

• In the 1967 NFL Draft, eight players from the great 1966 Spartan team were drafted, four of whom went among the first eight picks of the draft. Defensive lineman Bubba Smith was chosen first overall, while teammate Clinton Jones was selected No. 2.  George Webster and Gene Washington were picked fifth and eighth, respectively.  

• Who was MSU’s very first first-round draft pick? Sid Wagner, a product of Lansing Central High School, was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 1936 NFL Draft. He played in only five games in 1936, but then appeared in all eleven games for the Lions in both the 1937 and 1938 seasons. In August of 1939, Wagner announced his retirement from football, devoting his time to an engineering career.  

• When Johnny Pingel was chosen in the first round of the 1938 Draft, that marked the second of three Michigan State players tabbed in the first round. 

• Which Spartan, a fourth-round pick in the 1982 NFL Draft, had the longest NFL career? Only the legendary George Blanda played more NFL seasons that MSU kicker Morten Andersen (25 years). The "Great Dane", a native of Copenhagen, was drafted by New Orleans in the fourth round (No. 86 overall). With 2,544 points, the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Famer stands as the all-time leading scorer for the NFL. His points come from connecting on 849 PATs and 565 field goals. 

• A Spartan has never been a “Mr. Irrevelent” (the final player chosen). Over the last 50 years, Spartan center Bob McClowry came the closest in 1973, selected sixth from the bottom in the 17th and final round by the Cleveland Browns (437th pick). 

• Perhaps the most underrated Spartan in the eyes of NFL drafters was 1985 NFL draftee Jim Morrissey who went in the 11th round (#302 overall). He played nine seasons in the NFL, including with the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears.

• MSU has had first-round picks each of the last three seasons: Darqueze Dennard (to Cincinnati in 2014), Trae Waynes (to Minnesota in 2015), and Jack Conklin (to Tennessee in 2016). 

"Dutch" Kemeling

Reinier "Dutch" Kemeling

April 25, 2017
Michigan State’s first three-time All-American, Reinier “Dutch” Kemeling, celebrates his 82nd birthday on April 26 at his home in Moncks Corner, S.C. 

The son of a Dutch father and a German mother, he emigrated from Rotterdam, Holland to the United States in November of 1952 at the age of 17, eventually residing in Racine, Wis. 

In 1954, Kemeling joined the U.S. Air Force and served at the Laon Air Base in France. Despite Kemeling’s lack of a former high school education, Jack Breslin helped the 25-year old naturalized American get admitted to Michigan State. “Dutch” soon hooked up with Spartan soccer coach Gene Kenney and began a three-year All-America career in 1960. As a junior in 1961, he anchored a defense that only allowed six goals. And in 1962, Kemeling captained the 9-2 Spartans to a berth in the NCAA Tournament semifinals, capping a career that saw his Green and White teams compile a mark of 25-4. 

He played in one game for the Spartan football team, kicking off for Michigan State against Iowa in 1960. That experience earned Kemeling a brief career in semi-professional football, kicking for the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Warriors and the Racine Raiders. He served as President of MSU’s Varsity Club in 1963. 

Kemeling was inducted into the Wisconsin Soccer Hall of Fame in 1995 as both a player and a coach, then the Serbian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001.

Ted Bell

Ted Bell

April 23, 2017
Ted Bell marks his 62nd birthday on April 23. He was recruited to East Lansing by Coach Denny Stolz’s staff in 1973, Bell’s senior season at Youngstown, Ohio’s Cardinal Mooney High School. 

Injuries beset the talented running back throughout his career at Michigan State, but his very first knee injury occurred in the final game of a season that produced 2,145 yards and 31 touchdowns. 

Bell was sidelined for his entire freshman campaign at MSU and his long-awaited collegiate debut didn’t come until the following season in the opener versus Ohio State. His performance was highlighted by a 29-yard run. Unfortunately, it was on that run that he was injured yet again. By 1976, the coaching staff had changed and Bell was switched from running back to defensive back. However, his damaged knees wouldn’t cooperate and his football career ended. 

Bell retired from Lansing’s Wholert Corporation in 2015 and now resides in Las Vegas.

Pat Narduzzi

Pat Narduzzi

April 20, 2017
Happy 51st birthday on Saturday (April 22) to former Spartan football defensive coordinator and now University of Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi. 

From 2010-14, when Michigan State compiled a cumulative 53-14 record, the Spartans were the Big Ten's undisputed statistical leaders on defense. MSU finished first in total defense among Big Ten teams three of Narduzzi's last four years, yielding just 280 yards per game over that span. The majority of that success since 2011 was due to the fact that State finished first four straight times in rushing defense. 

Over Narduzzi's last four seasons, nine Spartan defensive players earned All-Big Ten first-team honors on 14 occasions:

2007:  Jonal Saint-Dic (DE)

2008:  Greg Jones (LB & Otis Wiley (SS)

2009:  Greg Jones

2010: Greg Jones

2011:  Johnny Adams (CB), Trenton Robinson (S) & Jerel Worthy (DT)

2012:  Johnny Adams (CB), Max Bullough (LB, Darqueze Dennard (CB)

2013:  Max Bullough (LB), Shilique Calhoun (DE), Darqueze Dennard (CB), Kurtis Drummond (S) & Isaiah Lewis (S)

2014:  Kurtis Drummond (S), Shilique Calhoun (DE) & Trae Waynes (CB)

Rick Miller

Rick Miller

April 18, 2017
Celebrating his 69th birthday on April 19 is former Michigan State baseball standout Richard “Rick” Miller. 

A baseball, basketball and football all-star at Grand Rapids Union High School, MSU originally recruited Miller as a pitcher, but his potent bat convinced Coach Danny Litwhiler to turn him into an everyday player. 

Miller won the Big Ten batting title his junior year (1969) with a .429 average, then became the No. 2 pick of the Boston Red Sox in Major League Baseball’s ‘69 draft. 

Miller was called up to the Red Sox to finish the 1971 season. In his first game as a big leaguer, on September 4, 1971, he swung at the first pitch he saw from Cleveland’s Phil Hennigan and doubled off the left-field wall at Fenway Park. He went 11-for-33 that first season, subbing in for outfield duty with Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Smith and Billy Conigliaro. 

With the emergence of Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in center and left field, and with Dwight Evans solidifying his job in right field, Miller’s playing time got reduced and he was dealt to the California Angels where he played from 1978-80. The Gold Glove outfielder rejoined the Sox in 1981 and retired following the ’85 season with a 15-year average of .269, including 28 home runs and 369 RBI. 

Following his playing career, Miller coached at Colby-Sawyer College, worked for Boston’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and coached in the minors. Today, he resides in Boston and runs his own baseball school.

Ryan Brehm

Ryan Brehm

April 16, 2017
Former Spartan golfer and coach Ryan Brehm, a native of Mount Pleasant, is now playing on the PGA Tour. 

In January of 2017, at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, he tied for 41st place and won nearly $23,000.

Brehm, who stands 6-4 and weighs 220 pounds, had an outstanding collegiate career at Michigan State, being selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2005, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors his sophomore and senior seasons, and second-team all-conference kudos as a junior. 

He served as Spartan golf’s assistant coach from 2010-12 and currently ranks No. 1 on MSU’s career average list.

Career Strokes Average (minimum 50 rounds played):
73.30 Ryan Brehm (2004-08)
73.51 Matt Harmon (2004-07)
73.59 Jack Newman (2006-10)
73.79 Eric Jorgensen (1999-03)
74.19 Payne Gniewek (2007-09)
74.19 Andrew Ruthkoski (2001-05)
74.84 Matthew Moseley (2009-13)
74.94 Randy Hutchison (2005-08)
74.99 Brian Bartolec (1991-95)
74.99 Heath Fell (1989-94)

Rod Brind'Amour

Rod Brind'Amour:
By the Numbers

April 13, 2017
Twenty-nine years ago today--April 13, 1988--Michigan State hockey coach Ron Mason signed Rod Brind-Amour to National Letter of Intent. Though he only played one season with the Spartans, he went on to a sensational 20-season career in the National Hockey League. Immediately following his year in East Lansing (1988-89), Brind’Amour signed with the St. Louis Blues.

His career, by the numbers:

1 – Brind’Amour scored a goal on his very first NHL shot with the Blues. 

2 – He once scored two short-handed goals during a single power play.

6 – Seasons Brind’Amour served as captain for the Carolina Hurricanes (2005-10).

9 – He was the ninth overall pick in the NHL’s 1988 Entry Draft. 

17 – His jersey number for the Hurricanes, retired by the club in 2011.

37 – Career-best number of goals he scored for the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1992-93 season.

44 – His NHL career ranking for assists (732).

54 – Brind'Amour’s career ranking in NHL history for goals (452).

62 – Career-high number of assists he dealt for the Flyers in 1993-94.

484 – Consecutive NHL games in which he played for the Philadelphia Flyers.

1,484 – Career regular-season games he played in the NHL

Dan Underwood

Dan Underwood

April 11, 2017
Dan Underwood, co-captain of Michigan State’s 1963 football team, celebrates his 75th birthday on April 12 from his home in Lansing. 

A high school teammate of fellow lineman Dave Behrman at Dowagiac, Underwood’s parents once thought Dan wouldn’t do much of any physical exercise after a childhood illness caused one leg to be shorter than the other. Coach Duffy Daugherty first positioned Underwood at guard, then moved him to end late in his sophomore season. Despite his 6-0, 204-pound frame, he eventually ended up at defensive end and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1963. 

Underwood played two years in the now defunct Continental Football League, then became head coach at the University of New Brunswick in Canada. He was named Canadian College Coach of the Year in 1970. 

In 1973, after two years as an assistant at Central Michigan, new Spartan head coach Denny Stolz named Underwood as his linebackers coach. He stayed in that role at MSU for seven seasons, then moved on to Arizona State as a member of Darryl Rogers’ staff from 1980-83. In 1984, he became head coach at Ferris State, compiling a record of eight wins and 12 losses. 

When Stolz became head coach at San Diego State, he named Underwood as associate head coach and mentor for the Aztecs’ running backs and tight ends. One of his most notable players was future Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk.

Don Fleser

Don Fleser

April 9, 2017
Don Fleser is probably the greatest Michigan State baseball hitter you’ve never heard of. 

From 1925 through 1927, Fleser was Coach John Kobs’ star player and top hitter. As a sophomore in 1925, the Albion-born standout collected 33 hits in 56 at bats for a .667 batting average. That average still stands as MSU’s single-season record. 

In 1926, Fleser’s average “dipped” to .589 (54-of-81), lowering his two-year average to an amazing .635 (87-of-137). 

As a senior in 1927, he recorded a still impressive .404 average in a 13-8 Spartan season. 

Though MSU records do not specify how many hits and official at bats Fleser had in ’27, it’s estimated that he ended his Michigan State career with a batting average of .548. 

In 1959, Don’s son, John, was Spartan baseball’s top hitter with a .347 average. 

Don Fleser was married to his wife, Margaret (Preston), on June 6, 1931. He went on to become an executive with General Motors. Fleser died on July 11, 1980 at the age of 74.

Brad Van Pelt

Brad Van Pelt

April 6, 2017
Yesterday--April 5--would have been former Spartan three-sport star Brad Van Pelt’s 66th birthday. When he died in 2009, teammate Joe DeLamielleure referred to the Owosso native as “a modern day Jim Thorpe.” 

Van Pelt excelled in football for Coach Duffy Daugherty, twice earning first-team All-America honors as a strong safety. In 1972, he became the first defensive back ever to receive the Maxwell Award as the nation's top collegiate player. His three-season statistics included 256 tackles and 14 interceptions. 

As a basketball player for Gus Ganakas, Van Pelt earned varsity letters in 1971 and ’72. 

And, as a right-handed pitcher for Coach Danny Litwhiler, his two-year baseball stats included 94 strikeouts in 64.1 innings, a 4-3 record and a 2.10 ERA. Van Pelt led State to the 1971 Big Ten title and, in 1972, helped the Spartans finish second in the conference. Such a great prospect was Van Pelt that he was drafted by five different Major League Baseball clubs. 

Professionally, he played 14 seasons in the National Football League, winning all-pro honors five times for the New York Giants (1976-80). His Giants teammates included Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. Van Pelt also played for the Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns. 

He returned to Michigan State to complete coursework for his degree in 1998 and, two years later, he was elected to the Sports Hall of Fame at Michigan State University. Van Pelt’s son, Bradlee, played for the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans.

Dick Radatz

Dick Radatz

April 2, 2017
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and second-team All-America laurels for Michigan State’s baseball team in 1959. That season he compiled a 10-1 won-lost record and an earned-run average of 1.12 while striking out 106 batters in 96 innings.

Radatz’s three-year career pitching statistics at MSU included 17 victories and 193 strikeouts, the latter ranking second-best at the time in the Spartan record book.

He went on to a fine major league career, compiling a 52-43 record with five clubs in seven seasons (1962-69). Radatz was a two-time All-Star (1963 and ’64) and led the American League in saves in both 1962 and ’64. 

His ’63 season was his best, saving 25 games and compiling a 15-6 record with a 1.97 ERA. Radatz finished fifth in A.L. Most Valuable Player balloting, finishing behind Elston Howard, Al Kaline, Whitey Ford and Harmon Killebrew. 

Born April 2, 1937, Radatz died at the age of 67 in 2005 following a fall at his home in Easton, Mass.

