Dear Michigan State University Football Players Association members:
This year on Homecoming Weekend, September 26-27, the MSUFPA and the Michigan State Athletic Department will honor some of the best and smartest football players from the BIG10 Conference in the last 70 some years. We are honoring All Big10 and All Big10 Academic football players from the past.
These players will be recognized at the MSUFPA Reunion Dinner Friday evening, as at the Saturday football game (plans are underway for their recognition - specific details to follow). We hope all former players, coaches and managers can join us at these events along with the MSUFPA Reunion Tailgate. Following the Tailgate you and your guest will be guests of Mark Hollis and the Athletic department for our football game. Kickoff is set for 12:00pm.
We treasure these players’ commitment to excellence both athletically and academically and we look forward to sharing a great weekend with all former Spartans.Spartan Pride,
· All members are reminded that if they attend the Friday night dinner or the Tailgate, they will be eligible to receive 2 (two)
free complementary tickets for the homecoming game. SEE FEES AND COSTS INCLUDED IN THIS MAILING.
· PLEASE NOTE ALL HOTELS HAVE SIGN-UP DEADLINE.
· The MSUFPA is close to 2000 strong. When you run into old teammates invite them to be a member if they aren’t. If you do not use e-mail send us an email of someone (relative) you are close to.
Bullough, whose family remains one of the foremost in Spartan athletics, turned 80 on Friday. The university held a birthday tribute to the former MSU player and coach at Kellogg Center on Jan. 11.
“Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are for his full and speedy recovery,” said John Lewandowski, MSU’s associate athletic director for communications.
A 1955 graduate, Bullough played for Biggie Munn from 1951-54. The Canton, Ohio, native was a member of MSU’s national championship team in 1952 and a two-way junior staring guard on the Spartans’ first Rose Bowl team in 1954.
Bullough played four seasons with the Green Bay Packers before returning to East Lansing as an assistant coach from 1959-69, then returned to the NFL as mostly an assistant for the next 24 years. He spent parts of two seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ head coach in 1985 and ‘86.
Bullough’s two sons, Shane and Chuck, went on to play for MSU in the 1980s. Henry’s grandsons Max and Riley were part of the Spartans’ Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl-winning team this season, though senior linebacker Max was suspended for the bowl game for an unspecified violation of team rules. Their brother, Byron, is a senior at Traverse City St. Francis High and will join the MSU football team this fall.
Hank Bullough was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2013. He resides in Okemos with his wife, Lou Ann.
DES MOINES, IOWA — The news of Norm Parker’s death left members of his Iowa football family dazed.
This, after all, was a man who stymied quarterbacks, defied diabetes — and emerged as the most beloved assistant coach in Hawkeye history.
“It’s hard to put into words,” said Jordan Bernstine, a Des Moines Lincoln alum who played defensive back for the Hawkeyes from 2007 to 2011. “Just because he coached for so long, touched so many players.
“I’m still trying to even wrap my head around it.”
Parker, Iowa’s defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2011, died Monday at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics at age 72. A cause of death was not provided by the university.
Parker was born in Hazel Park and played at Eastern Michigan. He started his coaching career at Ypsilanti St. John’s High School in 1965-67. He coached the offensive line at EMU in 1968, and he coached the outside linebackers at MSU in 1983-89 before adding defensive coordinator duties in 1990-94.
Parker spent much of his life in a dimly lit film room, or doodling on a board. Conversations were typically brief and blunt.
Yet, Parker’s bond with players was unbreakable.
“He was that coach who would prefer not to be in the spotlight,” Bernstine said. “His coaching method was unorthodox, but he gets his point across, none the less.”
While other assistants — such as Bill Snyder, Barry Alvarez and Joe Philbin — used Kinnick Stadium as a launching point, Parker made Melrose Avenue his final destination.
“Norm was just a staple,” said Sean Considine, a Hawkeye safety from 2001 to 2004. “It was really impressive to see a guy his age who coached so long, still be able to relate to kids a couple generations removed from his era.
“Kids really wanted to play for him. They wanted to play hard for him.”
