Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks to the University of Michigan Football Team in Ann Arbor, Michigan

September 15, 1976

First of all, I thank you very much for permitting me to join all of this great ball team for a meal before I have a little engagement down the road here.

In those stories that I was a great all-time center, I found this--the longer you get away from the reality, the bigger those stories get. [Laughter] So, make all your fame now. And I can only say that they get better, because the longer you are away from school, the fewer there are of people to tell the truth about what happened. [Laughter]

So, I am just honored to come back here. Coming to the campus brings back some great memories. I can recall vividly my freshman year. We couldn't play on the varsity in the freshman year. And I ate a few meals here in the Union, and I really got to love and feel very strongly about this university. I think it has contributed very significantly to whatever success I've had.

The friends I made and the opportunities educationally and the whole atmosphere here was a great factor in the incentive and the drive to do as well as one could. I know that with the great record that you have--and I can say as a Monday morning or grandstand quarterback--I sit up there in the stands and watch on television--and I am very proud of the great record that you have and the way you play football. You play to win, and that's the only way I know to move ahead, whether you are on the gridiron or whether you are in classrooms or whether you are in politics or anything else.

So, good luck, beat Stanford, and you've got nine more ball games before you go to the Rose Bowl.

Note: The President spoke at 6:23 p.m. in the Michigan Union, where he joined the members of the football team and athletic staff for dinner.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks to the University of Michigan Football Team in Ann Arbor, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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