The scene in 2000

Spartan Semifinals Trivia

March 30, 2017
Michigan State’s basketball team has appeared nine times in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. The Spartans’ have been victorious three times in their previous Final Four match-ups. Other MSU semifinal trivia that you may not know:

* In State’s first-ever NCAA semifinal game (1957), the Spartans lost to eventual champ North Carolina in triple overtime, 74-70. Coach Frank McGuire 30-0 Tar Heels went on to defeat Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas, also in triple OT.

* In four of MSU’s Final Four appearances, a second Big Ten team has been part of the field (1999, Ohio State; 2000, Wisconsin; 2005, Illinois; 2015, Wisconsin).

* Michigan State has shot better than 43% percent from the field in only one of its previous semifinal games (63.3% in 1979).

* Traditionally, the Spartans have never shot well from three-point land in an NCAA semifinal game (25-of-99, .253). Their best showing from the three-point arc came in 2010 vs. Butler (4-of-11, .364).

* MSU’s 34-point winning margin against Pennsylvania (101-67) in the 1979 semifinals tied the largest in NCAA history.

* Each of the three times State has advanced to the championship game, it has led at halftime.

* The top two individual Spartan performances in semifinal appearances came in 1979 vs. Penn when Earvin Johnson scored 29 points and Gregory Kelser added 28 points.

Forest Akers

Forest Akers

March 28, 2017
A Spartan baseball letter winner, Forest Akers was a major donor towards establishing Michigan State University's Forest Akers Golf Course. Born on a farm near Williamston, he attended MSU (then Michigan Agricultural College) from 1905 to 1908. 

Akers worked for $60 a month as a plow and farm machinery salesman until joining the Reo Motor Car Company in 1914. Three years later, he was promoted to sales manager. Akers joined the Chrysler Corporation in 1920 and advanced to manager of the Detroit region in 1930 and to vice president in 1938. He retired from Chrysler in 1947.  

In 1939, Akers was elected to Michigan State’s State Board of Agriculture (now referred to as the Board of Trustees). He was re-elected to six-year terms in 1945 and 1951.

MSU named a residence hall in his honor in 1957 when Akers retired from the MSU governing board. He was named trustee emeritus of MSU in 1958, and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws that same year.

In 1966, Akers donated $200,000 to the University to establish two golf courses and a $45,000 scholarship and loan fund. He continued to be active in MSU affairs throughout his later years when he was president of the Dependable Insurance Corp. of Jacksonville, Florida.

Akers died December 8, 1966 at the age of 79 in Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, following a long illness.

Goran Suton

March 27th in NCAA Tournament History

March 26, 2017
March 27 has been a special date in Spartan basketball history. In three of MSU’s four tournament games played on that date, the Spartans have performed admirably.

March 27, 1999: In front of 41,340 fans at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field, 37-1 Duke toppled 33-5 Michigan State, 68-62, to advance to the NCAA championship game against UConn. Duke’s Elton Brand, William Avery and Chris Carrawell outscored the Spartan trio Morris Peterson, Mateen Cleaves and Andre Hutson, 45 to 40, but the Blue Devils’ stingy defense allowed MSU to shoot only 37 percent from the field.

March 27, 2005: In Austin, Tex., a double-overtime thriller ended in Michigan State’s favor with Tom Izzo’s Spartans defeating Kentucky, 94-88. Patrick Sparks' desperation three-pointer at the end of regulation sent the Wildcats and Spartans into a first overtime period, but a clutch effort at the free throw line by Kelvin Torbert (5-of-6) and Alan Anderson (4-of-4) in the second extra stanza, wrapped up the victory and moved State onto the Final Four in St. Louis.

March 27, 2009: Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas scored seven of his team-high 20 points in the last 49 seconds, including five-of-five free throws, to pace Michigan State past defending national champ Kansas, 67-62, in Indianapolis. MSU overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to advance on to play Louisville for a berth in the Final Four. Goran Suton had a season-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds and five steals.

March 27, 2015: In possession of the ball and leading Oklahoma by a score of 58-56 in the final minute, MSU missed a pair of shots but was able to corral a pair of offensive rebounds. Denzel Valentine was fouled on the second one and converted a pair of pressure-packed free throws to give the Spartans a 62-58 victory and a berth in the Elite Eight. Coach Tom Izzo's club committed a season-low five turnovers.

A.J. Granger

This Date in Spartan History

March 23, 2017
• March 23, 1955: MSU’s Board of Trustees approved plans for Forrest Akers Golf Course.

• March 23, 1957: In the NCAA Final Four’s consolation game, the Spartan basketball team’s appearance was defeated by San Francisco, 67-60. George Ferguson led MSU with 14 points.

• March 23, 1984: Bowling Green topped Michigan State, 2-1, at the NCAA semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y.

• March 23, 1986: The Spartan hockey team advanced to the NCAA’s Frozen Four with a 4-2 win over Boston College at Munn Arena. MSU finished its home season with a 20-1-2 record.

• March 23, 1990: Kenny Anderson’s controversial buzzer-beater at the end of regulation and Dennis Scott’s jumper with eight seconds left in overtime led Georgia Tech past Michigan State, 81-80, in an NCAA Sweet 16 match-up.

• March 23, 2000: Thanks to a fiery halftime speech by captain Mateen Cleaves, MSU overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Syracuse, 75-58. Morris Peterson’s 21 points and A.J. Granger’s 19 paced the Spartans.

• March 23, 2001: Charlie Bell scored 21 points and smothered Dan Dickau defensively to lead MSU past Gonzaga, 77-62.

• March 23, 2011: Former Spartan player Tom Anastos was named head coach of the Spartan hockey team. 

• March 23, 2012: Exactly one year after he was hired, Coach Tom Anastos led MSU to a first-round NCAA Tournament win over Union.

Mike Donnelly

NCAA Single-Season Scoring Leaders

March 21, 2017
Thirty-one years ago this week--March 22, 1986--Spartan senior forward Mike Donnelly tallied a three-goal hat trick vs. Boston College in the NCAA regional opener at Munn Arena. 

The scores marked his 55th, 56th and 57th goals of the 1985-86 season, tying Donnelly with Army’s Dave Merhar as college hockey’s most prolific single-season goal scorer. 

Seven days later, Michigan State would go on to win the NCAA title, 6-5 over Harvard, on Donnelly’s record 59th goal of ’85-86. As a comparison to Donnelly’s fabulous performance, the leading scorer in 2014-15 is Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey with 27 goals. 

Top NCAA single-season goal scorers:
1.   59 Mike Donnelly, MSU, 1986 
2.   57 Dave Merhar, Army, 1969 
3T. 56 Jerry Walker, Denver, 1961 
3T. 56 Dates Fryberger, Middlebury, 1961 
5.   55 Frank Chiarelli, Rensselaer, 1952 
6.   53 Tim Harrer, Minnesota, 1980 
7T. 52 Bob Joyce, North Dakota, 1987 
7T. 52 Brett Hull, Minn. Duluth, 1986 
9T. 51 Tom Ross, MSU, 1976 
9T. 51 Jack Gary, Boston Univ., 1950  

Ryan Miller

Big Games

March 16, 2017
Two huge games were played on this date—March 18—more than three decades ago. One was a heart-breaking loss that probably denied Michigan State its first national championship. The other was one of the Spartans’ most exhilarating victories, a triumph that led to an NCAA title.

March 18, 1978: Coach Jud Heathcote’s Spartans were on a roll, carrying a seven-game winning streak and a 25-4 record into their game against top-rated Kentucky. The eventual national champs had a loaded lineup: Rick Robey and Jack “Goose” Givens were the forwards, Mike Phillips played center, and Kyle Macy and James Lee manned the backcourt. Heathcote opted to employ a conservative offense that day and, with a five-point halftime lead, that appeared to be a good strategy. However, the slow-down, half-court offense did have its downfalls and freshman all-star Earvin Johnson’s stats suffered (six points and four rebounds). State’s lead evaporated and it was forced to foul. Final score: Kentucky 52, MSU 49.

March 18, 1979: Before 17,423 fans at Indianapolis’s Market Square Arena, MSU advanced to the Final Four with a rousing 80-68 victory over Notre Dame. Gregory Kelser tapped the opening tip to Magic who then flipped a pass to a streaking Mike Brkovich for a slam-dunk, and the rout was on. State got 34 points and 13 rebounds from Kelser plus 19 points and 13 assists from Magic, completely obliterating a powerful Irish lineup comprised of Bill Laimbeer, Orlando Woolridge, Kelly Tripucka, Tracy Jackson and Bill Hanzlik. Eight days and two victories later, Michigan State stood atop the college basketball world.

Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller

March 14, 2017
Sixteen years ago tomorrow--March 15, 2001--Michigan State’s Ryan Miller was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s Player of the Year. 

The NCAA leader in wins (28), goals-against average (1.36) and saves percentage (.948) had broken a 70-year-old NCAA career shutout record with his 17th career whitewash. Twenty-two days later, the East Lansing native won the Hobey Baker Award, emblematic of the nation’s top collegiate player. In June of 2001, Miller was named the Big Ten’s Men’s Athlete of the Year. Miller was the CCHA’s Goaltender of the Year in each of his three seasons at MSU, winning 73 games, including 26 by shutout. He’s still the school’s record-holder for goals-against average (1.54) and saves percentage (.941). 

Miller went on to play for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres where in 540 games he compiled a win-loss record of 284-186. In 2010, he won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender. 

He played for Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics and won a silver medal. Miller was named most valuable player of the tournament. 

In February of 2014, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues, but last July he signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks. 

In 2016-17, the 36-year-old Miller has compiled a 17-21-0 record and a 2.73 GAA for the Vancouver Canucks, and is one of 30 goaltenders in NHL history to win 300 games in his career.

Along with his father, Dean, he started the Steadfast Foundation which supports cancer patients and their families.

Kalin Lucas

Big Ten Tournament Trivia

March 7, 2017
The 20th Annual Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament begins Wednesday at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center. Here is some Spartan tournament trivia: 

• Michigan State Big Ten Tournament crowns have come in 1999, 2000, 2012, 2014 and 2016. 

• The Spartans have a 27-14 record overall in the BTT, a winning percentage of .659. 

• MSU has been the No. 1 seed four times and has compiled a record of 7-2 in that slot. 

• The Spartans have won eight of their last nine tournament games as well as 14 of their last 17 BTT contests. 

• MSU’s longest winning streak in tourney play is six games (3-0 in both 1999 and 2000). 

• State has a perfect record of 5-0 in championship games, is 6-7 in semifinal contests and is 13-6 in quarterfinal games. 

• Of its 14 tournament losses, seven have been by three points or less. 

• The single-game record for points by a Spartan player was Kalin Lucas’s 30-point effort vs. Purdue in 2011. 

• Draymond Green had an MSU-best 16 rebounds vs. Wisconsin in 2012. 

• Mateen Cleaves had a tournament-best 11 assists in 1999 vs. Wisconsin.

Mateen Cleaves

Senior Day Superlatives

March 5, 2017
Seventeen years ago yesterday (March 4, 2000), Michigan State’s Mateen Cleaves dished out 20 assists, breaking the Big Ten single-game and career assist marks along the way in his final home game. Classmates Morris Peterson and A.J. Grainger also contributed a total of 30 points as the seventh-ranked Spartans trampled Michigan, 114-63. 

Other memorable Spartan Senior Day performances of the 21st century:

2001: Andre Hutson celebrated Senior Day with a 78-57 victory over Michigan at the Breslin Center. The senior from Trotwood, Ohio scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the third-ranked Big Ten champs.

2003: Adam Ballinger hit 9-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, scoring a career-high 22 points in his last home game. The Spartans upended Iowa, 82-54.

2005: Alan Anderson (22 points), Chris Hill (21), Tim Bograkos, Andy Harvey, and Kelvin Torbert took a final bow at Breslin as No. 14 MSU dispatched Penn State, 90-64.

2009: Goran Suton celebrated Senior Day with 11 points and 10 rebounds, leading eighth-ranked MSU past No. 19 Purdue, 62-51. 2010: No. 11 Michigan State clinched a share of the Big Ten crown with a 64-48 victory over Michigan. Senior Raymar Morgan went out in style in his last home game, tallying a season-high 22 points.

2016: Senior guard Denzel Valentine scored 27 points, tying for the most by a Spartan on Senior Day under Tom Izzo. Second-ranked Michigan State beat Ohio State, 91-76, to finish the regular season with a 26-5 record.

Willie Thrower

Willie Thrower

March 2, 2017
Willie Thrower, a 1952 letter winner for Michigan State's football team, has a distinction no other player in the history of the game can claim. He was the first African-American to appear at the quarterback position in the National Football League.

A product of New Kensington, Pa., Thrower was recruited to the East Lansing campus by Coach Biggie Munn's staff, following several of his high school teammates. The senior signal-caller split time with Tom Yewcic during the '52 season, completing 29 of his 49 passes for 400 yards and five touchdowns. He scored one touchdown as a rusher. As a team, the '52 Spartans compiled a perfect 9-0 record and won the mythical national championship.

Though he wasn't drafted, Thrower signed a contract for $8,500 with the Chicago Bears. On October 18, 1953, he played his first professional game against San Francisco at Soldier Field. He completed 3-of-8 passes for 27 yards. it would turn out to be the only NFL game he'd play.