Kirk Ferentz, who took over the program on Dec. 2, 1998, was the head coach and lead actor. Parker was the scene-stealing curmudgeon.
Together, they guided Iowa to four top-10 finishes in the Associated Press poll and two Big Ten titles (2002, 2004).
“Norm played a major and key role in any on-the-field success we experienced during his 13 years as our defensive coordinator,” Ferentz said in a statement. “More important and valuable, is the strong and positive impact that he had on our players, staff, support staff and fans — everyone he interfaced with during his 15 years in Iowa.”
Parker was named assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2011.
His defenses ranked among the top 10 against the run five times, and were among the top 10 in scoring three times from 2008 to 2011.
“The guy was a defensive genius, but within that was the fact he never carried himself like (a genius),” said Anthony Herron, a defensive lineman from 1997 to 2000. “He never tried to feel like he could outsmart every other coach in the country by coming up with all these exotic blitzes or these new fronts no one else was running.”
Parker began his career in the 1960s, and spent time at Eastern Michigan, Wake Forest, Minnesota, Illinois, East Carolina and Michigan State. He joined Ferentz’s original Hawkeye staff after two seasons at Vanderbilt.
“By the time Norm got to Iowa, he had already been around the block a few times,” Herron said.
Iowa’s defense allowed 31.5 points per game in 1999, ranking 98th out of 114 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
In the 2003 season, Parker assembled a unit that ranked seventh nationally in scoring (16.2 points), eighth against the run (92.7 yards) and 16th in total defense (314.5 yards).
In 2010, Iowa was fifth in total defense (332.1), sixth in rushing (101.5) and seventh in scoring (17.0).
“This game’s not rocket science,” Parker once said of his philosophy. “We sort of do what we do, and believe in what we do.”
There were moments when nobody did it better:
• Nov. 11, 2000 amounted to a coming-out party, as the Hawkeyes upset No. 12 Northwestern 27-17. The Wildcats averaged 36.8 points for the season, 10th best in the nation.
• Oct. 26, 2002, Iowa humbled No. 8 Michigan 34-9 in the famed Big House. The Wolverines managed just 22 rushing yards.
• Jan. 5, 2010 may have marked Parker’s masterpiece. The Hawkeyes smothered Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense and won the Orange Bowl 24-14.
“Norm was a guy who knew, if he could keep it simple enough, the kids could buy into it,” Herron said. “All his players could believe in what he was trying to accomplish with that scheme.”
For Considine, a signature success came Oct. 23, 2004, when Iowa beat Penn State 6-4.
“It was kind of a reflection of Norm Parker and the defense he had, but also the confidence coach Ferentz had in him,” Considine explained. “We actually took a safety on purpose, because we knew the defense was playing so well.
“I think the amount of respect coach Ferentz had for Norm was really clear and evident that day.”
Considine described Parker as “old school.” Bernstine recalled a story from his freshman year, when Parker pulling him aside at practice after he got burned time and time again on a double move — “like the curl and go or the slant and go,” Bernstine said.
Bernstine recalled Parker’s blunt, R-rated criticism.
“That’s not something you would think to hear a coach say,” Bernstine said. “But I knew exactly what he meant.
“And from that point on, I wasn’t getting beat on as many double moves.”
Parker took the same taciturn approach when dealing with diabetes.
He endured several hospital stays and surgeries, eventually having his right foot amputated during the 2010 season.
“When a lot of the health issues started going on, you didn’t even hear about it. Norm didn’t bring it up,” Bernstine said. “For me, it kind of came out of nowhere. I just saw him at practice, on the cart, instead of walking.
“He didn’t let it affect his attitude.”
Parker is survived by his wife, Linda, children Chelly, Joyce, Jim and Suzy, and six grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending in Michigan. A memorial service will be held in Iowa City at a later date.
Bernstine, who in 2012 suffered a serious knee injury as a member of the Washington Redskins, talked with Parker when he returned to Iowa City a couple months ago.
“He was joking with me when I saw him in the elevator, asking me about my rehab and my knee,” Bernstine said, “(and) if I was ready to race him.”
