For the 10th time in as many years, fans will experience the grit, spirit and keen competition of the University of Michigan Army vs. Navy Wheelchair Basketball Game.
The Nov. 1 game is open to the public at no charge and tickets are not required. The Crisler Center doors open at 2 p.m., tip-off is 3 p.m.
Fans who sit close enough may feel the swoosh of Paralympians, ROTC cadets, student veterans, and local law enforcement volunteers sprinting by in aerodynamically engineered sports chairs.
Trumpets blare, fans — including Maize Rage — cheer, as two more points hit the scoreboard. U-M Cheer and Dance teams keep the spirit up, the Men’s Glee Club serenades, and the 338th Army Band entertains at halftime.
Preceded by the likes of former U.S. Rep. John Dingell and Regent Kathy White, Ronald Warhurst will serve as the game’s 2015 grand marshal. A Marine who saw active duty in Vietnam, where he earned two Purple Hearts and a Navy Commendation Medal, Warhurst —an NCAA champion runner in 1964 and ’65 — was head coach of U-M’s men’s track and field team.
During his tenure as head coach from 2000-08, the team won multiple NCAA and Big Ten championships, several team members competed in the Olympics, and Warhurst was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2008.
“This is the university’s only disability-related sports event,” said Gerald Hoff, the game’s founder, No. 1 champion and volunteer. “We do this to emphasize the ABILITY within ‘disability,’ to honor veterans and active-duty military, especially student veterans, and to raise awareness of and appreciation for the spirit of inclusion.
“We also just want everyone to have a very good time.”
In the game’s first year, student veteran volunteers at the event asked Hoff to commit to making it an annual event.
“The game has really grown over the years. We owe so much to our volunteers — most of whom are students — and to our benefactors and co-sponsors,” Hoff said.