Thrower is a member of three different Halls of Fame. In 2006, a statue of Thrower was erected at Valley High School in New Kensington to honor his accomplishments.

He died in 2002 at the age of 71. Today (March 2) would have been his 87th birthday.

Denzel Valentine scored 30 points in a 2016 win vs. Indiana.

MSU Basketball's Record Against the Champs

February 28, 2017
How have the Spartans fared against the eventual conference champs and co-champs during their previous 66 seasons in the league? 

According to our research, MSU has won 24 of its 115 games against the top finishers, a winning percentage of .209. 
During a span of the last 12 seasons, Michigan State is slightly better (6-13 record, .316 winning percentage). 

Last season, MSU topped conference champ Indiana. Three years ago, the Spartans beat Michigan. Five years ago, the Spartans split their series against each of their fellow co-champs, Ohio State and Michigan. And, seven years ago, State went 1-1 against co-champ Purdue. 

On four different occasions, the Spartans have swept both games against the conference’s best team: 2002 (2-0 vs. Ohio State); 1986 (2-0 vs. Michigan); 1979 (2-0 vs. Iowa), and 1964 (2-0 vs. OSU). 

Of State’s 24 victories versus the conference champ or co-champ, MSU has won 15 of those games at home and nine games on the road. 

Marcus Taylor

This Date in Spartan History

February 26, 2017
• Feb. 26, 1965: Behind Tim Mikkola’s seven points, the Spartan hockey team beat Colorado College, 8-2.

• Feb. 26, 1966: Matt Aitch scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead MSU past Indiana, 69-63.

• Feb. 26, 1972: Mike Robinson matched Iowa’s Rich Williams with a 33-point scoring effort, but the Hawkeyes prevailed, 102-98. A demonstration by African-American activists delayed the start of the game at Jenison Field House.

• Feb. 26, 1973: Mike Robinson tallied 32 points and Bill Kilgore added 29 points and 16 rebounds to pace the Spartan basketball team past Ohio State, 87-83.

• Feb. 26, 1982: Three second-period goals by Mark Hamway helped Michigan State top Ferris State, 10-2.

• Feb. 26, 1984: With its 57-54 victory on national television, MSU became the first team in the history of Indiana’s Assembly Hall to beat the Hoosiers three times. 

• Feb. 26, 1994: Shawn Respert scored 24 points, 19 fewer than his 43 points the game before, but MSU topped Ohio State, 75-60.

• Feb. 26, 1997: Ray Weathers’s game-high 21 points led MSU past Ohio State at Columbus, 67-65.

• Feb. 26, 2002: MSU defeated 18th-ranked Ohio State at Columbus, 81-76, behind Marcus Taylor’s career-high 32 points.

Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader

February 25, 2017
Three-time Michigan State hockey letter winner and current Detroit Red Wing star Justin Abdelkader celebrates his 30th birthday Saturday (Feb. 25). 

The defenseman from Muskegon made his unique mark on Spartan history on April 7, 2007 when he scored the game-winning goal for MSU in the NCAA Championship game against Boston College. Abdelkader, a graduate of Muskegon Mona Shore High School, was named Mr. Hockey 2004 by the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches as a junior. He was a prolific scorer for the Sailors (37 goals and 43 assists) that season. 

Abdelkader played one season for Cedar Rapids of the United States Hockey Association in 2004-05 and he was the 42nd overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. 

In his second season as a Spartan, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2007 Frozen Four. 

As a junior, Abdelkader earned numerous honors, including selection to the All-America team, kudos as the CCHA’s Best Defensive Forward, and as a recipient of the 2008 Mike and Marion Ilitch Humanitarian Award. 

He was elevated to the NHL in 2008 and has played nearly 400 NHL games for the Wings. In 2016-17 (through Feb. 22), he’s tallied four goals and nine assists in 42 games.

Joe Kearney

Joe Kearney

February 21, 2017
Forty-one years ago--Feb. 22, 1976--Michigan State University named Joe Kearney as its director of athletics. He replaced Jack Shingleton, who had stepped in temporarily for the dismissed Burt Smith. 

Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Kearney enrolled at Seattle Pacific University where he played basketball. After completing his Master’s degree at San Jose State University, he secured his doctorate at the University of Washington. 

In 1969, Kearney became the Huskies A.D., eventually hiring football coach Don James and basketball coach Marv Harshman. 

Kearney’s four years at Michigan State included the hirings of Darryl Rogers in football, Jud Heathcote in basketball and Ron Mason in hockey. State’s 1978-79 season saw the Spartans capture Big Ten titles in football, men’s basketball and baseball. MSU’s basketball team also captured the NCAA title. 

In 1980, Kearney moved on to Arizona State University for six months as it’s A.D., then became the Commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference. During his 14 years with the WAC, he fashioned that conference’s first national television package for basketball. 

In 1994, Kearney retired and moved to Tucson for the rest of his life. He died in 2010 at the age of 83 after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Draymond Green

This Date in Spartan History

February 19, 2017
• Feb. 19, 1954—The Spartan hockey team skated to its second scoreless tie in history, 0-0, vs. Michigan. It snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Wolverines.

• Feb. 19, 1959—Coach Duffy Daugherty added three new assistant coaches to his staff, appointing Cal Stoll, Dan Boisture and Hank Bullough.

• Feb. 19, 1977—Jim Coutre’s best-ever performance, 18 points and nine rebounds, helped Michigan State beat Iowa, 81-79.

• Feb. 19, 1987—MSU’s basketball team won two games in a row for the first time since December, defeating Northwestern in East Lansing, 96-71.

• Feb. 19, 2000—Morris Peterson and Charlie Bell scored 15 points apiece as the Spartan topped Wisconsin for the second time in seven days.

• Feb. 19, 2005—MSU held Purdue’s Carl Landry, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, to just seven point and beat the host Boilermakers, 68-57.

• Feb. 19, 2012—Seventh-ranked Michigan State defeated Purdue, 76-62. Draymond Green missed a triple double by just three assists (20 points/10 rebounds, 7 assists).

Brian Breslin

Brian Breslin

February 16, 2017
Celebrating his 66th birthday on February 18th is former East Lansing High School and Michigan State University basketball athlete Brian Breslin. 

The son of Spartan legendary athlete and administrator Jack Breslin, he was one of three brothers to earn varsity letters at MSU. The six-foot-five-inch forward lettered in 1970-71, ’71-72 and ’73-74 for Coach Gus Ganakas’ Spartans. In 70 career games, many as a starter, Breslin averaged nearly seven points and four rebounds per game. 

Defensively, he was called upon to guard such Big Ten stars as Michigan’s Campy Russell, Indiana’s Steve Green, Illinois’ Nick Weatherspoon and Minnesota’s Jim Brewer. 

In the classroom, Breslin earned his bachelor’s degree in food systems economics and management. Shortly after graduating, he was hired by Meijer Inc. in Grand Rapids, serving as vice president for public and consumer affairs. He rose to the title of senior vice president of human resources and government relations at Meijer, retiring in 2006. In 2010, Breslin was elected to MSU’s Board of Trustees and he’s in his fifth year in that role. His term ends in January of 2019. 

Breslin and his wife, Melinda, reside in Alto, Mich. They have four adult children.

Craig Simpson

Craig Simpson

February 14, 2017
Making his Spartan hockey debut when he was 16 years old, Craig Simpson only played two seasons for Coach Ron Mason at Michigan State. In his very first game—Oct. 14, 1983—the phenom from London, Ontario, tallied a pair of goals in a 5-2 victory over Northeastern at Munn Arena. 

In 46 games, Simpson tallied 14 goals and assisted on 43 other scores for a team-leading 57 points, helping pace the Spartans to a 34-12 record. He led State again in scoring as a sophomore, more than doubling his goal production (31) and increasing his assists total as well (53). 

The son of Canadian Olympic skater Marion Simpson, Craig was drafted in the first round, second overall, by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, behind Wendel Clark. Halfway through his third season with the Penguins, he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Paul Coffey. Simpson flourished with his new team, playing on a line with future Hall of Famers Mark Messier and Glenn Anderson. Twice he won Stanley Cups with the Oilers (1988 and ’90). Shortly after being dealt to the Buffalo Sabres in 1993, Simpson incurred a serious back injury, one that would eventually end his playing career at age 28. In 634 NHL games, he accounted for 247 goals and 250 assists. 

Celebrating his 50th birthday on February 15th, Simpson is now a color analyst for Hockey Night in Canada’s telecasts.

Frederick Cowles Jenison

This Date in Spartan History

February 12, 2017

• Feb. 12, 1855—Governor Kinsley S. Bingham signs a law founding the Agricultural College of Michigan (MSU).

• Feb. 12, 1939—Frederick Cowles Jenison, the benefactor of Jenison Field House, dies at the age of 57.

• Feb. 12, 1941—Michigan State’s Bill Burk hits a layup with 35 seconds to go and the Spartans hang on for a 35-32 victory over Michigan, its first win in six games vs. the Wolverines.

• Feb. 12, 1972—Mike Robinson tallies a career-high 38 points to pace MSU to a 100-91 win at Iowa. State breaks the century mark for the first time since 1965.

• Feb. 12, 1983—Mark Hamway scores four goals in Michigan State’s 5-4 overtime win over Michigan Tech.

• Feb. 12, 1990—Kirk Manns ties his own Big Ten record with eight three-pointers (30 total points) and leads the Spartan at Iowa, 80-70.

• Feb. 12, 1997—Antonio Smith’s layup with 2.5 seconds left beats Iowa, 69-67, at East Lansing.

• Feb. 12, 2000—MSU tops Wisconsin, 61-44, at Madison, marking the first of four Spartan victories over the Badgers during the season. Morris Peterson scores 18 points and grabs 10 rebounds.

• Feb. 12, 2005—MSU made its first five shots of the first half and its first six shots of the second hand to beat visiting Michigan, 64-49.

Ray Lane

Ray Lane

February 9, 2017
Happy 86th Birthday to Michigan State University baseball alumnus Ray Lane. He played for Coach John Kobs as a Spartan, lettering in 1951 and ’52. As a senior centerfielder, the native of Plymouth, Michigan and product of Mackenzie High School led MSU in hits with 35 and total bases with 52. Lane posted a .313 average in the Spartans’ Big Ten games. Lane briefly played in the Chicago White Sox organization, then joined the Army. 

After leaving the service, the MSU radio and TV major’s broadcasting career began in Cadillac, Michigan. Lane then moved to Waterloo, Iowa where he was a staff announcer for KWWL Radio. A three-year stint at WNEM-TV in Saginaw followed that. Lane returned to Detroit to work at WJBK-TV, eventually succeeding the immortal Van Patrick as channel two’s sports director. 

He served two seasons with George Kell in the Tigers’ TV booth, then became Ernie Harwell’s sidekick on the Tigers’ radio team from 1967 through ’72. Lane’s highlight came in 1968 when the Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. 

He was a fixture in Michigan broadcasting for nearly five decades. Lane was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and is a past President and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association. He was awarded the Ernie Harwell Lifetime Contribution Award in 2014. 

Lane has been a member of the Corporate Leadership Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Detroit since 1972. His daughter, Deanne, served as news anchor of KSDK-TV in St. Louis for 25 years.

Bob and Bill Carey

Bob & Bill Carey

February 7, 2017
Born 87 years ago tomorrow--Feb. 8, 1932--were Michigan State’s renowned twins Bob and Bill Carey. 

Bob, who died in 1988, was the more accomplished athlete of the brothers from Charlevoix. As a football player for Coach Biggie Munn, Bob was selected as an All-American his senior season in 1951. He was the Spartans’ leading receiver for three consecutive seasons, finishing with career totals of 65 receptions for 1,074 yards and 14 touchdowns. Against Ohio State in 1951, he was a key contributor in MSU’s game-winning rally at Columbus, 24-20. In his final college game against Colorado, he caught five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-7 victory that ultimately gave MSU the mythical national championship. Bob also earned three letters in basketball for coaches Al Kircher and Pete Newell. He co-captained the Spartans as a senior. Bob also lettered three times in track and field, becoming one of only 10 athletes in Michigan State history to earn nine varsity letters. He played professional football for the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears. 

Bill Carey played quarterback and end for the Spartans, winning monograms in 1949, ’50 and ’51. Like his brother, he also played hoops, earning two letters. Bill still lives in Charlevoix.

Sam Fortino

Progression of
MSU Basketball's 
Scoring Record Breakers

February 5, 2017
Twenty-two years ago—Feb. 4, 1995—Shawn Respert scored 32 points in a victory at Ohio State and replaced Steve Smith as Michigan State’s career scoring leader. It’s a record that’s been broken 10 times in the last 69 years. 

The progression of MSU’s record-breakers:

• 1946: Sam Fortino establishes Michigan State’s career scoring record (currently unranked with 454 points)  

• 1950: Bill Raphak passes Fortino’s points total (currently unranked with 691 points)

• 1955: Al Ferrari passes Rapchak’s points total (currently 38th with 1,109 points)

• 1956: Julius McCoy passes Ferrari’s points total (currently 23rd with 1,377 points)

• 1974: Mike Robinson passes McCoy’s points total (currently 10th with 1,717 points)

• 1976: Terry Furlow passes Robinson’s points total (currently 8th with 1,777 points)

• 1979: Gregory Kelser passes Furlow’s points total (currently 4th with 2,014 points)

• 1986: Scott Skiles passes Kelser’s points total (currently 3rd with 2,145 points)

• 1991: Steve Smith passes Skiles’ points total (currently 2nd with 2,263 points)

• 1995: Shawn Respert passes Smith’s points total (currently 1st with 2,531 points)

George Denman

MSU Basketball's 
Largest Winning Margins

February 2, 2017
One hundred fifteen years ago—Feb. 1, 1902—the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) Aggies hosted Alma College in East Lansing. It was George Denman’s debut as MAC’s coach and what an opener it was, a 102-3 clobbering of the Scots. In 1902, the rules stated the each field goal was worth three points, and, that day, the Aggies tallied 34 baskets to Alma’s one. Still today, MAC’s 99-point victory margin stands as the all-time record. 