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Chelsea, Mich. Visitation will be Thursday for family and friends only. A memorial service will be held in Iowa City at a later date.Adapted from Bleacher Report
While the Michigan State University Football Spartans bask in the glory of their hard fought team effort Rose Bowl victory an unlikely hero in walk-on Kyler Elsworth emerged when he stepped into a starter's role and earned the game's defensive MVP Award. This is a timeless story about Rick Benedict, a walk-on from the Duffy Daugherty era.
Click below to Read More!
A bit of history that shows the path that brought the Bulloughs to MSU. An article written by Jack Ebling.
AGAINST ALL ODDS
It says here THE Ohio State University is a six-point favorite to rule the Big Ten and punch its ticket to the final BCS title game, likely against “King Jameis” and the Florida State Seminoles. That’s the storyline. The script is supposed to be “Script Ohio.”
But there’s another State in play here. Not a blue state these days, as it had been for four decades. And certainly not a red state, not this week when the Bucks could stop here. Try a green state. And try for a moment to understand why.
The Michigan State Spartans will show up in Lucas Oil Stadium. They’ve shown up often enough to post more non-vacated conference wins than any other B1G school since 2008. Saturday, they’ll try for triumph No. 41 in the last four years. Hail to the victors, indeed.
Win or lose, Mark Dantonio’s program deserves to be in Indy and in the national spotlight. Its coaches and players have paid a steep price with sweat equity. Some long-suffering fans have paid a price, too – and not just for premium seating. They’ve overcome the sneers and jeers after 26 years of sniffing other schools’ roses.
They’ve fought the fight because that’s what they are: 15-rounders. They haven’t been given a thing, except an incredible will to win and the skill to make that happen. And if the entitled can’t understand how MSU has crashed their party, it’s too late to call security.
Instead, it’s time to call the Spartans’ success what it is – a triumph for all the people who weren’t picked first, then picked themselves off the canvas. It’s all a State-of-mind. And for the unquestioned leader of this team, it’s deep in his genes and his soul.
Tuesday afternoon, we heard from Max Bullough the way Devin Gardner did on a double A-gap blitz. We were flattened by his intensity and floored by his intelligence. Then, we realized where the passion began, with a great-grandfather in England and one of the greatest granddads any player could have.
Sure, No. 40 came from No. 41, his father, Shane, an outstanding middle linebacker in East Lansing in his own right. But let’s add those numbers and flash back 81 years, to Leigh in Lancashire, England, then on to Scranton and Canton.
To truly understand Max, you have to know about Levi Bullough, a man who was Bullough-ish on work and opportunity, and his bride, Elizabeth Gibson. You have to see how his ancestors dealt with more than pass interference calls.
The year was 1932. And “The Great Depression” was anything but great in the United States or in Great Britain. Unable to find work anywhere in Europe, Levi set sail to New York City with his wife, his 2-year-old daughter, Annie, and a determination few could imagine, much less match.
When the Bulloughs landed at Ellis Island, Levi asked the nearest police officer, “Where’s the hard-coal country?” The officer answered, “There’s nothing here,” but pointed him toward Pennsylvania and one of the toughest lives anyone could have, post-slavery.
When they made it to Scranton, Levi was turned away because of ethnicity. He wasn’t Italian enough. “We don’t have any limeys here,” the straw boss said. That answer was rejected the way some champs scoff at preseason picks. “You’ll get tired of seeing me before I get tired of seeing you,” Levi answered.
Eventually, he shoveled his way in. Less than two years later, in January 1934, a son was born. The boy was named Henry. And Spartan history would never be the same. But so many things had to happen for Hank’s grandsons to ever land in East Lansing. The road was paved with love and heartbreak.
One of Hank’s most vivid memories at age 5 was watching his dad become a U.S. citizen. Levi’s pride was unmistakable as his family stood beside him at the courthouse. He never wanted anything but a chance. He figured he’d earn the rest. But it’s tough to earn when the boss man stops paying.
