Even in Norway, former Michigan end Jack Clancy heard about Roy Roundtree breaking his record
Catching Up With ... is a series at AnnArbor.com about players from Michigan's past. If there's an athlete you'd like to hear about, e-mail email@example.com and put "Catching Up With" in the subject.
When Michigan slot receiver Roy Roundtree started approaching Jack Clancy's single-game receiving yardage record Saturday, e-mails shot across the Atlantic Ocean. Roundtree, with 246 yards, ended up smashing Clancy's mark of 192 yards set against Oregon State on Sept. 17, 1966.
"It’s kind of interesting for a record like that to lay around for so many years," Clancy said. "And then have it blasted out of the record books pretty decisively, I would say."
Clancy, 66, has lived in Norway since 1980. He caught up with AnnArbor.com from his home Wednesday afternoon.
Q: How did you hear about it?
Jack Clancy: I started getting e-mails from my brother, for one. I was (in Ann Arbor) over this summer for the M Club golf outing and met a lot of the guys I played with. We have a mail page that Pat O’Donnell runs, and he sent a note over to me.
... I don’t get any news myself over Michigan. Oddly enough, last year one of the sports channels I had here had Michigan on every week. This year, they switched to Notre Dame.
So I heard this, and I said they should put an asterisk because he needed seven quarters to do it. And then you told me they did it all in regulation time.
Q: What do you remember from your day?
JC: I don’t really remember much about it, to tell you the truth. It was Oregon State. It may be one of those where we also started off with a pass like that. ... I don’t remember much about my playing days, really, at Michigan. Like often happens, we remember the things, our mistakes, things that we’d rather forget. The one thing that stands out specifically is when played Illinois at Michigan and they had never beaten Bump (Elliott). We were ahead, and it was getting close to the end of the game. It was wet, and they called a pass to me to get closer in. We were in field goal range, and I told them to put it to the wide side, and I slipped and the guy took it 98 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time Pete (Elliott) had beaten Bump. He took me over, and I thought he was going to chew me out. He said, 'Have you ever thought about being a coach?’ I said, ‘No, I never thought about it.’ He said, ‘Don’t.’
My heart was in my belly at that point. I wanted to crawl off the field, but they blamed (Dick) Vidmer for the interception.
We had a pretty good passing game at Michigan at that time. It was mostly three yards and a cloud of dust until we came along. When I moved to wide receiver I think they saw a chance to open up a little bit, and Vidmer wasn’t a running quarterback like they had before. He was more of a drop-back quarterback.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 1966 MICHIGAN SEASON:
Q: How did you end up in Norway?
JC: I was in Miami the first year with the Dolphins and met a girl that was flying for Pan American and lived in Miami. I always wanted to move out and find a new experience somewhere in the world. ... So we moved over in 1980. My son couldn’t understand why we moved from the paradise of the beach and moved to Norway with a new language and climate.
He got pretty good in track and field, and Jack Harvey was the track coach (at Michigan), which I knew when I played, and told him and told him my son (Sean Clancy) was pretty good and (he) said, ‘Send him over’ because we needed decathalon guy. So he played four years of track and never came back. I love it over here. Would never think about going back.
Q: What are you doing there?
JC: I work with Halliburton, which was oil. That was the big product coming out of Norway in the '80s. That’s when it really took off. We provide all the services to all the international oil companies over here, Shell and Texaco. I’ve been with the same company ever since I moved over, really. And I like the weather, I like the snow. I grew up in Green Bay, so I’m used to nasty weather. I played a year with The Green Bay Packers, so that was fun.
After I left football, I had enough game films and watching films. When I quit football, I didn’t watch it or go to the games. (I) played tennis and went fishing. It fit right in. Going to Norway, it’s only the last five years that we got American football.
Q: Do you miss it now?
JC: I’d watch it when I was younger and (watched) the guys I played against and played with, and there were some coaches that were still there. I would follow San Diego, because (Marty) Schottenheimer and I were pretty good friends in Miami. But he was the only one, after I moved to Norway, that I had directly with the sports. Bob Griese and I were roommates with the Dolphins the first couple of years, so I followed Brian when he was at Michigan.
I'd watch ... Michigan a little bit more on the Internet, if I could watch the highlights. I sort of dug up old memories to go to Ann Arbor. It had been a while since I had been back. It was '94 when I was over, and they inducted me into the Hall of Honor. My son started at Michigan. I have a sister and brother in Detroit.
The older we get, it’s great to ...be able to reunite with a lot of these guys that I haven’t seen for so many years.
Q: Were you surprised record stuck for so long?
JC: I was not even aware I still had a record. I had known I had some other kinds of records with catches and yardage, but they were broken a number of years back. Until they started flashing me these e-mails I didn’t even know I had a record. There were a lot of records that fell last weekend. It’s crazy.
Q: When you were playing, were you surprised (Michigan) threw (that much)?
JC: My junior year we started throwing. Dick Vidmer was then the backup to Wally Gabler in his senior year, and I was a junior. We started throwing it more and more. We weren’t to the level they are now, of course, but we all worked hard and spent a lot of time in the summers. The summer before my senior year, we were all in Ann Arbor, Vidmer and Mike Bass. And we all worked out together against each other, so we had a lot of practice toning up the routes and everything, so we were ready to start throwing the ball. It worked out well for me, because, except for that one slip, one slip ruined my coaching career, that’s for sure.