Michigan State basketball’s most dominating wins:

• 99 (102-3) vs. Alma, 2/1/1902

• 90 (94-4) vs. Battle Creek YMCA, 2/25/1905

• 72 (84-12) vs. Bay City YMCA, 2/7/1910

• 69 (76-7) vs. DePaul, 1/13/1909

• 68 (121-53) vs. Morehead State, 12/1/1992

• 63 (67-4) vs. Winona, 2/10/1912

• 62 (72-10) vs. Central Michigan, 1/6/1912

• 61 (75-14) vs. Winona, 1/11/1913

• 59 (72-13) vs. Eastern Michigan, 3/2/1907

• 58 on three occasions

Connor Cook

Connor Cook

January 26, 2017
Sunday marks Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook’s 24th birthday. In his final game as a Spartan, Cook passed Kirk Cousins as MSU's all-time leader for passing yardage and touchdown passes.

Here are his career totals and how he stood in Michigan State's football record book following the 2015 season: 

• Pass attempts - FIRST with 1,170

• Pass completions - THIRD with 673

• Passing yards - FIRST with 9,194 

• Touchdown passes - FIRST with 71 

• Completion percentage - TENTH with .575

• Passing efficiency - FOURTH with 139.8

Hank Bullough

Hank Bullough

January 24, 2017
Born on this date -- January 24, 1934 -- was Michigan State University Athletics Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Bullough. Facts about one of the patriarchs of Spartan football:

• A native of Canton, Ohio, he attended Timken High School • Lettered in 1952, ’53 and ’54 as a guard

• Bullough’s 1952 Spartans won the National Championship, while the ’53 team claimed the Big Ten title and played in the ’54 Rose Bowl.

• He was a fifth-round selection in the 1955 NFL Draft (Green Bay Packers) 

• Selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round of the 1955 NFL Draft. He played in 20 NFL games altogether.

• Bullough became Duffy Daugherty’s assistant coach in 1959, helping mold such future pros as Herb Adderley, Ernie Clark, Dave Behrman, Matt Snorton, Jerry Rush, Bubba Smith, George Webster and Charlie Thornhill.

• In 1970, he became linebackers coach for the Baltimore Colts.

• He served as defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots in the 1970s and helped introduce the “3-4” defense to the NFL.

• Bullough was head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1985 and ’86.

• He also served as an assistant coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Green Bay Packers.

• His family includes sons Shane and Chuck, and grandsons Max, Riley and Byron, all who played football for the Spartans.

• Bullough was named president of the MSU Football Players Association in 2004, then later was appointed executive director of the organization.

Doug Weaver

This Date in Spartan History

January 22, 2017
• 1922: In the first game between intrastate rivals, Michigan defeats Michigan State, 5-1.

• 1966: Mike Coppo scored a hat trick as MSU beat Minnesota-Duluth, 5-2.

• 1973:  Mike Robinson scored 30 points, but Indiana topped Michigan State, 97-89.

• 1976: Former Spartan baseball star Robin Roberts was elected to Cooperstown's Baseball Hall of Fame.

• 1980: Doug Weaver was named director of Michigan State's athletics department.

• 1995: After suffering a first-half injury, Shawn Respert scored 30 of his 33 points in the second half and beat host Michigan, 73-71. 

• 2000: The Spartan men's basketball team rolled to its 22nd consecutive home victory, defeating Northwestern at the Breslin Center, 69-45. Charlie Bell scored a game-high 14 points.

•2003: MSU's defense held Penn State to just 11 points and .192 shooting in the first half en route to a 70-36 victory over the Nittany Lions.

Charlie Baggett

Charlie Baggett

January 21, 2017
Former Spartan quarterback and assistant coach Charlie Baggett celebrates his 64th birthday on Saturday (Jan. 21). 

A product of Fayetteville, N.C., he spent his freshman collegiate season at the University of North Carolina. The Baggett family lived next door to Jimmy Raye’s family, explaining his transfer to Michigan State in 1972. 

One of his greatest moments came in November of 1974 when, as the Spartan signal-caller, Charlie helped MSU beat top-ranked Ohio State. During that ’74 season, he broke Raye’s MSU record for total offense with 1,713 yards (965 passing/748 rushing). 

When Baggett finished his Spartan career, he was State’s record-holder for total offense (4,041 yards) and ranked second in career passing yardage (2,335). In 1977, 

Baggett began his 35-year coaching career at Bowling Green, then moved on to Minnesota in 1981. George Perles brought Charlie back to East Lansing in 1983 and he continued in that role through 1992. Baggett coached for the Houston Oilers for two seasons (1993-94), then returned for a second assignment at MSU, this time under Nick Saban. He returned to the NFL coaching ranks in 1999, serving one season with the Packers, five years with the Vikings (2000-04), and one more for the Dolphins. 

Baggett wrapped up his career with two seasons as former teammate Tyrone Willingham’s receivers coach at the University of Washington (2007-08), back in the NFL for the Rams (2009), then two final seasons with the Tennessee Vols (2010-11). 

 He’s now retired and resides in Alpharetta, Ga.

Duffy Daugherty (left) & Biggie Munn

Biggie & Duffy

January 17, 2017
Sixty-three years ago Wednesday—Jan. 18, 1954—Michigan State University’s President John Hannah announced that the face of the Spartan athletic department would be changing. Just a few days earlier, shortly after MSU’s 28-20 Rose Bowl victory over UCLA, 64-year-old Ralph Young retired from his post as athletics director. 

That opened the door for head football coach Clarence “Biggie” Munn to try his hand at directing MSU’s sports teams. Said Fred Stabley, Sr. of Munn in his book “The Spartans”, “Thus concluded one of the most remarkable coaching eras in the history of college football. In just seven seasons, the stocky, slope-shouldered, jut-jawed, hyper-aggressive Munn had forged a 54-9-2 record at MSU which projected the school and himself into national gridiron eminence.” 

Munn’s credo was “the difference between good and great is a little extra effort”, and his fingerprints were all over the athletic facilities’ rapid growth, including the expansion of Spartan Stadium’s capacity to 76,000 and the completion of the Forest Akers Golf Course, plus the hiring of such coaching luminaries as Daugherty, Danny Litwhiler, Forddy Anderson and Grady Peninger. 

Duffy’s promotion to head coach eventually triggered a Rose Bowl victory in 1956, four mythical national championships (1955, ’57, ’65 & ’66), and a parade of All-America players. 

Bob Essensa

Bob Essensa

January 15, 2017
Celebrating his 52nd birthday on January 14th is former Spartan hockey goaltender Bob Essensa. 

A Michigan State letter winner from the 1983-84 season through the ’86-87 campaign, the Toronto native shared net-minding duties with Norm Foster much of that time. In 79 career collegiate games, Essensa recorded a goals-against average of 2.68 with 62 victories. 

As a freshman, he had an 11-4-0 record, then followed that effort up with a 15-2-0 mark his sophomore season. As a junior, the season that MSU won the NCAA title, Essensa was 17-4-1. He ended his senior season with a 19-3-1 record. 

He was Winnipeg’s fifth pick in the 1983 NHL Draft and played more than five years in the Jets organization, including a career-best 33-victory season in 1992-93. He was on the NHL’s All-Rookie team in 1989-90. Essensa played for the Detroit Red Wings the following season, but was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Following three years in Edmonton, he ended his professional career by playing for Phoenix in 1999-2000, Vancouver in 2000-01 and Buffalo in ’01-02. 

In 446 NHL games, Essensa accumulated a goaltending record of 173 wins, 176 losses and 47 ties, including a 3.15 GAA and 18 shutouts. Today, he’s in his 14th season as goaltending coach with the Boston Bruins organization. 

Essensa’s family includes his wife, Jeanine, and three sons, Josh, Ben and Jake. 

Lindsey Hairston

This Date in Spartan History

January 12, 2017
• Jan. 12, 1950:  Michigan State's ice hockey team played its first game in Demonstration Hall since 1930, but lost to Michigan Tech, 6-2.

• Jan. 12, 1973: Wrestler Steve Rodriguez rolled up a 37-4 victory over his Indiana foe. It was the highest single-match total in MSU history.

• Jan. 12, 1974: Lindsey Hairston scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in an 83-75 win over Ohio State in East Lansing.

• Jan. 12, 1978: Thanks to a game-high 25 points by Gregory Kelser, the Spartan basketball team won its ninth game in a row, an 82-70 victory at Illinois.

• Jan. 12, 1986: Michigan State converted 18-of-18 free throws, defeating No. 18 Illinois at Jenison Field House, 58-51.

• Jan. 12, 2001: Hockey goaltender Ryan Miller notched the 13th shutout of his Spartan career, blanking Lake Superior State, 2-0. It broke Chad Alban's school record for shutouts.

• Jan. 12, 2002: Wisconsin ended MSU basketball's 53-game home-court winning streak, topping the Spartans, 64-63.

Danton Cole

Danton Cole

January 10, 2017
Happy 50th Birthday to former Spartan hockey star Danton Cole. He's currently Head Coach at the USA Hockey Under 18 Developmental National Program.

The Lansing Waverly High School star played junior hockey for the Aurora (Ontario) Tigers before being recruited to Michigan State by Coach Ron Mason. From 1985-89, Cole helped lead the Spartans to exceptional team success, including an NCAA Championship his freshman season. In 180 career games, he scored 69 goals and assisted on 94 others. 

Cole was a sixth-round selection (123rd overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He played seven seasons in the NHL, tallying 58 goals and 60 assists. His NHL highlight came in 1995 when he and his New Jersey Devils teammates won the Stanley Cup. Cole spent his last four seasons as a pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins and eventually returned to coach the American Hockey League team. 

He spent three seasons in intercollegiate hockey as head coach for Alabama-Huntsville, then served as head coach of the U.S. National Under-18 and Under-17 teams in 2013-14 and ’14-15.
Dean Look

Dean Look

January 5, 2017
Fifty-six years ago--Jan. 4, 1961--Lansing’s Dean Look finished ninth in the balloting for the Associated Press 1959 “Athlete of the Year.” 

The former Everett
 High School and Spartan standout and LSU Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon were the only two amateur athletes who placed behind boxer Ingemar Johansson for the honor. Others up for the award included NFL stars Johnny Unitas and Charlie Connorly, plus baseball standouts Ernie Banks and Nellie Fox. 

Look, an all-state athlete in football and
 basketball, and a record-setting pole
 vaulter, focused on football and
 baseball at Michigan State. Coach Duffy 
Daugherty converted his 1958 halfback 
into a quarterback in ’59. Look flourished
 as a triple threat QB and was named as United Press International’s backfield star of the week three times and collected All-America honors from some publications. 

On the baseball diamond for Coach John Kobs, Look once again displayed his versatility by playing in both the outfield and infield. His .412 batting average as a sophomore earned him All-Big Ten laurels. 

In November of ’59, Look signed a $50,000 contract with the Chicago White Sox. Professionally, he played three games for the ’61 White Sox and one game for the AFL’s New York Titans. 

Look turned to officiating when his days as an athlete ended and eventually earned a spot in the National Football League. His 29-year career in that role included assignments in three Super Bowls. Look was forced to retire in 2002 after his NFL physical indicated a heart problem. 
Mike York

Mike York

January 3, 2017
In 1999, he shared the George Alderton Award as Michigan State’s Male Athlete of the Year with basketball’s Mateen Cleaves, but Mike York has stretched his professional career way beyond that of his classmate. 

York was a much-ballyhooed Spartan recruit for Coach Ron Mason. During an 85-game season in 1993-94 for Detroit Compuware, York scored an incredible 136 goals and 140 assists. He instantly stepped into the Spartan lineup as a freshman in ’95-96, scoring 12 goals and assisting on 27 others. During his last three seasons in East Lansing, MSU’s No. 61 received All-CCHA honors, including league Player of the Year kudos and first-team All-America mention as a senior. York ended his collegiate career as MSU’s 17-ranked all-time goal scorer (79) and 15th in assists (122). 

He also was a prolific scorer in the NHL (127 goals and 195 assists), playing three seasons for the New York Rangers (1999-2002), three for the Edmonton Oilers (2001-04), two for the New York Islanders (2005-07) and one stint each for the Philadelphia Flyers (2006-07), Phoenix Coyotes (2007-08) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2008-09). During his last five professional seasons, York has played for the Iserlohn Roosters in Germany (2011-16). 

In 2015, he was inducted into MSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame with Charlie Bell, Andre Rison, Doug Weaver, Pat Milkovich and Mary Kay Itnyre. He's currently completing his degree at MSU and serves as a student assistant coach for the Spartans. Today is York's 39th birthday.