If you listen closely, you can almost hear Tennessee Ernie Ford and a song that sold more than 20 million copies. Feel free to snap your fingers:
You load 16 tons, and what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt.
St. Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go.
I owe my soul to the company store.
That’s the way it worked in those days. Otherwise, you didn’t. Not in Scranton. Not if that was all you could do. You lived in company housing, had whatever you could afford and some you couldn’t deducted from your paycheck. And you were grateful for the opportunity to suffer.
That’s exactly what Levi did as the family grew to five with the arrival of baby Doris, one year younger than Hank. When the mine shut down and the families’ belongings were placed on their doorsteps, it was time for another Bullough audible, one that would separate a father from his family but wouldn’t sack his indomitable spirit.
And that ethnicity issue? Not a problem when people bond together and show that life is a team sport. “Some Italian lady took us in for five months while my dad looked for work,” Hank said Tuesday. “I don’t know what we’d have done without her.”
Levi did what he could to survive after moving to Northeast Ohio. He slept in the back of a junkyard for weeks until he finally found work. He Bulloughed his way in at Timken Bearings, saying, “Just let me work till noon. If I’m not good enough, you can get rid of me.”
That wasn’t easy to do when Levi used a temporary badge to keep sneaking in to do jobs others wouldn’t. But it backfired when payday came from the back of a truck, and “Bullough” was nowhere to be found on the list for five weeks. The name was mistakenly listed as “Bullewski,” and no money meant no food or family.
When Levi’s checks finally started coming, so did Elizabeth, Annie, Henry and Doris to Canton. With two uncles, cousins and grandparents, there were 11 people in a two-bedroom house. Suddenly, and incredibly sadly, that number dropped to 10.
On their way into a neighborhood house for a wedding, Hank walked a few steps ahead of Doris. He never heard a car coming or saw the driver who had been drinking. What he did see would stay with him forever – his sister airborne, sailing over his head till she crashed to the ground nearly 20 feet away. The dent from her head collapsed the car’s fender and made it impossible to drive.
A massive operation couldn’t postpone the inevitable. With serious brain damage, Doris emerged from surgery, only to die in the hospital elevator as it clacked its way down several floors. A sister was gone. Another brother, Larry, arrived. But the Bulloughs kept chasing their American dream.
Starting with a fourth-grade education, Levi went to night school until he earned his high school equivalency. Annie became the first person on either side of the family to earn a high school diploma. And Hank would become the first college graduate after coming to campus at age 16.
The suffering continued, however. For close to two decades, Levi was bedridden with rheumatoid arthritis and had to be turned every two hours by a loving Elizabeth. Black lung disease, an occupational hazard, finally took his life at age 67.
Meanwhile, Hank pushed on as a student and a football player, working 40 hours a week in a steel mill and picking up extra shifts as a camp director at a park in the summer. After starring for Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty as a 202-pound lineman, he became a fifth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers, pre-Vince Lombardi.
“When I go college, if I graduate, do I have start over as an apprentice in the shop?” was all Hank wanted to know. His buddies would all wind up in the mines and the mills. How could he possibly see where football and an MSU degree would take him?
It took him to the altar eventually. While coaching for Duffy in 1960, Hank was smitten by the lovely Lou Ann, who happened to be dating a baseball player. After betting area coaching legend Charlie Gorman that he could finagle a date with her, he drove his future wife by Gorman’s place on Clippert Street, honked his horn and hollered, “I’ll see you at Dagwood’s in a half hour!”
Married two years later, the sure bet was that Hank and Lou Ann would raise some great kids. Let the record show they were three-for-three: daughter Cheryl and sons Shane and Chuck, the later pair playing eight seasons at middle linebacker for their dad’s alma mater. After Shane became an Academic All-American, Chucky set an MSU season record for tackles that stands to this day.
Flash forward a couple of decades, after Cheryl became a probation officer in Jackson, Shane a shopping mall developer in Traverse City and Chuck an assistant coach in the NFL and the college ranks, currently at Syracuse. They all made a more important mark as parents, combining to bless Hank and Lou Ann with nine grandkids.
