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Posted on Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Michigan Memories: Fans recall an 'electric' atmosphere during the 1993 basketball season

By Kellie Woodhouse


This banner from 1993 has been removed from the Crisler Center rafters.

Associated Press

It's been 20 years since the University of Michigan men's basketball team last reached the Final Four, but you won't find any trace of its second-place NCAA tournament finish in the university's normally abundant historical library.

That's because Michigan's second place finishes in 1993 and 1992 essentially have been erased from the history books due to NCAA sanctions resulting from players taking money from prominent booster, Ed Martin.

But before the scandal came to light and Chris Webber was banned from affiliation with the school, the 1993 basketball team was a point of pride for Michigan. That April 5 championship game against North Carolina was a pivotal moment for Wolverines fans and the Fab Five was revered in school history.

Now there's a new team, new coach and new star players — all of whom aren't marred by the scandal that taints and erases the victory of two decades ago. They represent a new chance for a victory U-M's eager fan base can be proud of.

"We've been through so much in the last 20 years. It's kind of a scary thought that we're getting back to where we were," said Lorin Burgess, an Ann Arbor resident and U-M grad who was in the basketball band from 1990 until 1995. "It's a lot of good, familiar feelings and its good to see us back on top."


AP photo

In this photo, Michigan's Chris Webber gets lots of attention after an injury during the 1993 NCAA championship game against North Carolina.

Burgess recalled how campus, and the nation, felt about the key players at the time.

"At that time the Fab Five was not liked by most of the country. They were the ones that came in with baggy shorts and black socks and these attitudes," he recalled. The 1993 season coincided with the Fab Five's sophomore year. "[Michigan fans] felt special. It was sort of an us-versus-the-world thing."

Recalled longtime Michigan fan Scott Greenlee, who attended the 1993 championship game: "The Fab Five were super popular and obviously very talented."

U-M staffer Thomas Schneider, a student adviser at the time, recalled basketball being the most buzzed about sport on campus, even bigger than football for most students.

"Students were very excited," he recalled. "I was surprised at how many people liked Michigan basketball more than Michigan football."

Burgess said the atmosphere on campus was "electric."

Fab Five player Jimmy King says even today people approach him about the team.

"People see me today and tell me where they were, what they were doing and who they were with when we made our runs," he told Mlive. "And now, I get to do the same thing."


Associated Press

In this photo, Webber stands by as North Carolina's Eric Montross celebrates during North Carolina's technical foul shots in the final seconds of the 1993 national championship game.

Michigan was assessed a technical foul after Webber erroneously called a timeout with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation and Michigan trailing by two. North Carolina won, 77-71.


AP Photo

Michigan players listen to coach Steve Fisher during the last official timeout of the 1993 national championship game against North Carolina.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

None of this Ever Happened. Please Move Along. Nothing to See Here.

Tom Joad

Sun, Apr 7, 2013 : 6:51 a.m.

89 when they actually won the NCAA championship... Maynard St. Crowds piling out of the Dooley's bar (now Scorekeepers) celebrating. Then the trash can was thrown through Jacobsen's Department Store window (The Borders Building) and revelers grabbed a couple of manikins and threw them out into the crowd where they were passed back and forth like a beach ball at Michigan Stadium. Just hope people are better behaved Monday night, but I doubt it. Alcohol is just as popular and powerfully inductive to mischief and amateur-hour fanfare


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

How could they describe the atmosphere as "electric," when it happened before electricity was invented?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

I'm not in agreement with the illegal activities that this group was charged with but I do disagree with their public proverbial hanging. This was by far the first or last group of students baited by adults and "pimped", nonetheless not the only UM group. And stripping their banners does not take away the fact that they played championship ball.

Mich Ifella

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Time to celebrate this team who are #MoreFabThanTheFabFive!

Usual Suspect

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

All I remember is, "Time out."


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Say what you want about the Fab Five, but to this day, they were the most entertaining basketball team that I have watched on the court. The 1993 tournament was not only electric, but certainly filled with dramatics. From the anxiety-filled huge come-from-behind win vs. UCLA, to Webber's block of the in-bounds pass in the final seconds vs. Kentucky, the tournament was a wild ride for UM fans. Of course, I'll never forget watching the championship game vs. North Carolina. I don't think my heart beat once from the time of Webber's non-called traveling to the infamous time out call...then my heart just sank. Regardless of the infractions committed by some of the players, I do have special memories of the team.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Electric? I remember the mob after the NCAA win trashed cars and broke windows; and the UofM adminstration blamed the hash-bashers! The following year, South U. was paved with riot cops (hundreds of them) to make sure that didn't happen again.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

Jim is correct, I was just talking about that riot with my son last night. There was video footage on the news of the mobs on South U, asking if anyone could be identifed, etc.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

You are mistaking the celebration after the 1989 championship win for the Fab 5 era.

Honest Abe

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

They broke the rules. I'm glad anything to do with 1992-1993 is 'erased'.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

I highly recommend watching the "Fab 5" HBO documentary if you are a U-M fan. Despite Chris Webber's non-involvement, it does a good job of summarizing the Fab 5 era.

Tom Drake

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

this type of financial support was going on in the SEC and most southern schools for a long time, but when a BIG 10 , up north school got caught it was a big deal. too bad some said it was " shameful " and felt guilty for the deeds of others. you bring shame and guilt on yourself and the over-reaction about his was ridiculous. too strung out and poorly handled. put the banners back up now.

Nick Danger

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

They 're still my favorite sports team of all time

Matt Lang

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:35 a.m.

i remember how all the kids started wearing the baggie shorts and the black socks after the Fab 5 did, for better or worse they were a game changer. Take down the banners, we all know who they were and what they did.Good times back then, just like now.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

How soon most forget.