Herb Haygood

Herb Haygood

December 29, 2016
Happy 39th Birthday on Dec. 29 to former Michigan State football star Herb Haygood. The standout from Sarasota (Fla.) High School was a fabulous wide receiver for the Spartans from 1998-2001, ending his career ninth on MSU's career list for receptions with 115 (for 1,640). 

Haygood was also a terrific kickoff return artist, finishing second on that Spartan career chart.

Today, he's wide receivers coach at Eastern Michigan University.

MSU's career kickoff return yardage leaders (following the 2001 season):

1. Derrick Mason, 1993-96 ... 106 returns for 2,575 yards
2. Herb Haygood, 1998-2001 ... 76 returns for 1,770 yards
3. Courtney Hawkins, 1988-91 ... 65 returns for 1,571 yards
4. Eric Allen, 1969-71 ... 62 returns for 1,340 yards
5. Larry Jackson, 1983-84 ... 43 returns for 1,022 yards
6. Derek Hughes, 1979-81 ... 36 returns for 898 yards
7. Bruce Reeves, 1977-80 ... 45 returns for 863 yards
8. Gari Scott, 1996-98 ... 37 returns for 796 yards
9. Marc Renaud, 1994-97 ... 33 returns for 661 yards
10. Steve Holman, 1992-93 ... 29 returns for 625 yards

Tom Izzo

MSU Basketball's Seasons After Beginning with a Road Victory

December 28, 2016
Coach Tom Izzo’s Spartan basketball team won a thriller Tuesday night (Dec. 27, 2016) at Minnesota, beating the Golden Gophers at The Barn in overtime, 75-74. 

 It got us thinking how Michigan State seasons ended when Izzo’s Green and White began the Big Ten season with a victory on the road. 

Here are the results of the research:

• Dec. 30, 1997 … MSU won at Purdue, 74-57 (MSU ended as Big Ten co-champions with a 13-3 record)

• Jan. 5, 2005 … MSU won at Penn State, 84-58 (MSU finished second in the Big Ten with a 13-3 record)

• Dec. 31, 2008 … MSU won at Minnesota, 70-58 (MSU ended as Big Ten champions with a 15-3 record)

• Jan. 2, 2010 … MSU won at Northwestern, 91-70 (MSU ended as Big Ten co-champions with a 14-4 record)

• Dec. 31, 2013 … MSU won at Penn State, 79-63 (MSU finished tied for second in the Big Ten with a 12-6 record)
The Great Lakes Invitational


December 25, 2016
The 52nd Annual Great Lakes Invitational begins Thursday and Michigan State’s hockey team makes its 43rd appearance in the nation’s top holiday tournament. The Spartans face off against Western Michigan at Joe Louis Arena. 

Some things you may not know about MSU and the GLIT:

* MSU has won 13 titles, second only to Michigan’s 16.

* Michigan leads MSU in head-to-head competition, 12-8-1. The Maize & Blue have an 8-5 record in title games vs. the Green & White.

* MSU has a commanding 23-6-1 record against Michigan Tech in GLIT competition and is 5-1 in title games vs. the Huskies.

* Against opponents other than U-M and MTU, the Spartans are 2-5 in championship game appearances.

* MSU won the GLIT four straight years from 1982 through 1985, then four straight again from1997 through 2000. 

* The Spartans have appeared in the championship game in seven of the last 13 seasons.

* Thirteen different MSU players have been named the GLIT’s Most Valuable Player.

* Michigan State’s Daryl Rice had a record six assists in a 1973 game against Boston College.

* MSU’s Jeff Lerg stopped a record 49 shots vs. Michigan in the 2008 final.
John Langeloh

John Langeloh

December 20, 2016
Best remembered as the Spartan who kicked the game-winning field goal in the 1988 Rose Bowl, John Langeloh celebrates his 49th birthday today. 

The Sterling Heights native performed from 1987-90 at Michigan State ended his career as the school’s top all-time points scorer (308), field goal kicker (57-of-79) and PAT converter (137-of-140). 

Langeloh earned a bachelor’s degree from MSU in 1990 and has been involved in a financial career. Today, he’s Regional Vice President at Crestmark Bank in Naples, Fla. and handles loans for the acquisition of equipment and material for construction.

Langeloh’s Longest Field Goals:
•52 yards vs. Southern Cal, 12/31/90
•51 yards vs. Northwestern, 10/17/87
•50 yards vs. Purdue, 11/5/88
•49 yards vs. Syracuse, 9/15/90
•49 yards vs. Wisconsin, 11/19/88
•47 yards vs. Wisconsin, 11/19/88
•47 yards vs. Indiana, 11/14/87
•46 yards vs. Iowa, 10/3/87
•45 yards vs. Miami (FL), 9/30/89
•44 yards vs. Indiana, 11/12/88
•43 yards on four different occasions
Ralph Young

Ralph Young

December 18, 2016
Born 127 years ago--Dec. 17, 1889--in Crown Point, Ind. was longtime Michigan State coach and administrator Ralph Young. As an athlete, he played football for both Fielding Yost at the University of Michigan and Amos Alonzo Stagg at the University of Chicago. 

A World War I veteran, Young coached at DePauw (1915) and Kalamazoo College (1916-22) before joining Michigan Agricultural College’s staff in 1923. In addition to his responsibilities as Director of Athletics from 1923-54, he also coached football (1923-27) and track and field (1923-40). 

His greatest success as a coach came in track where he helped develop three Olympians (Fred Alderman, Tom Ottey and Ernest Crosbie) and 20 All-Americans. 

Among Young’s achievements as A.D. were the construction of Macklin Field (now Spartan Stadium), Demonstration Hall and Jenison Field House. His most notable hires included John Kobs, Jim Crowley, Ben VanAlstyne, Fendley Collins, Charlie Bachman, Karl Schlademan, Charlie McCaffree and Biggie Munn. 

He entered politics in 1956, representing the second district of Ingham County for three terms. 

A member of Michigan’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Young died on Jan. 23, 1962 at the age of 72.
Andre Hutson

MSU-Kentucky Battle

December 15, 2016
Sixteen years ago—Dec. 16, 2000—Michigan State’s basketball team overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to stay unbeaten (8-0) and defeat visiting Kentucky, 46-45. Coach Tom Izzo’s lashed out at his Spartans at the intermission and the troops responded positively in the second half, starting out on a 13-0 run. 

The back-and-forth contest swung in the Wildcats’ favor, 45-44, with 2:56 remaining on Tayshaun Prince’s three-pointer. Charlie Bell’s assist to Andre Hutson with 26 seconds left helped MSU regain the lead, then Kentucky called a timeout to set up its last play. Coach Tubby Smith’s instructions were for Keith Bogans to penetrate, then dish off. Instead, Kentucky’s star guard, with two Spartans challenging him, chose to take a mid-range jumper with about five seconds left. The ball bounced off the rim and MSU dribbled out the clock. 

"I had to get the shot up,” said Bogans afterwards. “I felt like I got fouled, but the refs didn't call nothing. You're in their home gym with the crowd, so I guess you've got to expect that." 

Both teams went on to land berths in the NCAA Tournament, with Kentucky landing a No. 2 seed in the East Region and MSU gaining a No. 1 seed in the South. A rematch in the Final Four never materialized as UK lost in the Elite Eight to Southern Cal. MSU was ultimately beaten in the NCAA semifinals by Arizona, finishing with a 28-5 record.
Charles McCaffree

Charles McCaffree

December 13, 2016
He died on this date 35 years ago today—Dec. 13, 1980—but Charles McCaffree’s name still lives prominently in Michigan State University’s swimming history. 

Despite being an undergraduate competitor at rival Michigan, no one ever questioned McCaffree’s allegiance to the Green and White. From the time he came to East Lansing from Iowa State in 1941 to take over the Spartans, his teams remained competitive. McCaffree coached MSU to eight consecutive Central Collegiate Conference Championships from 1942-50 and captured one Big Ten title in 1957. His '51 squad placed second in the NCAA championships, finishing just behind Yale. State finished in third place three times and averaged fifth in the national meet over a 19-year span. 

From 1945 through ’69, “Coach Mac’s” teams posted winning dual-meet records every season, finishing with an overall mark of 191 victories and two ties in 251 meets. His swimmers captured 34 Big Ten and 22 NCAA titles. 

McCaffree mentored six Olympians altogether. Clarke Scholes won Olympic gold in the 100-meter freestyle in 1952, while Ken Walsh won two golds (relay events) and a silver medal (100 free) at the ’68 games. A third McCaffree pupil, Gary Dilley, was a silver medalist (200 backstroke) at the 1964 Olympics. Mac was assistant manager of the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team. MSU’s indoor and outdoor pools were named in his honor in 1979. 

In 2011, McCaffree was inducted into Michigan State’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
Miles Bridges

Top Freshman Basketball Scorers

December 11, 2016
With an eight-game scoring average of 16.6 points per game, Michigan State rookie Miles Bridges has a chance to challenge Earvin Johnson's record for MSU freshman scorers. It’s rare that a Spartan true freshman averages 10 points or more. In fact over the last 43 years—since 1973 when the NCAA legislated that first-year players could play with the varsity—only a dozen MSU players have actually accomplished that feat. Keep in mind that we can’t include Shawn Respert since he played just one game as a true rookie in 1990-91. So, who leads the list of most productive first-year scorers? If you guessed Earvin Johnson, you’d be right. The freshman from Lansing’s Everett High School averaged 17.03 points per game in 1977-78. 

The entire list of true freshman double-figure scorers:

•Earvin Johnson, 17.03 ppg, 1977-78
•Gary Harris, 12.91, 2012-13
•Scott Skiles, 12.53, 1982-83
• Sam Vincent, 11.71, 1981-82
•Greg Kelser, 11.70, 1975-76
• Raymar Morgan, 11.68, 2006-07
•Chris Hill, 11.45, 2001-02
•Jay Vincent, 11.34, 1977-78
•Zach Randolph, 10.79, 2000-01
•Steve Smith, 10.68, 1987-88
•Kalin Lucas, 10.25, 2007-08
•Mateen Cleaves, 10.24, 1996-97
Don Coleman

Don Coleman

December 9, 2016
Forty-one years ago today, Michigan State’s Don Coleman was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Among the men joining him as honorees were Wisconsin’s Alan Ameche, Army’s Pete Dawkins and Minnesota’s Paul Giel. 

The city of Flint has sent a multitude of great athletes to MSU, but none has more credits to his name than Coleman. Weighing less than 180 pounds when he played offensive and defensive tackle for head coach Biggie Munn and position coach Duffy Daugherty, he’s considered by many to be the Spartans’ greatest player. It was Coleman’s unique skills as a blocker that helped make MSU running backs Lynn Chandnois, Sonny Grandelius, Dick Panin, Billy Wells and Don McAuliffe so effective. During Coleman’s three seasons—1949, ’50 and ’51—the Spartans lost only four times in 27 games. 

Said Daugherty of his star lineman, “I’d estimate that Don got the key blocks on about 80 percent of our plays. It was nothing unusual for him to take out two or three men on a play.” About a month after Coleman’s college career ended, Munn announced that jersey number 78 would never again be worn at Michigan State. 

Coleman won the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award in 1976 and became a charter member of MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford

December 6, 2016
Current Chicago Bear and former Michigan State running back Jeremy Langford celebrates his 25th birthday today. 

He’s best remembered by Spartan fans for closing his career with 16 consecutive games of at least 100 yards rushing against Big Ten competition. 

Though Langford finished eighth on MSU’s all-time rushing list with 2,967 yards, his back-to-back season total of 2,944 yards in 2013 and ’14 is second only to Javon Ringer (3,059 in 2007 and ’08). 

Over his career, No. 33 scored 40 touchdowns (2nd best in MSU annals), including a Spartan single-season record-tying 22 scores in 2014. Langford averaged 5.14 yards per carry (18th). 

Most career 100-yard games by an MSU player:

23   Lorenzo White (1984-87)
19   Javon Ringer (2005-08)
18   JEREMY LANGFORD (2013-14)
16   Tico Duckett (1989-92)
16   Blake Ezor (1986-89)
15   Sedrick Irvin (1996-98)
14   T.J. Duckett (1999-2001)
13   Eric Allen (1969-71)
12   Le’Veon Bell (2010-12)
10   Duane Goulbourne (1993-1996)
10   Levi Jackson (1974-75)
Charlie Bachman

This Date in Spartan History

December 3, 2016
Dec. 3, 1946: Michigan State football coach Charlie Bachman announces his retirement at the team banquet. 

Dec. 3, 1964: Coach Gene Kenney’s Spartan soccer team beats Army in double overtime, 3-2, to advance to the NCAA title game vs. Navy.  

Dec. 3, 1968: Senior Lee Lafayette tallies a career-high 32 points as MSU tops S.W. Louisiana in the season opener. 

Dec. 3, 1977: Freshman Earvin Johnson earns MVP honors at the Syracuse’s Carrier Classic, despite MSU losing in the title game, 76-67. 

Dec. 3, 1982: Michigan State names George Perles as its head football coach. 

Dec. 3, 1988: Spartan offensive lineman Tony Mandarich finishes sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting, behind Barry Sanders, Rodney Peete, Troy Aikman, Steve Walsh and Major Harris. 

Dec. 3, 1988: Bobby Reynolds scores the game-winning goal with 25 seconds left as MSU tops host Miami, 4-3. State boosts its record to 15-1. 

Dec. 3, 1994: Nick Saban is named Michigan State’s 20th head football coach. 