Though his daughter might be the family’s best athlete, Shane’s three boys aren’t bad, either. Max, another Academic All-American, then Riley and soon Byron have given the Spartans a third generation of Bulloughs and enough production to rank as the first family of Big Ten football.
As proud as he is of that heritage, Max has grown a bit tired of the storyline. When ESPN wanted to come in and do a GameDay feature on that lineage, No. 40 said no, an unheard-of rejection. He’d only do the piece if the focus included others from the nation’s No. 1 defense the past 12 weeks. Thus, we got a “Fantastic Four” superhero story with Shilique Calhoun, Denicos Allen and Darqueze Dennard.
And the Spartans got another example of the kind of camaraderie it takes to build champions. Underdogs? Just Spartan Dawgs. And their bite is considerably worse than their bark.
But when you wonder, “How did this all happen? How is MSU suddenly a player on the national stage again?” understand that nothing was sudden. Almost nothing great ever is. Try nine decades in the making this time.
Thanks, Levi – and not for a namesake’s 88-yard run that produced a bigger upset in 1974 than Saturday’s outcome could ever be. You’d be incredibly proud of your great grandkids. Shane’s oldest boy, the tireless worker and team leader? He’s an awful lot like you.
Take “The Drive with Jack Ebling” (@DrivewithJack) weekdays from 3-6 p.m. on The Game 730 AM in Lansing, online at drivewithjack.com or on smart phones with the iHeartRadio app. And watch “Press Pass with Jack Ebling” – and his radio cohorts – Sundays from 11 p.m.-midnight on FOX 47. To hear radio interviews or see television segments, try JackEblingChannel on YouTube.
I am taking the opportunity to use this forum as an avenue to speak to you relative to an issue very dear to me and I think also very important to you.
As you know, I am currently one of the eight trustees that you have elected and entrusted me with preserving the integrity of our university along with making decisions that are the best for our school.
I have devoted many years at MSU covering many disciplines that relate to our image. Starting as a player in the 50’s to an assistant coach under Duffy in the 60’s and returning as Head football coach in the 80’s/90’s along with the Athletic Directorship as well. In each case I have had the best interests of our University at heart.
I write to you now as not only your Trustee but also a member of the MSU FPA. There is an issue of significant importance that reflects on our University, its traditions and its integrity. We have always been a University that does not turn its back on tradition.
There is a movement afoot to remove the Block “S” from the Michigan license plates this coming February, 2014, and replace it with the Spartan Head. If this were the only item it might be different but we have already seen the Block “S” disappear from the center of our gridiron, basketball court and other venues along with promotional clothing. This is troubling to me. We have had the symbol of the Block “S” as our logo since the time in MSU history back as far as the late 1890’s/early 1900’s. It was the logo for our first Varsity Club back in 1915 and has continued on since that time.
I can understand using the Spartan head and using it to also help identify the MSU Spartans, but you do not just throw away tradition, loyalty to our past history and former Spartan participants. Our Block “S” has been an external symbol of MAC, MSC, and MSU. It is not up for sale to the highest bidder or should it be replaced. Even Coach Dantonio has spoken of “Embracing the Past”.
A decision of this magnitude should not be made in isolation and it should be a well thought out move. But my point is that just as the Board of Trustees in the past decided that our school should move from MAC to MSC to MSU, so should the current board be the final group to make any decision this major and look for a possible change in our traditions.
I gather you all can see where my loyalties lie. Coaches Macklin thru Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty were all proud and knew our symbol at MSU is the Block “S”. Changing it now would be a slap in the face to all that have gone before us and built the Spartan traditions. I have requested time at our Trustees meeting in early December to discuss this issue and attempt to get the Board to respect our heritage and conclude that the Block “S” should indeed be our legacy, logo and continued tradition.
Not all of you may agree with me and I realize that you have a right to your opinions. But go into your closet and pull out your Varsity Jacket, your Letter Sweater and consider the history of this University. Our Block “S” has been that symbol of consistency and in my mind should continue as such.
