Wayne State uni­forms pay trib­ute to Medal of Honor

Hon­ored ser­vice­men will have their names on spe­cial­ized jer­seys

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY ROD BEARD AND TONY PAUL The Detroit News rod.beard@de­troit­news.com twit­ter.com/det­newsRodBeard

Detroit — Ath­letic di­rec­tor Rob Fournier was try­ing to think of a unique way to com­mem­o­rate 100 years of athletics at Wayne State.

Be­sides a trib­ute patch on their jer­seys, Fournier wanted a more spe­cial honor. The ideas kept com­ing and the wheels con­tin­ued to spin in his head.

What Fournier came up with was a gem: The War­riors would wear spe­cial gray jer­seys with stars on one shoul­der, stripes on the other — and the name of a re­cip­i­ent of the Con­gres­sional Medal of Honor on the back.

The Medal of Honor is the high­est award for valor in ac­tion against an en­emy force which can be be­stowed upon an in­di­vid­ual serv­ing in the Armed Ser­vices of the United States. It’s pre­sented by the Pres­i­dent of the United States and there are 3,499 to­tal re­cip­i­ents, dat­ing back to the Civil War.

Fournier an­nounced the trib­ute be­fore Thurs­day’s prac­tice, the play­ers erupted in cheers in the locker room when ju­nior line­backer An­thony Pittman emerged wear­ing the jer­sey.

“What I thought we would do in this next year of that cel­e­bra­tion is ac­knowl­edge those Medal of Honor re­cip­i­ents by wear­ing their names on our backs be­cause they’ve al­ways had our backs,” Fournier told the play­ers.

The War­riors will wear the jer­seys for the first time on Satur­day night when they host Sag­i­naw Val­ley State in the Great Lakes In­ter­col­le­giate Con­fer­ence opener.

It’ll be an­other spe­cial mo­ment for se­nior co-cap­tain Ronny Brant II, who car­ries the team flag out for each game. He beamed with pride af­ter he used his phone to find out that his jer­sey was for Navy Lieu­tenant Com­man­der James Madison, who fought in World War I.

“The mean­ing be­hind it is some­thing — that’s why I al­ways run on the field with the flag,” Brant said. “Not ev­ery­body gets to wake up and do what we do here in Amer­ica; we’re blessed to have that op­por­tu­nity.”

The most re­cent re­cip­i­ent of the honor is a Michi­gan na­tive: Pri­vate First Class James McCloughan of South Haven, who fought in Viet­nam, re­ceived the Medal of Honor in July.

For coach Paul Win­ters, the best part of the trib­ute is hav­ing his play­ers learn the sto­ries of the sol­dier they’re hon­or­ing.

“It’s pretty awe­some for the guys,” Win­ters said. “The idea

Ath­letic be­hind it with the Medal of Honor re­cip­i­ents is pretty in­cred­i­ble. Ev­ery­one’s tak­ing pride in it and that’s spe­cial.”

Sched­ule snafu

Of­fi­cials from Michi­gan State and Oak­land were not happy to learn this week their men’s bas­ket­ball game at Lit­tle Cae­sars Arena on Dec. 16 would tip off at 4 p.m., putting it right up against the Lions-Bears game, right down the street at Ford Field.

Now, it seems, there re­mains a glim­mer of hope the bas­ket­ball game time could still be changed.

“I still think there’s a chance for move­ment on it,” Oak­land coach Greg Kampe said.

TV dic­tates the start times, and be­cause the games are con­sid­ered Hori­zon League games, ESPN has the rights. Michi­ganDetroit Mercy will be on ESPNU at 1:30, and Michi­gan State-Oak­land on ESPN2. For now, at least.

Rob Beard/Detroit News

Wayne State foot­ball play­ers will wear th­ese com­mem­o­ra­tive jer­seys be­gin­ning Satur­day night against Sag­i­naw Val­ley State.

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