The 2011 Michigan Wolverines usher in a new era under first year head coach Brady Hoke tomorrow when they host
This also marks the beginning of the post-Benny, post-Andy Era of Know Your Foe. While there are plenty of places to get a football preview on the U-M/WMU showdown, the MZone's Know Your Foe is the place for the other info about our foe from Kalamazoo. So, without further adieu, let's begin, shall we?
Dwight B. Waldo established the Western State Normal School. Waldo firmly believed in diversity and opened the doors to many females and minorities to attend the college. Western was also the first school in the country with a specific department designed to prepare teachers to effectively educate students in rural parts of America. Twenty-four years after opening its doors, in 1927 the school was renamed Western State Teachers College. Waldo is credited with keeping the school open when many government officials wanted to shut it down during the Great Depression. The school's football stadium and library are named in his honor.
In 1941, the school became known as Western Michigan College of Education. On February 26, 1957 Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams signed a bill making Western Michigan College the state's fourth public university. It was officially re-named Western Michigan University sometime after that.
Location - WMU's main campus is located in Kalamazoo, which is the largest city in the southwestern region of our great state. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of just over 74,000 people and cops who will kick your ass if you spit on them.
The city is named after the adjacent Kalamazoo River. There is disagreement regarding where the actual name Kalamazoo came from. It is generally believed to come from either the Potawatomi or Odawa Indians who were native to the area before the Europeans fur traders came through.
|"You kids get off my village!"|
Nickname - Broncos.
|This picture is so staged, it's painful|
In 1939, the “Broncos” nickname was selected by the athletic board. This was considered the best of the many suggested names turned in for consideration at the time (proving just how unimaginative folks in Kalamazoo were in 1939). The entry was submitted by assistant football coach and WMU alumnus, John Gill. Gill later served as the Bronco head football coach and associate athletic director until he retired in 1969. For his naming efforts, Gill was awarded a check for $10.00. He promptly turned the money over to the Waldo Stadium building fund (okay, even in 1939, you have to think the building fund folks went, "Seriously? Ten dollars? Gee, thanks. I don't know how we were ever going to pay for that one toilet paper holder in the men's room near the south tunnel. But - holy crap! - happy days are here now and our problems are solved! Thanks for giving 'til it hurt, John!)
Mascot - Since 1988, a costumed horse named Buster Bronco has been the official mascot. It is interesting to note that is the same mascot name is used by Boise State, yet there is no talk of changing the mascot like the original "Hilltopper" name, probably because they assume the suggestions for replacement might go about as well as they did when they chose the team name in '39. Buster is considered part of the cheer team, although he is not sanctioned by the NCAA.
|I'm not drunk, my eyes are just tired|
Buster's web page claims he is the world’s largest Bronco fan, and loves kid Bronco fans most of all, which probably gives Michigan AD Dave Brandon an erection (not about the kids, but for having a mascot that kids like. Brandon believes mascots are the end-all-be-all way to hook young college football fans as evidenced by kids across Michigan constantly begging mom and dad to take them to Western Michigan games). Buster's site also explains that there may be a small fee if he is asked to attend a community event in order to help pay for transportation. Note: never trust a mascot who hits you up for gas money.
|Does my lightning scare you?|
Their primary sports logo is a demonized brown horse head, which looks nothing like the mascot walking the sidelines, but does make me think of that scene in The Godfather. They’ve updated it to add the "W" behind the horse head.
This angry horse head logo has been used on their gold football helmets since 1998. Prior to the gold helmet, Western had a series of Brown, Yellow, and White helmet designs. This year, they’ve updated their helmet to add the W underneath the angry horse logo.
Maybe it's just me, but I'm not a fan of having more helmet designs than there are James Bond movies. It's anti-tradition. Again, just me.
|This is NOT the WMU logo, but rather|
Yost's reaction if we lose Saturday
Fight Song: The appropriately named “WMU Fight Song." (again, not too imaginative. "I know, let's name our fight song, Fight Song!") If you listen to it in the link below, it sounds like one of the songs that didn't quite make the cut in the original Broadway run of Hello, Dolly! It was born as a result of a 1959 contest to replace existing songs (they sure have a lot of contests at WMU). The contest was open to the University community, and won by Walter Gilbert, a WMU Alumnus.
“WMU Fight Song”
Fight on fight on for Western;
take the ball, make a score,
win the game.
Onward for the Brown and Gold;
Push ‘em back, push ‘em back
bring us fame.
Fight on fight on for Western;
over one, over all we will reign.
Fight, Broncos fight,
fight with all your might.
Western win this game!
the traditions link on the official Broncos website simply takes you to a page with general school info and words to the fight song. I did discover a yearly event called the Bronco Bash, which is a welcome back festival for students, staff and the local community. And in the comments from 09, some WMU alums and attendees mentioned a touchdown cannon being a tradition (along with many, many, many other schools who also are not on hills).
My favorite tradition is the one started by Andy in the '09 edition of KYF (and continued here) of putting up this picture of their SAE rush recruiting effort. More please.
Academics: The University offers 237 degree programs - including 29 at the doctoral level - through 7 academic colleges. They produce an incredible number of school teachers. Andy swears every teacher he had from kindergarten thru high school went to Western. WMU's College of Aviation is one of the largest and most prestigious aviation programs in the United States; the university is also noted for its Paper Engineering and Behavior Analysis programs, it's Army ROTC program, as well as for its Haworth College of Business Integrated Supply Chain Management (which, far as we can tell, has nothing to do with Harry Potter).
According to the US News and World Report list, WMU's ranking is #179 on the National Universities list. Michigan is #29. Back in '09, a commenter took exception to our arrogance about Michigan on a Michigan blog. If that's the case, then they're absolutely going to hate Yost's smart-ass asides sprinkled throughout the 2011 version here today. Then again, we would expect nothing less on the WMU-Zone blog, either.
|Would you rather see football players or cheerleaders?|
In 1976, a sophomore tailback named Jerome Persell finished second in the nation in rushing yards (behind Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett). They have also produced NFL players John Offerdahl, Greg Jennings and, most recently, Louis Delmas (the Lions 2nd round pick in 2009). They currently claim 8 active NFL players and 3 CFL players.
U-M Connection: Three of the coaches at the University of Michigan were assistants together at Western Michigan in the 1980’s: Wolverine head coach Brady Hoke was an assistant with the Broncos from 1984-86, while Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno each served on the WMU football staff from 1982-86.
Other Athletics: It looks like they field six men’s and nine women’s varsity sports. We regularly play the WMU hockey team in the CCHA, where we hold a 60-25-10 advantage. In 1964 and 1965, Western Michigan won the NCAA Championship in Men’s Cross Country. These are the only NCAA titles for the school. The 1955 Bronco baseball team finished second in the nation. WMU counts several active and former NHL and MLB players as alumni.
But the coolest WMU alum just might be "President" Terry Crews, who played football for the Broncos and then in the NFL before segueing into a successful acting career (TV's Everybody Hates Chris and Are We There Yet? along with films like White Chicks and The Expendables). The "President" title comes from my favorite role of his: President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in the underrated comedy, Idiocracy.
I’m confident, hopeful, terrified, and excited. Our defense should be better (could it possibly be worse?). Our offense should get it rolling, even with Shoelace under center. As a result, no matter what a douchebag like Colin Cowherd thinks, the faithful in The Big House will be rewarded.
Western Michigan 10