I would consider it an honor to have you walk along side of me and voice your opinions, one way or the other, but take an active part in this historic moment to right our ship and correct its course. Please send in your correspondence in emails, letters, phone calls, texts, tweets and Facebook postings to our Administrators to preserve the integrity of our emblem. I would recommend contacting the Director of Athletics, President of the University, Board of Trustees and let your voices be heard and expressed.
They are as follows:
Lou Anna K. Simon, 450 Hannah Administration Building, MSU, East Lansing, MI 48824-1046,
Mark Hollis, Director of Athletics, 248 Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI 48824-1025 Trustees:
Falyene Owen, Joel Ferguson, Chairman, Dianne Byrum, Diann Woodard, Brian Breslin, Vice Chairman, Brian Masallam, Mitch Lyons can all be contacted at 450 Hannah Administration Bldg, E. Lansing, MI 48824-1046, 517-353-4647
Their emails can be found at the MSU website, www.msu.edu .
I appreciate the MSU FPA giving me this forum to express my opinion and relate to you what is happening currently.
Again, I wish you all Happy Holidays and Go Green!!
Coach George Perles
MSU FPA Member
WHERE ARE THEY NOW
When the Michigan State Spartan football team kicked off their 2013 season this fall, a familiar name appeared on the roster. A name that was part of the program six decades ago when MSU began play in the Big Ten. That name is BULLOUGH. This year, eyes will be focused on State’s All-American middle linebacker candidate, Max Bullough and his brother Riley, a projected starter as a running back.
But make no mistake about it, Spartan football is still about their grandfather—Henry Bullough.
Henry “Hank” Bullough played on Michigan State’s first Rose Bowl team, served as defensive coordinator for the 1965 and ’66 National Championship teams and today at the age of 79 working Spartan strong as the Executive Director of the Michigan State University Football Player’s Asssociaton. (www.msufpa.com)
Founded in 2004, the Association is open to all former MSU football players, coaches and managers. There are no membership fees and you need not have lettered in order to join. Our mission is “to support where we can, the current MSU Spartan Football program, along with helping those who have fallen on hard times. Our motto “Spartans Helping Spartans” goes a long way of telling who we are. Through fundraising and donations we continue to help our own, and support the current football team in many ways.”
And while the motto of our Association is “Spartans Helping Spartans”, the slogan that appears on our membership cards, “YOU ARE THE PROGRAM!” is a great way to describe Hank Bullough. Although, it would be more accurate to state that Hank Bullough has been the program, is the program and probably will always be the program at Michigan State. Here’s why.
Born the son of a coal miner from Lancashire, England, Hank’s father, migrated to Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1933 to find work. Hank told me his father lived in a car for several months and worked for free in order to prove he was worthy of a job. At the age of five, the Bullough family left Scranton and moved to Canton, Ohio where Hank started playing football. “It was an Ohio football hotbed,” Hank recalls. (And today the site of the NFL Hall of Fame where several Bullough-taught pupils have been enshrined).
Hank was an outstanding offensive guard and two way player at Canton Timken High School. Good enough to earn a scholarship offer from Michigan State’s coach Biggie Munn. “Coach” Bullough (this former team manager still respectfully addresses him as “Coach”) was a part of Munn’s undefeated National Championship that shutout both Notre Dame and Michigan. “It was a great thrill being part of that team,” Hank told me. But freshman were unable to play for the varsity until 1972. Hank did, however, play on both sides of the ball for Biggie’s second straight undefeated National Championship squad in 1952.
The year 1953 marked MSU’s first season of competition in the Big Ten. State’s 27 game winning streak was snapped by Purdue. The 6-0 loss to the “Spoilermakers” was the only blemish on their record. The Spartans finished at 8-1 and earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl. They beat UCLA by two touchdowns. “Playing on our first Rose Bowl team was probably my biggest thrill as a Spartan,” Hank stated.
The usual overflow crowd of over 100,000 (mostly west coast fans) certainly didn’t faze the Spartans, and especially “Coach” Bullough. Not after the real action that took place prior to the game when Hank rescued an elderly lady, confined to a wheel chair, from a fire at a Pasadena Hotel before boarding the team bus.