Dec. 3, 1994: Shawn Respert (24 points) and backcourt mate Eric Snow (19) lead the Spartans to its first-ever victory over Louisville, 85-71. 

Dec. 3, 1996: Jon Garavaglia scores a career-best 20 points as host MSU tops Cleveland State, 83-78.
Spartans John Pingel (left) and Harry Speelman (right) meet the Orange Bowl queen.

Spartan Orange Bowl Bid

December 1, 2016
Seventy-nine years ago—November 30, 1937—officials of the Orange Bowl extended an invitation to Michigan State College’s football program to play in the 1938 Orange Bowl. 

Hastened off the train bringing his team home from a season-ending victory at San Francisco, Coach Charlie Bachman was told that a call was waiting for him in the Spokane, Washington station-master’s office. Upon receiving the bid from the Orange Bowl committee, Bachman quickly polled his team members, then fired back a resounding “yes” to the inviter. 

It would be the first-ever post-season game for Michigan State. The 8-1 Spartans, featuring All-America halfback Johnny Pingel, were pitted against the 5-3-2 Auburn Tigers, but Bachman warned his team not to be overconfident. 

“Auburn is the toughest eleven below the Mason-Dixon line,” he said. “They couldn’t have picked a harder opponent for us.” 

Bachman trained his 41-man traveling squad indoors on the tanbark of Demonstration Hall before departing on Dec. 20 for Florida and the New Year’s Day game. Nearly 19,000 fans attended the fourth annual Orange Bowl at Miami’s new $360,000 stadium, but watched a somewhat dull 6-0 contest that was won by Auburn. 

Lansing State Journal sports editor George Alderton reported that “Auburn outplayed MSC all day, bottling up the Pingel’s running and passing.”

Spartan Women's Basketball Points Leaders

November 29, 2016
Eight years ago today—Nov. 29, 2008—Michigan State’s Aisha Jefferson scored a career-best 34 points in a 78-72 loss at No. 14 Notre Dame. Twenty-two of her points were scored in the first half. Jefferson’s performance marked only the 19th time in MSU history that a Spartan player had tallied 30 points or more. 

The best single-game scoring efforts by an MSU individual:

•41 points   Maxann Reese vs. Iowa, 1/29/99
•40 points   Aerial Powers vs. Minnesota, 2/21/16
•36 points   Jazmine Hines vs. Ohio State, 2/27/16 
•35 points   Aerial Powers vs. Nebraska, 1/8/15 
•35 points   Eileen Shea vs. Oklahoma State, 3/16/91 
•34 points   Aisha Jeffereson vs. Notre Dame, 11/29/08 
•34 points   Eileen Shea vs. Ohio State, 2/9/90 
•34 points   Kris Emerson vs. Dayton, 12/20/85 
•34 points   Lil Preston vs. Kent State, 12/18/81 
•33 points   Aerial Powers vs. Illinois, 1/15/15 
•33 points   Lindsay Bowen vs. TCU, 11/28/04 
•32 points   Six times 31 points Six times 
Dave Yarema

Dave Yarema

November 27, 2016
Former Michigan State quarterback Dave Yarema celebrated his 52nd birthday yesterday. An all-state quarterback in 1980 for Birmingham Brother Rice High School, he led Coach Al Fracassa’s Warriors to the state championship that season. Brother Rice had a cumulative record of 27-4 in Yarema’s three seasons as signal-caller. 

As a true freshman, Spartan coach Muddy Waters controversially inserted him as MSU’s starting QB in game eight against Indiana. The Spartans went on to beat the Hoosiers, 22-14. The following game vs. Northwestern, Yarema completed 11-of-12 passes (.917), eclipsing a 30-year-old mark for passing accuracy. 

In MSU’s 1983 upset of Notre Dame, 28-23, he completed 15-of-23 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns. After injuring his thumb in the ’85 season opener, Yarema came back to rally the Spartans to victories in their last five regular-season games and a berth in the All American Bowl. During his final season at MSU, 1986, he threw for a school-record 2,581 yards, including a 352-yard performance against Northwestern, the second-best effort in Green and White history. 

Career-wise, Yarema ended with 5,809 yards and 44 TD passes. 

Currently, he’s an administrator at Yarema Die and Engineering in Troy, Mich.
Connor Cook

Memorable Season Finales

November 24, 2016
Saturday’s game versus Penn State at State College doesn’t have the implications this year as it did last season for Michigan State’s football team, but it remains important that the Spartans end 2016 on a winning note. Here are some of the more meaningful season finales that MSU has played:

Nov. 27, 1932 – Michigan State travels to play the University of San Francisco in the last game of the season. The result of a 14-0 Spartan victory earns MSU a berth in its very first bowl game, the Jan. 1, 1937 Orange Bowl.

Nov. 24, 1951 – MSU spanks Colorado, 45-7, yielding State its first mythical national title.

Nov. 28, 1963 – With the Big Ten title and a trip to Pasadena on the line, MSU comes up flat on Thanksgiving Day and falls at the hands of Illinois, 13-0.

Nov. 19, 1966 – With a national title at stake, No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State play to a 10-10 tie. 

Nov. 25, 1972 – In Duffy Daugherty’s final game as Spartan coach, MSU beats Northwestern, 24-14.

Nov. 25, 1978 – Michigan State hammers Iowa, 42-7, earning a share of the 1978 Big Ten title with Michigan.

Nov. 21, 1987 – MSU wins at Wisconsin, 30-9, to close out an undefeated Big Ten season (7-0-1).

Nov. 25, 2010 – The Spartans hold off a fourth-quarter charge from host Penn State, winning by a score of 28-22 and gaining a share of the Big Ten championship.

Nov. 28, 2015 - Michigan State clinched a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game by crushing Penn State, 55-16. Spartan QB Connor Cook returned from a shoulder injury by tossing three touchdown passes.
Carl Banks

This Date in Spartan History

November 22, 2016
Nov. 22, 1952: With a 62-14 season finale victory over Marquette, MSU’s football team posts its second straight unbeaten season. Evan Slonac scores two touchdowns and kicks eight PATs.   

Nov. 22, 1953: The Spartans get notice from the Big Ten that they’ll be the conference’s representative in the 1954 Rose Bowl. 

Nov. 22, 1963: President John Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas overshadows MSU’s Big Ten championship game vs. Illinois. The game would be moved to Thanksgiving Day the next morning. 

Nov. 22, 1969: Pass interception TDs from Brad McLee and Jay Breslin lead MSU past host Northwestern, 39-7. Don Highsmith rushes for 209 yards. 

Nov. 22, 1975: In his final game, quarterback Charlie Baggett throws an 82-yard TD pass to Kirk Gibson and helps MSU beat Iowa, 27-23. 

Nov. 22, 1983: Carl Banks is named MSU football’s Most Valuable Player at the team banquet. 

Nov. 22, 1987: Kevin Miller scores twice, igniting MSU hockey team’s 10-4 victory over the U.S. Olympic Team. 

Nov. 22, 1999: Morris Peterson and Andre Hutson notch double-doubles in a 78-33 win over Toledo. 

Nov. 22, 2014: No. 10 MSU tops Rutgers, 45-3, as Jeremy Langford posts his 15th consecutive 100-yard game vs. Big Ten foes.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Spartan Triple-Doubles

November 20, 2016
Sixteen years ago yesterday, guard Charlie Bell recorded the ninth basketball triple-double in Michigan State men’s history, but the first by someone other than Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Bell’s 13 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists helped lead the Spartans to a season-opening 97-61 victory over Oakland. 

Special performances such as Charlie’s rarely happen as there have only been 12 total triple-doubles in 2,642 all-time games or an average of just one per seven seasons. 

MSU men’s hoops’ all-time triple-doubles:

Earvin Johnson
1. Vs. Detroit, 12/21/77 (11 pts-10 rebs-13 assts)
2. Vs. Oregon State, 12/29/78 (10-10-10)
3. Vs. Wisconsin, 1/4/79 (21-13-14)
4. Vs. Northwestern, 1/27-79 (26-10-10)
5. Vs. Kansas, 2/4/79 (12-10-11)
6. Vs. Illinois, 2/24/79 (21-11-11)
7. Vs. Lamar, 3/11/79 (13-17-10)
8. Vs. Pennsylvania, 3/24/79 (29-10-10)

Charlie Bell
1. Vs. Oakland, 11/19/00 (13-11-10)

Draymond Green
1. Vs. Penn State, 2/10/11 (15-14-10)
2. Vs. UCLA, 3/17/11 (23-11-10)
3. Vs. Long Island, 3/16/12 (24-12-10)
Michael Geiger

MSU's Superstar Efforts vs. Ohio State

November 15, 2016
Forty-five years ago tomorrow, Michigan State’s Brad VanPelt intercepted Ohio State quarterback Don Lamka’s pass and returned it 30 yards to the Buckeye seven-yard line. Two plays later, Eric “The Flea” Allen took it in for MSU’s go-ahead touchdown in a 17-10 victory over the eighth-ranked Buckeyes. 

Seven other memorable Spartan plays in the 102-year series against the Scarlet & Gray.

Nov. 28, 1912: Aggie quarterback George Gauthier leads M.A.C. to a fourth-quarter blitz vs. OSU, passing for one touchdown and rushing for the final score in a 35-20 victory.

Oct. 6, 1951: On fourth down and nine with less than three minutes to play, full back Evan Slonac fakes a plunge into the line, pitches the ball back to QB Al Dorow, who laterals the ball to tailback Tom Yewcic, who fakes an end run then passes the ball across the field to Dorow for the winning score in a 24-20 victory.

Nov. 11, 1972: No. 9 Ohio State comes to Spartan Stadium in Duffy Daugherty’s final season and the Irishman digs into his bag of tricks, debuting Dutch walk-on kicker Dirk Kryt. Kryt kicks a Big Ten record-tying four field goals in the first half as MSU goes on to win, 19-12.

Nov. 9, 1974: After a huge three-and-out defensive stop against top-ranked Ohio State, Michigan State gets an unforgettable 88-yard game-winning touchdown run from fullback Levi Jackson. MSU’s defense stifles a last-second TD attempt to secure the 16-13 win.

Nov. 7, 1998: Scoring 19 unanswered second-half points and precariously hanging on to a 28-24 lead, MSU’s Renaldo Hill picks off Joe Germaine's fourth-down pass on the goal line to seal the Spartans’ 28-24 victory over No. 1 OSU.

Oct. 1, 2011: Chris Norman, William Gholston and Denicos Allen combine for eight of MSU’s nine quarterback sacks against Ohio State. The Spartans’ 10-7 triumph snaps OSU’s seven-game winning streak.

Nov. 21, 2015: Ninth-ranked MSU, minus starting quarterback Connor Connor, invaded The Shoe and ended No. 2 Ohio State’s 23-game winning streak with a 17-14 victory. Michael Geiger’s 41-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired.
L.J. Scott

MSU-Rutgers Football Series

November 10, 2016
Saturday’s game between Michigan State and Rutgers will be the eighth in the series that dates back to 1988. A capsule look at each of those previous seven contests:

• 1988: In the schools’ first-ever meeting, Rutgers QB Scott Erney led the Scarlet Knights to 17 second-quarter points and a season-opening 17-13 victory over Michigan State.

• 1990: At East Rutherford, Michigan State scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Rutgers, 34-10. Tailback Tico Duckett rambled for a career-best 229 yards.

• 1991: Coach George Perles’ Spartans fell to 0-3 after a 14-7 loss to Rutgers at Spartan Stadium. Courtney Hawkins’ 38-yard touchdown pass from Jim Miller in the third quarter was MSU’s only score.

• 2003: In Coach John L. Smith’s second game as the Spartans’ coach, Jeff Smoker threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns as MSU rolled past Rutgers, 44-28.

• 2004: Before a record crowd of 42,612 at Rutgers Stadium, the Scarlet Knights spoiled the start of Michigan State’s 2004 season with a 19-14 win in New Jersey. Spartan QB Damon Dowdell’s 270-yard passing effort went for naught.

• 2014: MSU’s “L & L Men”, Jeremy Langford and Tony Lippett, helped the Spartans roll past Rutgers at Spartan Stadium, 45-3. For the 15th consecutive time in Big Ten play, Langford rushed for at least 100 yards (126). Lippett caught five passes became the eighth Spartan to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.

• 2015: The 5-0 Spartans traveled to Piscataway, N.J., but struggled to a 31-24 victory over the host Scarlet Knights. L.J. Scott’s three-yard touchdown run with just 43 seconds left in regulation capped a 10-play, 76-yard drive.
John Macklin

John Macklin

November 8, 2016
Eighty-one years ago, the football stadium at Michigan State College was officially named in honor of John Macklin. Standing six-feet-six-inches tall and weighing 275 pounds, he was a giant of a man in his era. 

In fact, when he first went out for the University of Pennsylvania team in 1907, the Worcester, Mass. native wasn’t able to find a uniform that could fit his gigantic frame. He played two years at tackle for Penn. Wrote the Chicago Daily Tribune, “Macklin is remarkably agile and quick for his size.” 

Upon his graduation from Penn, he first entered the coaching ranks at a boys’ school in Pawling, N.Y., a small town near the Connecticut border and the hometown of Norman Vincent Peale, author of “The Power of Positive Thinking.” 

