Legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler knew right away that he had something special when Anthony Carter suited up for his first workout with the Wolverines in 1979.
Schembechler had the freshmen in shorts and wanted to test his quarterbacks” arms telling them to simply overthrow each receiver on a fly route.
Everyone, that is, except Carter.
“He ran under every ball,” Schembechler said with a gleam in his eye. “They couldn”t overthrow him. I knew then he”d be a great one.”
It was fitting that Schembechler himself was on hand as Carter was honored last Saturday as one of the eight newest inductees to the Michigan Hall of Fame. Edsel Buchanan, Herman Fishman, Bennie McRae, Elmer Mitchell, Bill Mogk, Penny Neer and Michael “Campy” Russell were also honored. The 2002 inductees were introduced at halftime of the Michigan-Wisconsin basketball game on Saturday night.
Carter drew a standing ovation, but no one clapped more loudly than his former coach.
“He”s just exactly what you”d want in a Michigan athlete,” Schembechler said. “He was a true gentleman, unselfish, tremendously popular with his players and invaluable to his team.”
Carter lived up to every expectation he generated in his memorable first practice. Just the second Wolverine to be a three-time All-American, Carter is known as one of the most prolific receivers and playmakers in Michigan history. Widely remembered for scoring the first time he touched the ball (punt return against Northwestern) and on his final catch at home (a long touchdown reception against Purdue), Carter left a distinguished mark at Michigan as a two-time team MVP.
“He was just an outstanding athlete, and more than that an outstanding person,” Schembechler said with a grin.
Another notable honoree was Mitchell, who is famous as the “Father of Intramurals.” Shortly after becoming Michigan”s first basketball coach in 1919, Mitchell started as the Director of Intramural Sports at Michigan and became a legend for his invention of Speedball, coining the “IM” abbreviation and designing the Intramural Sports Building on Hoover Street.
Buchanan, arguably one of the best gymnasts in school history, became the only NCAA athlete to win three consecutive national trampoline championships (1948-1951).
McRae, Mogk and Neer all made their presence felt in their particular sports. McRae starred in football and track, while Mogk helped Michigan win its first baseball national title and Neer (earned eight letters in three varsity sports) each made their presence felt in their particular sports.
Two basketball stars, Fishman and Russell, rounded out the inductees. Fishman, one of Michigan”s most versatile athletes, lettered three times in basketball and baseball before playing in the Cincinnati Reds” minor-league system and eventually becoming a World War II intelligence veteran.
Russell was an All-American basketball player who was the No.1 draft selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1974.
But the achievement that Russell is most proud of is the degree in Sports Management and Communication that he returned to Ann Arbor to complete in 2000. With the help of former Athletic Director Tom Goss, Russell fulfilled a promise he made to his mother years ago and said that receiving a University diploma is important in becoming a true “Michigan Man.”
“My concern is that there are a lot of guys who come through here and don”t get their degree and still are recognized as a great athlete,” Russell said.