“Probably the second biggest highlight of my career was coaching in the ’66 “Game of the Century.” The historic game, which ended in a 10-10 tie after Notre Dame’s head coach, Ara Parseghian, decided to run out the clock on the final drive and settle for the draw in the epic battle at Spartan Stadium. The game that prompted State’s head coach, Duffy Daugherty’s post-game quip to the press: “A tie is like kissing your sister.”
Legendary Spartans like George Webster, Bubba Smith, Charlie “Mad Dog” Thornhill, Harold Lucas and Jess Phillips spearheaded the Spartan defense during those back to back championship years. Several key recruits were the product of Duffy Daugherty’s pioneer decision to fully integrate the football team and offer scholarships to athletes from the south when programs like Alabama and Texas were segregated.
No doubt, this was a talented group. But talent is one thing. Teaching them to play together and win consecutive championships is quite another. Games are won and lost on the practice field and that’s where Coach Bullough molded his crew from diverse backgrounds into a hard hitting and disciplined defensive juggernaut. The same type of hard hitting defense that MSU has made great strides of recapturing under the leadership of Mark Dantonio.
Practices under Coach Bullough were always tough and sometimes brutal. Case on point: Pat Gallinaugh, described by Hank as “his biggest surprise, a guy who worked his butt off to become an All-Big Ten player.
This former manager can recall seemingly endless “belly floppers” (a drill that begins in the standing position while shuffling your feet, hit the ground with your belly, get back up and continue) and “gassers” (minute long wind sprints that came before concluding practice).
But what Pat Gallinaugh withstood to become a starter, by today’s standards, would be labeled a cruel and unusual practice. Here’s how Gallinaugh (who went on to become a Michigan Hall of Fame High School Coach) described the drill: “We used a 4-man defensive sled. There would be 4 down linemen up on the sled and a “white rock” with a football 10 yards behind the sled, facing the 4 down linemen. Hank would ride the sled, and on his foot movement his 4 linemen would hit the sled and do a seat roll and then scramble to their feet to pursue and tackle me.
“I would have to run laterally, in either direction, Gallinaugh explained, “and turn up the field and all four linemen would gang tackle me.
Can you imagine what it was like to get hit by Harold Lucas, Bubba, Bob Viney and Dan Bierowicz all at once?” (Actually, I can’t imagine being hit by those guys-- because they would have carried my dead body off the field or rushed me to the hospital had I survived!).
“Anyhow, I was the “white rock” and I decided if I was going to take a beating, I may as well do my best to give one back,” Gallinaugh (who has become a ‘poet laureate’ for MSU football) continued. “So I decided I would be a human bowling ball and aimed full speed, right for the knees of the first man to get there. There was a tremendous collision, but we all got up. After about three times, Hank stopped the drill and to my knowledge we never did it again.” That’s how I proved to the coaches that I was too tough to quit,” Gallinaugh concluded.
That was just one example of Hank Bullough’s smash mouth, no nonsense old school approach to preparing his defense for Saturdays. And not surprising, considering Hank played pro ball under Vince Lombardi.
“There were only 12 teams in the NFL when I played,” Hank reminisced.
“It was a tougher game with tougher players. I had to face guys like Deacon Jones, Sam Huff, Rosey Grier and Andy Robustelli, who could start for any modern day club,” Hank added.
Hank Bullough defenses played with an edge. Or as Duffy would often tell his team: “Go out there and play with a reckless abandon, but under control and keep the hits on the field, not after the play.” It was that kind of edge that led to some pre-game locker room fights featuring Gallinaugh versus Bubba as the main event. The fights were never taken personally. They were the result of intense and physical practice sessions.
To a man, all the players respected Hank and admired him for helping them reach their potential. If anything, Hank’s every day hard nosed work ethic inspired players, coaches and managers alike to keep up with his full speed “don’t look back cause someone may be gaining on you” practice pace.