Upon the recommendation of athletic personnel at Penn, Macklin was hired in January of 1911 to become athletic director and head football coach at Michigan Agricultural College. Losing only to Michigan that first season, 

Macklin’s Aggies won 20 of their next 21 games, including a perfect 7-0 record in 1913. His crown jewel victory was a 12-7 win over the Wolverines in ’13, M.A.C.’s first in the series. Macklin also led the Aggies to triumphs over Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State. 

He had cumulative records of 29-5 in football, 48-38 in basketball and 52-27 in baseball. 

Macklin retired from coaching in March of 1916 to enter the coal mining business in Pennsylvania. He died in Philadelphia at the age of 65.
Bobby Monnett

Bobby Monnett

November 6, 2016
Eighty-six years ago—Nov. 8, 1930—Michigan State sophomore Bobby Monnett intercepted a record three passes and led the Spartans past North Dakota, 19-11. 

The halfback from Bucyrus, Ohio made an even bigger impact as a junior in 1931, finishing second in the nation in scoring with 127 points. In 1932, Monnett again placed second nationally with 80 points. He earned honorable mention All-America honors in ’32 and was State’s Most Valuable Player. 

During Monnett’s three seasons, Coach Jim Crowley’s teams compiled a cumulative record of 17-5-3. 

Monnett joined the Green Bay Packers in 1933 and immediately led the Green & Gold in rushing. In ’34, the 5-9, 180-pounder topped the Pack in scoring, then paced the team in rushing again in ’35. In the Packers’ 1936 NFL championship game against the Boston Redskins, Monnett scored the final touchdown in a 21-6 victory. 

From 1933-38, he rushed for 1,488 yards and seven TDs, and passed for 2,227 yards and 28 TDs. Monnett played with several eventual Pro Football Hall of Famers, including Cal Hubbard, John Blood McNally, Mike Michalske, Arnie Herber, Clarke Hinkle and Don Hutson. His Packers coach was the immortal Curly Lambeau. 

Monnett was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1973. He died in 1978 at the age of 68 in Crawford, Ohio.
Tom Anastos

Tom Anastos

November 3, 2016
Tom Anastos is in the midst of his sixth season as head coach at Michigan State University. 

He was an outstanding player at MSU and was a member of the first Spartan class to exclusively skate in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Anastos and his teammates won four consecutive CCHA Tournament titles: 1982, ’83, ’84 and ’85. 

His highlights as a Spartan player:

• Feb. 16, 1982: Anastos notched his first three-goal hat trick (vs. Illinois-Chicago).

• Mar. 13, 1982: He scored the game-winning goal vs. Notre Dame as MSU captured its first CCHA Tournament title.

• Dec. 29, 1982: A North American collegiate hockey record crowd of 21,247 at Joe Louis Arena watched MSU win the Great Lakes Invitational.

• Oct. 21, 1983: At Western Michigan, Anastos tallied a hat trick, then followed it up with two more goals the next night, ultimately winning CCHA Player of the Week honors.

• Mar. 12, 1983: MSU topped Bowling Green in the CCHA title game.

• Mar. 18, 1984: The Spartans defeated Boston College at Munn Arena to secure a berth in the Frozen Four at Lake Placid.

• Mar. 9, 1985: Anastos contributed a goal, his 29th of the season, to MSU’s 5-1 win over Lake Superior. It resulted in the Spartans’ fourth consecutive CCHA Tournament title.
Richie Baes

100-Yard-Game Firsts

November 1, 2016
Forty years ago today, running back Richie Baes exceeded the century mark in rushing yards for the first time in his career, gaining 100 yards in Michigan State’s 28-21 victory over Wisconsin. Baes topped 100 yards nine different times during his Spartan career. 

MSU’s best first-time 100-yard rushing performances include:

Derek Hughes, 213 yards vs. Minnesota (11/10/79)

Ron Rubick, 207 yards vs. North Carolina (10/6/62)

DeAndra Cobb, 205 yards vs. Michigan (10/30/04)

Duane Goulbourne, 195 yards vs. Central Michigan (9/25/93

) Javon Ringer, 194 yards vs. Illinois (9/24/05)

Marc Renaud, 181 yards vs. Indiana (10/29/94)

Nick Hill, 178 yards vs. Indiana (10/18/14)

Tico Duckett, 175 yards vs. Iowa (10/7/89)

Walt Kowalczyk, 172 yards vs. Wisconsin (10/29/55)

Lorenzo White, 170 yards vs. Northwestern (11/3/84)

Bobby Morse, 170 yards vs. Wisconsin (11/22/86)
Rick Kreuger

Rick Kreuger

October 30, 2016
A native of Wyoming, Mich., former Michigan State baseball and Major League pitcher Rick Kreuger celebrates his 68th birthday tomorrow (Nov. 1). The 1970 Spartan letter winner came to East Lansing as a transfer from Grand Rapids Junior College. 

Though Krueger was just 5-3 on the mound for MSU coach Danny Litwhiler in 1970, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox in ‘71 and began his pro career at Boston’s Class A affiliate in Greenville, S.C. He sat out the ’72 season with a back injury, but went to pitch at Winston-Salem late in the ’73 campaign. At the end of the 1975 season, then playing for Pawtucket, Kreuger was called up to the “bigs” and appeared in two games. He failed to make the Red Sox playoff roster, but did receive a $250 check as a partial World Series share. Kreuger spent most of 1976 in the minors, but did get called up in August. He pitched 31 innings and compiled a 2-1 record and a 4.06 ERA. Traded to Cleveland in the spring of 1978, Krueger appeared in six early-season Indians games, but struggles on the mound ultimately sent him to Portland of the Pacific Coast League. He pitched one final season in Japan for the Tokyo Giants, then retired from the game following the season. 

Krueger became a real estate broker, spending 16 years in sales. In 1996 and ’97, he served as head coach at Cornerstone College in Grand Rapids. Today, he manages Kreuger’s Baseball School in Hudsonville, Mich.
Steve Colp (left) & Tom Ross

Monumental Moments at Munn

October 27, 2016
Forty-one years ago yesterday, Michigan State’s hockey team won its first-ever game at the new Munn Arena, defeating Laurentian University, 4-1. Coach Amo Bessone’s club got outstanding defensive play from goaltender Ron Clark and blue-liner Pat Betterly. 

Other memorable moments at Munn include:

Dec. 13, 1974: First win at Munn over archrival Michigan, 6-1.

Mar. 14, 1976: The longest game in MSU history, 86 minutes and 33 seconds, was won by Minnesota in three overtimes. It was the final game for all-time greats Tom Ross and Steve Colp.

Mar. 3, 1979: Legendary MSU coach Amo Bessone’s final game at Munn Arena was a 5-3 win over Michigan.

Nov. 3, 1979: Ron Mason chalked up his first victory at Munn, a 5-4 triumph vs. Wisconsin.

Mar. 24, 1985: A Spartan team with 18 future pros lost to visiting Providence, 4-2, in NCAA Tournament action, ending its season in disappointment.

Nov. 21, 1992: MSU’s 6-2 win over Illinois-Chicago at Munn gave Ron Mason his 368th Spartan victory, surpassing Amo Bessone.

Feb. 20, 1998: A 5-1 Spartan victory versus Michigan was Ron Mason’s 800th.

Nov. 10, 2012: A record crowd of 7,225 witnessed MSU’s 7-2 win over Michigan at Munn Arena.
Tom Yewcic

Tom Yewcic

October 25, 2016
Sixty-four years ago today—Oct. 25, 1952—Spartan quarterback Tom Yewcic threw three touchdown passes of 45 yards or more in Michigan State’s 34-7 victory over Penn State. 

Recruited by Joe Paterno as a high school player out of Conemaugh, Pa., Yewcic tossed a 61-yard score to Don McAuliffe, a 56-yard strike to Ellis Duckett and a 45-yard TD to Doug Bobo. It was MSU’s 20th consecutive victory, a skein that would eventually expand to 28 wins in a row. 

Yewcic also was a standout baseball player for the Spartans, primarily as a catcher. He earned All-America honors and helped MSU reach the 1954 College World Series, where in five games he was named the CWS Most Valuable Player. Yewcic went on to earn a roster spot with the Detroit Tigers in 1957. 

He eventually switched sports, playing first for Lou Saban’s Toronto Argonauts in the CFL. Yewcic then earned a roster spot with the Boston Patriots of the American Football League, backing up quarterback Babe Parelli and serving as the team’s punter from 1961-66. When Yewcic’s playing days ended, he served as an assistant coach for five different Patriots head coaches, including Chuck Fairbanks. 

He got out of football and sold medical and surgical supplies from 1981-2000. Married for 54 years until his wife’s death two years ago, the 83-year-old Yewcic stays busy now with charity work in Arlington, Mass.
Jerry DePrato

DePrato Guides MAC Past Michigan 

October 23, 2016
One-hundred-one years ago today—October 23, 1915—some 3,000 Aggie fans followed Michigan Agricultural College down to Ann Arbor for the big game against Michigan. Through its first three games, Coach John Macklin’s squad had dominated its competition, outscoring Olivet, Alma and Carroll by a cumulative score of 167-12. However, MAC’s next foe, the mighty Wolverines, was not going to be a pushover. Coach Fielding Yost’s team, led by All-America running back Johnny Maulbetsch, had romped past its four previous opponents just as impressively.

Wrote Eddie Batchelor in the Detroit Times the next day, “What was the score? It read 24-0 on the official blackboard and the men who possessed the two dozen points were the Aggies. Michigan claimed ownership of the zero and if there had been any numeral lower than that to hang up on the scoreboard they would have been forced to display it to indicate the Wolverines’ accomplishments. 

Continued Batchelor in his game story, “Twenty-four to nothing sounds like a horrible beating, but it doesn’t begin to express how completely the MAC team outplayed and outfought Michigan’s. It wasn’t merely a defeat for the Maize and Blue but a massacre, a rout, an annihilation. From the time the MAC Military Band came on the field until the same aggregation of virtuosos led a triumphal march profaning the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan was beaten in everything. In music, cheering, fighting and playing football, the Aggies just naturally outclassed their foemen so badly that the Maize and Blue crowd could find no single straw at which to clutch as it downed in a sea of tears.” 

The most impressive individual performance came from Aggie fullback Jerry DePrato who gained 153 yards from scrimmage, scored all three of MAC’s touchdowns and kicked its lone field goal. Defensively, MAC tackle Gideon Smith repeatedly halted any Michigan advances, including nearly every attempt by Maulbetsch. 
Walt Kowalczyk

1957 - MSU vs. Purdue

October 20, 2016
Fifty-eight years ago yesterday, Coach Duffy Daugherty’s Spartan football team lost its only game of the 1957 season, a loss that resulted because of an official’s blown call. It likely cost the top-rated Spartans an unquestioned jackpot: the Big Ten, a Rose Bowl berth and the national championship. 

The mistaken penalty came on Walt Kowalczyk’s legitimate touchdown plunge early in the second quarter. A rookie official charged Spartan lineman Ellison Kelly for hitting after the whistle, but it was called after the play was blown dead by a fellow referee. Purdue went on to win the game, 20-13. 

Suppressing his feelings for nearly 30 years, Daugherty finally told the complicated story in 1984. 

“The story really begins with a call I got the night before the game,” Duffy began. “Carl Renschler, an experienced umpire, was supposed to have officiated the game. That night, his wife had a heart attack and he was sent home. The Big Ten then assigned an official who had never worked a Conference game. It was fourth down-and-two on our two-yard line and Kowalczyk goes into the end zone for a touchdown. A few seconds later, the officials huddled and took the touchdown away from us, then moved the ball back to the 17-yard line where Dave Kaiser missed a field goal. At halftime, the head referee came into our locker room and said ‘Duffy, I have to talk to you. That young official is in tears because of the mistake he made.’ 

Well, that call changed the complexion of the game and we probably would have routed Purdue. (Minnesota coach) Murray Warmath said that our ’57 team was the best club he’d ever seen. But because I felt so sorry for that young official’s honest mistake, I decided not to say anything to the press.”
Terry Furlow

Terry Furlow

October 17, 2016
Today would have been the 62nd birthday of one of Michigan State basketball’s greatest shooters. Ranked by Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch as the Spartans’ 12th greatest player, Terry Furlow was recruited by Coach Gus Ganakas to MSU from Flint Northern High School. 

He played in the shadow of teammate and Michigan recruit Wayman Britt, but out-shown Britt as a collegian, averaging 17.8 per game at MSU. Furlow contributed 14.1 points per game as a sophomore, 20.4 as a junior and 29.4 as a senior. The latter two efforts led the Spartans both seasons. 

He wound up as Michigan State’s career scoring leader with 1,777 points, surpassing Mike Robinson’s mark by 60 points. 

Furlow was a first-round pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the ’76 NBA Draft, joining a lineup that already included Julius Erving, Doug Collins, Darryl Dawkins, World B. Free and George McGinnis. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers the following season, then split the 1979-80 season between Atlanta and Utah. In 239 NBA games, 

Furlow averaged 10.7 points per game. He died at the age of 25 in a one-car crash on May 23, 1980, in Linndale, Ohio. 

Furlow’s top single-game scoring performances as a Spartan:

50 vs. Iowa, Jan. 5, 1976
48 vs. Northwestern, Jan. 8, 1976
42 vs. Ohio State, Jan. 10, 1976
41 vs. Detroit, Dec. 223, 1975
40 vs. Indiana, Feb. 9, 1976
38 vs. Michigan, Feb. 14, 1976
36 vs. Ohio State, Feb. 3, 1975
35 vs. Illinois, Jan. 24, 1976
Doug Weaver


October 16, 2016
Former Michigan State athlete, coach and athletics director Doug Weaver celebrated his 85th birthday Saturday. 

