Roger Ulmer had a message for Grosse Pointe North’s football team before their game against the Roseville Panthers Sept. 17: Play as a team.
Ulmer, along with his 1971 classmates Doug D’Agostino, Bob Friedhoff, Clay James and Bob Reynolds, was visiting North as part of their 50th reunion. As the first class to spend their high school years at North, they were honored at the football game during the coin toss, with James flipping the coin at the 50-yard line.
“We were here for three years,” Ulmer said. “The first year the school opened, we didn’t have any seniors. The second year we were supposed to kill everybody because our whole team came back. The second year we didn’t play as a team. The third year, we gelled and we played as a team. Nobody was a great superstar but we played as a team and we won.”
Their record was 8-1 senior year and they won the league. Their other claim to fame was their defense. The former players boast of winning five shutouts in a row and playing 24 scoreless quarters.
D’Agostino was a full back, defensive back and on special teams. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business. A certified public accountant, he owns his own business, D’Agostino Tax, and lives in Troy, Michigan.
An All-League second team outside linebacker, James earned a bachelor degree in business administration from the University of Southern California. The former owner of Huntington Beach Dodge in Huntington, Calif., he is currently semi-retired and lives in Corona Del Mar.
Friedhoff was the team trainer/manager. He attended the Wayne State University School of Medicine and lives in Rochester, Minn., where he works as an anesthesiologist for the Mayo Clinic.
Reynolds, an All-League center for North’s team, earned a BBA from Eastern Michigan and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He had a long career as a sales manager for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and is currently retired and living in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Ulmer was an offensive tackle and defensive end, earning All-League and All-State honorable mention during his time at North. He also played as an offensive lineman at Western Michigan University. He has a BBA degree from Western and B.S. degree in engineering from Lawrence Technological University. He currently lives in Grosse Pointe Woods and works as an automotive quality engineer for the ARaymond Corporation.
On the sidelines before the game, the four former players and former trainer/manager reminisced about their days at North, including praising their coaching staff, in particular head coach Jim Krucki, a longtime math teacher who was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Association Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006 and retired from coaching in 1980. The classmates agreed they would have invited their former coach to join them in the festivities if he was still alive.
“Coach Krucki was a class guy and he inspires me to this day,” James said, adding he learned about teamwork from a coach who designed a defense based on the team’s strengths.
“We weren’t the biggest team in the league,” he said. “We weren’t the fastest. But the defense he developed was very unorthodox and the other teams just couldn’t figure out how to stop it. He taught me a lot about life and adapting to your strengths rather than trying to force things.”
North Principal Kate Murray assured her guests the football team was in good hands with the current coaching staff — head coach Joe Drouin, assistant head coach Dennis Pascoe, defensive coordinator Lucas Lanzon, offensive coordinator Kevin Shubnell, and assistant coaches Richard Cooper, Eric Eplin, Steve Plieth, Mike Kohler and Paul Sahadi.
“I just want to reassure you that I’ve never felt prouder of a team of coaches than these young men here who are taking care of our boys,” she said. “Most of them are on staff in the building. They teach English, social studies, phys ed. When they’re on staff in the building like that, it really makes a difference. And they are fantastic and they know every end of the game. They play as a team and are developing young men of character. Hopefully they are carrying on the tradition.”
This article is part of our “Alumni Through the Decades” series. Click here to nominate a classmate or someone you know.
Noodling around with the design process
“I’m going to need a bigger stick,” Grosse Pointe South architecture teacher Brent Revello quipped as he returned to his desk to tape two measuring sticks together.
The challenge he posed to his students on Friday, Sept. 17, was to build as tall a tower as possible using only 30 noodles, 10 marshmallows and one yard of tape — all in 30 minutes.
Students had made this attempt the Friday before “just spur of the moment, no heads up,” Revello said. The constraints that time were 20 noodles, one yard of tape and no marshmallows, with a time limit of 20 minutes. In competing in this challenge, students learned about the engineering design process, he said.
Revello is new to South’s industrial technology department. While he has substitute taught in the past, this is his first official licensed teaching position, he said. He started his career as a civil engineer before moving into construction management. He received a degree in technology and science education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.
While the students compete to build the tallest spaghetti tower that is structurally sound enough not to topple, the goal is to improve upon the first build.
The other goal, Revello said, is to make the project hands on, with a little chaos part of the fun as well as the learning process.
Next up is a unit on materials and how different materials impact construction. Down the road students will work on building bridges and towers that sustain weight.
North presents ‘A Toby Show’
In the early 1900’s, a unique form of all-American theatre was born, A Toby Show. On October 14, Grosse Pointe North’s drama club will debut “a whiz dinger of a rip snortin’ Toby Show” written by Aurand Harris.
In their heyday, Toby shows were so popular that hundreds of companies traveled to small town U.S.A. presenting their productions in tents, vaudeville theaters and showboats. Each Toby show featured a three-act play based on a well-known story but with a twist. They each starred a country fellow called Toby who outwitted the city slickers through his naiveté, honesty, and homespun humor. Toby shows also featured vaudeville-style music and specialty numbers who took the stage before and between acts.
The North drama club version tells the story of a Cinderella-like character named Cindy (played by senior Anaya Winesberry) with Toby (played by junior Jake Sachs) as a comic variation of the fairy godmother. It has many of the familiar elements to the Cinderella story including the lost slipper, evil stepmother, and handsome Prince, but each offers its unique “Toby twist.” The production also features specialty acts including comic poetry, a songstress trio, tap dancers, instrumentalists, and more.
Michael A. Gravame, North’s newly hired theater director, is no stranger to the Toby show concept, having performed in three productions. One of the things that makes this version special is the location. By using the turn of the century theatre at Grosse Pointe South High School, which was built in 1928, it helps recreate the feeling of by-gone Americana vaudeville shows.
“It’s vaudeville-style theater complete with footlights, pre-show entertainment, sing-a-longs, old-fashioned concession foods such as pink lemonade and popcorn,” Gravame said. “We’re trying to make it as authentic to the mid 1900’s as possible. Family entertainment at its best.”
A Toby Show will run:
Thursday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 16, at 2 and 7 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $7 for students’children. Tickets are cash only and can be purchased at the door starting 90 minutes before show time. All seats are general admission.
The performance will be held at Grosse Pointe South’s auditorium, 11 Grosse Pointe Blvd. The show is suitable for children of all ages.
School Pointes is a publication of the Grosse Pointe Public School System. To submit story ideas or Pointes of Pride, email email@example.com.