Hank’s vocal and intense temperament on the practice field (in my sleep I can still hear him shouting “hit, shed, pursue and tackle!) is a total contrast to his off the field demeanor. “As tough as Hank was on the field, he truly cared about his players,” Pat Gallinaugh said. “An example: we have no dues for our MSUFPA because a few former players had fallen on hard times and couldn’t afford to join the club, so Hank said there would be no dues to join.” Coach Bullough was also in the forefront when it came to raising money for George Webster when he was dying from cancer. Since then, Webster’s memory has been honored with a scholarship named after him.
Another Spartan from Ohio, John Shinsky, who had a street gangster mentality and played like he had a chip on his shoulder, today, thanks Coach Bullough for treating him like a son. “He was my most influential coach and had an exceptional understanding of the game,” said the former defensive tackle and 1972 team captain. In spite of several knee injuries, Shinsky is still considered one of the toughest players in MSU history.
Shinsky was raised in an orphanage and talked about how Hank became a father figure to him. “He still loves and supports all his players,” Shinsky told me from his home near Lansing. “He was a hard nosed coach and taught us how to become leaders.” And without a doubt the tough kid from Ohio, Dr. John L. Shinsky, has become a community leader and fulfilled his lifelong dream of opening up his own orphanage in Mexico.
As a fund raising event for the orphanage, Shinky (battered knees and all) along with former teammates Joe DeLamiellieure (NFL Hall of Famer) and Eljay Bowron (former head of the Secret Service under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) and Dick Comar (former coach) bicycled their way out of Spartan Stadium en route to Matamoris, Mexico on a 2000 mile journey to raise a half million dollars at the half of MSU’s 2009 spring scrimmage.
Those are the type of players and citizens Hank Bullough helped develop during his years at Michigan State. In between stints as a Spartan, Hank enjoyed a successful career in professional football. He won a Super Bowl ring when he served as the linebackers coach for Baltimore.
The game was a defensive struggle and ended with a game ending field goal as the Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13.
Coach Bullough is also credited with introducing the 3-4 defense to the NFL while working as defensive coordinator for New England and earned the nickname “Dr. of Defense” for the schemes he put together as an assistant in Cincinnati and head coach in Buffalo during the 80’s. It was also in the 80’s when his two sons, Shane and Chuck, were tough All-Conference linebackers at Michigan State.
“I’m an earning type of guy, not a giving kind of guy,” was probably the most telling statement Coach Bullough made during our conversation.
It’s a statement every single Spartan whoever played for him can confirm. Even this former manager in his other job as an attorney can attest to Coach Bullough’s working class mentality as a negotiator when I sent him a few prospects while he was head coach of the Buffalo Bills. I always heard the same refrain: “Well if this kid busts his butt, he may be able to play on our special teams,” he would skeptically say and before I could get to the topic of money Hank would beat me to the punch. “I’ll give him minimum salary!”
So while the 2013 edition of the Michigan State Spartans tightened up their chin straps for opening night against Western, a familiar name appeared in the line-up. A name that has become synonymous with MSU Spartan football—that name is BULLOUGH.
Dear MSU FPA Members:
Below is a wonderful story on our very rich Spartan Football History. Maya Washington has started a journey to teach us all about her legendary father, Gene Washington, by creating a film called “On the Banks of the Red Cedar”. It is a story of his journey from the segregated South, to MSU, to being drafted by the NFL Minnesota Vikings and beyond. I invite you all to be part of this journey and follow it on Twitter and/or Facebook. Details are below – just click on the links to join.
Join us this week during Homecoming Weekend and you might just have the opportunity to meet Mr. Washington – a legend, a gentleman a Spartan and a MSU FPA Member.
Remember – We Are Spartans for Life. Our 100th anniversary is fast approaching and this is just one of the wonderful stories that is still in progress.
1) Tickets may be picked up this weekend at the following times:
a) Friday night dinner only if you are attending the dinner
b) Saturday tailgate from 9:00am-11:30am
c) All unclaimed tickets will be dropped off at the Spartan Stadium Will Call window at 11:30am and may be picked up with a pictured I.D. Will Call will be open at least through the first quarter.