A standout prep player and eventual Hall of Famer at Goshen High School in Indiana, he attended Yale briefly, but transferred to Michigan State in 1949. During his letter-winning years as a Spartan—1950-52—Weaver played center and linebacker. 

Coach Biggie Munn’s 1950 squad went 8-1, losing only to Maryland. That was the one and only loss Weaver would experience during his collegiate career, for his following two teams in ’51 and ’52 went a perfect 18-0 and won back-to-back national championships. He was a highly popular teammate, earning the “Oil Can Award” twice as the player who contributes most in a humorous way to the team. The award was eventually named in his honor. 

Three years after graduating from MSU, he rejoined Coach Duffy Daugherty’s squad as an assistant, then moved on to Missouri in 1958 as a fulltime assistant for Dan Devine. Weaver became head coach at Kansas State (1960-66) and Southern Illinois (1974-75), but his teams won only 11 times in 91 games. In 1976, he left SIU to become athletics director at Georgia Tech. 

Four years later, Weaver returned to his alma mater as A.D. and continued in that role until his retirement in 1989. MSU’s indoor football facility was nicknamed “The Weave” in his honor. Doug and his wife, Nancy, currently reside in Stillwater, Okla.
Plaxico Burress


October 13, 2016
Only nine Michigan State football players wear single-digit uniforms each season, but today Spartifacts identifies its all-time single-digit Spartan all-stars. 

No. 1: It’s difficult to pick between Andre Rison and Charles Rogers. Both were All-Americans.

No. 2: Kickoff returner extraordinaire Herb Haygood wins kudos as the best Spartan player ever to wear No. 2. We have to mention kicker Ralf Mojsiejenko, too.

No. 3: Former MSU punter Mike Sadler, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, is saluted as the best player to wear that number. Amp Campbell and Kurt Larson get special mention.

No. 4: Longtime NFL pro receiver Plaxico Burress , a consensus all-conference wideout in 1999, is the leader at number four. Former quarterback and future Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham is the runnerup.

No. 5: Two-time All-Big Ten cornerback Johnny Adams edges out Courtney Hawkins and Drew Stanton as Michigan State’s best player to don number five.

No. 6: Perhaps you’ve never heard of Arthur Buss, but this No. 6 won team MVP honors in 1933 as a tackle. Early ‘90s standout Mill Coleman and mid ‘90s safety Sorie Kanu were considered.

No. 7: Quarterback Brian Hoyer, a star now with the Cleveland Browns, wins honors as the top guy to wear seven. Early 1900s standout Lyman Frimodig and 1970s QB Eddie Smith also wore that number.

No. 8: Morten Andersen, the greatest Spartan placekicker and the NFL’s top all-time scorer, is an easy choice. Honorable mention to T.J. Duckett, Brandon Fields, Kirk Cousins and Hans Nielsen.

No. 9: Former all-conference safety Isaiah Lewis rounds out the single-digit Spartan all-stars. QBs Jeff Smoker and Todd Schultz are challengers.
Willie Thrower


October 11, 2016
Sixty-four years ago today—Oct. 11, 1952—a reserve quarterback named Willie Thrower came off the bench in the fourth quarter to spark Michigan State to a 48-6 victory over Texas A&M. 

The signal-caller from New Kensington, Pa. completed seven-of-nine passes, including a pair of touchdown tosses to Bert Zagers and Bernie Raterink. The victory extended MSU’s winning streak to 18 and vaulted the Spartans to the nation’s No. 1 ranking. 

Thrower completed 59 percent of his passes in 1952 for 400 yards and five touchdowns. Though he wasn’t drafted by the National Football League, he eventually signed a one-year contract for $8,500 with the Chicago Bears. On the road, Thrower roomed with future Pro Football Hall of Famer George Blanda. 

On Oct. 18, 1953, Thrower became the first African-American quarterback to play in the NFL. He completed 3-of-8 passes for 27 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. Thrower would only appear in one more NFL game and was cut by the Bears at the end of the season. 

It would be another 15 years before another black quarterback, Marlin Briscoe, would appear in an NFL contest. Thrower became a social worker in New York City, but eventually returned to New Kensington where he opened a tavern. On Feb. 20, 2002, he died of a heart attack at the age of 81.
Kirk Cousins


October 9, 2016
• Oct. 9, 1954: Duffy Daugherty claimed his very first victory as Michigan State’s head football coach. Pat Wilson sneaks over from the one-yard line for the game winning score.

• Oct. 9, 1965: Led by Bubba Smith and George Webster, the Spartans’ defensive unit limited Michigan to minus 51 yards rushing in a 24-7 win. 

• Oct. 9, 1971: A record crowd of 80,093 packed Spartan Stadium, but visiting Michigan, ranked No. 2 in the country, topped its hosts, 24-13. 

• Oct. 9, 1993: MSU defeats Michigan, 17-7, to open the Big Ten portion of the season. The Spartan defense held Wolverine runners to just 33 yards.

• Oct. 9, 1999: No. 4 Michigan State improved its record to 6-0 with a 34-31 victory over No. 3 Michigan in East Lansing. Quarterback Bill Burke (21-of-36 for 400 yards) and receiver Plaxico Burress (10 catches for 255 yards) both set single-game yardage records. 

  • Oct. 9, 2010: Coach Mark Dantonio’s 17th Spartans stayed unbeaten (6-0) with a 34-17 win at No. 18 Michigan. QB Kirk Cousins (284 yards passing) and running back Edwin Baker (147 yards rushing) led the offensive unit.


October 6, 2016
Spartan Stadium was filled to the brim, but it wasn’t for a football game. It was for a college hockey game between host Michigan State and Michigan.

The crowd that gathered for MSU marketing director Mark Hollis’s groundbreaking spectacle—74,544—was a raging success, filling the stadium to 103.4 percent of capacity. It broke a world attendance record that had stood for 41 years.

Spartan fans erupted just 3:35 into the first period when Adam Hall scored a power-play goal. Michigan tied it up near the end of opening period.

In the second stanza, Michigan took the lead with 16:52 on the clock, but Duncan Keith’s power-play score once again tied the game.

In period number three, the Wolverines once again jumped in front. It appeared the lead would stand, but State wouldn’t go away. With just 47 seconds remaining, MSU’s Jim Slater found the back of the net and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

FSN Detroit broadcast the game and made it available nationally.

“It was a really amazing experience,” said Spartan goaltender Ryan Miller.

The Cold War set off a wave of outdoor ice hockey games in large stadiums, including a number of National Hockey League games.
John L. Smith


October 4, 2016
Forty-one years ago today—Oct. 4, 1975—Coach Denny Stolz’s Spartan football team beats Coach Dan Devine’s first Notre Dame squad, 10-3, in South Bend. The key play was a 76-yard run by Tyrone Wilson, setting up a four-yard touchdown by Levi Jackson. State passed the ball only four times and had zero penalties. Other memorable Spartan moments on this date:

Oct. 4, 1913: Michigan Agricultural College (MAC, later to become MSU) opened what would turn out to be a perfect 7-0 season with a 26-0 victory over Olivet. 

Oct. 4, 1930: MAC played Michigan to a 0-0 tie, snapping the Wolverines’ streak of 14 consecutive wins in the series. During that span, U-M had outscored its neighbors, 392-9. 

Oct. 4, 1952: In Portland, Ore., Gene Lekenta’s second-chance, last-second field goal lifted Michigan State over Oregon State, 17-14, extending the Spartans’ winning streak to 17 straight. 

Oct. 4, 1997: MSU quarterback Todd Schultz completed 19-of-31 passes for a career-high 304 yards and his Spartans beat Minnesota, 31-10. It was MSU’s 17th consecutive win versus the Gophers. 

Oct. 4, 2003: Rookie coach John L. Smith improved his Spartan record to 5-1 with a 31-3 Homecoming victory over Indiana. 

Oct. 4, 2008: Brian Hoyer passed for 184 yards and Javon Ringer added 91 more on the ground to lead MSU past Iowa, 16-13. 

Oct. 4, 2014: Michigan State’s held off a fourth-quarter rally by Nebraska and hands the Huskers their first loss of the season, 27-22. Wide receiver Tony Lippett caught a TD pass of 55 yards, then tallied what would turn out to be the winning score on a 32-yard run. 
Erik Furseth


October 2, 2016
For decades of Michigan State football and basketball fans, Erik Furseth’s voice was more familiar that anyone else. Celebrating his 86th birthday on Oct. 2, his legendary vocal chords spoke into the public address microphone at Spartan Stadium (1971-98) and Jenison Field House and the Breslin Center (1968-2002) for decades. 

The 1953 Michigan State University graduate joined Lansing’s WILS Radio as disk jockey “Erik O”, serving at the station for 18 years. Furseth, a native of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, played football for Biggie Munn and basketball for Pete Newell. He played in MSU’s first Big Ten basketball game against Northwestern in 1951. 

Furseth lived in East Lansing, but moved to Traverse City in 1995. He still does work as the P.A. announcer for football, basketball and baseball finals for the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
Gloria Becksford


September 29, 2016
Eleven years ago today—September 29, 1995—Michigan State softball star Gloria Becksford became the first Spartan female athlete to have her number retired. 

A native of Holland, Mich., she pitched MSU to the 1976 College World Series title. 

Becksford initially attended Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, then transferred to Michigan State where she led the Spartans to the epitome of softball glory. During her first season as a Spartan (1975), she won 17 games and led State to a third-place finish nationally. 

During her greatest year (1976), Becksford pitched in 24 of MSU’s 28 games. In 137.1 innings, she allowed only 59 hits and just 11 walks. Her record of 17-1 and 0.56 stand as Spartan records. She tossed three no-hitters during her career. Becksford also was an excellent hitter, batting .370. 

As the Spartans’ head coach from 1980-93, she led MSU to 259 victories. Becksford was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1986. 

In 1992, she became a member of Michigan State’s Athletics Hall of Fame charter class.  
Biggie Munn


September 27, 2016
Sixty-nine years ago today—September 27, 1947—Clarence “Biggie” Munn made his debut as head football coach at Michigan State, but it was a game he’d rather forget. At Michigan, the Wolverines pummeled the Spartans’ new coach by a score of 55-0.

  In his book, The Spartans, author Fred Stabley wrote: The 55-0 disaster might have crushed lesser men, but not Biggie. If there was one thing he had been all his life, it was a fighter. Born on the wrong side of the tracks in Minneapolis, he knew the use of adversity: you turned it to your advantage. For the rest of his coaching career, he used the memory of that embarrassment at Ann Arbor to fire himself to a frenzy as coach Michigan game approached and to goad his athletes into stupendous effort toward revenge. 

Said Biggie later, “I didn’t know what to tell those kids. I felt that I had let them down. I was low and I was discouraged. And then, just as I reached the door, I got mad … at myself. What right did I have to feel so low? How about those players of mine? How were they feeling? How could I cheer them up? What could I do to help them forget?” 

So Munn railed about the conditions of the stadium dressing room where something had gone wrong with the plumbing, and water and overflow from toilets were inches deep all over the floor.” 

“Biggie surprised everyone,” one of his players, Howard Adams recalled. “He was so made the tears streaked down out of his eye, and his face was beet red as he raged about Kris Kringle (Fritz Crisler) unleashing the sewage into our dressing room at halftime.”

Though the Spartans lost the following year to Michigan, 13-7, Munn ultimately got his revenge, winning the next five times MSU faced the Wolverines.


September 25, 2016
Forty-two years ago today—Sept. 25, 1974—Michigan State University’s newest athletics facility opened its doors. An NHL exhibition game between the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues was the first event held at Munn Arena. Named in honor of former Spartan football coach and athletics director Clarence “Biggie” Munn, it smashed attendance records that first season, drawing 118,875 fans. The first sellout at Munn Arena was on Nov. 16, 1974 when MSU beat North Dakota, 6-2. Spartan goaltender set a school record that night, registering 30 saves in the first half alone.
Clarence Peaks


September 23, 2016
  Today would have been former Michigan State football standout Clarence Peaks’ 81st birthday. A T-formation quarterback at Flint’s Central High School, he lettered for Coach Duffy Daugherty as a running back from 1954 through 1956. State’s No. 26 was a major Heisman Trophy candidate as a senior in ‘56, but Peaks’ season was cut short by a leg injury in game five at Illinois. Perhaps his greatest game was in the Spartans’ 1956 Rose Bowl victory over UCLA when he scored a touchdown and passed for another, setting up Dave Kaiser’s eventual game-winning field goal. During his collegiate career, Peaks gained 988 yards rushing, averaging more than five yards per attempt. He was an NFL first-round draft pick in 1957, chosen seventh overall by the Philadelphia Eagles behind Paul Hornung, Jon Arnett, John Brodie, Ron Kramer, Len Dawson and Jim Brown. During his seven seasons in Philly, Peaks rushed for 2,927 yards, second-best all-time behind only Steve Van Buren. He played two final NFL campaigns for the Pittsburgh Steelers, winding up with career totals of 3,660 yards rushing and 1,793 yards receiving. Peaks then became a radio and TV analyst for the Eagles, but gave up those duties to become a financial consultant. He died in 2007 at the age of 71.
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