Former U-M football broadcaster Jim Brandstatter, ’72, has written two books about the history and people surrounding the program. But shortly after his retirement last year, Brandstatter began to think about creating an audiobook.
“The idea formulated in my mind that it’d be great to have a book to hear the players talk about those experiences as opposed to reading them,” Brandstatter says. “To hear the inflections in their voice, to hear the emotion in their voice, to hear the joy and disappointment of what happened during a game.”
He found old tapes of interviews he recorded with people such as LaVerne H. “Kip” Taylor, ’31 the first player to ever score a touchdown in Michigan Stadium, legendary coach Bo Schembechler, Forest Evashevski, ’41, Rick Leach, x’78, Ron Johnson, ’69, Desmond Howard, ’91, and many more.
Brandstatter got to work digitizing the audio and did additional interviews, including one with current broadcaster and former player Jon Jansen, ’98 The result of years of hard work is Brandstatter’s third book: “Voices of Michigan Stadium” (Elite Online Publishing, 2022).
There is a paper copy of the book, but Brandstatter says the audiobook experience is much better.
“That audio is the key,” he says. “To read an excerpt or a quote, it doesn’t have the same impact.”
Brandstatter says that’s particularly true with the audio of Schembechler.
“When he talks, there’s an intensity that you don’t get in the written word,” he says. “I mean, to hear Bo Schembechler talk about the vote in 1973 after the 10-10 tie that sent Ohio State to the Rose Bowl and Michigan should have gone. I did the interview 15, 20 years after the fact. And yet you can still hear the intensity and the bitterness in his voice. That’s the stuff that’s priceless.”
While the audiobook has Howard talking about the Heisman pose in the endzone and Chuck Winters, ’98 discussing the Hail Mary pass from Colorado’s Kordell Stewart, there are conversations about things happening off the field too. Among them was the introduction of female cheerleaders in 1976 which was extremely controversial at the time.
“They had all these rules. They were not allowed to start a cheer, they had to join in when the men started to cheer. They couldn’t go down to the north end where the men were. They had to stay at the south end,” Brandstatter says. “This is 1976 at the University of Michigan, one of the more liberal institutions in America.”
Brandstatter, who has been around the U-M football program since the late ’60s, has become an accidental historian of the program after his first two books, “Tales From Michigan Stadium” (Sports Publishing LLC, 2002), and “Tales From Michigan Stadium, Volume II” (Sports Publishing LLC, 2005). He says preserving that history is essential for future generations.
“I mean, to many of the kids out there today, Crisler is just the name of the building. Oosterbaan is a name on a building. But they were real people who had a tremendous impact on this University,” he says.
Jeremy Carroll is the content strategist for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.