It is being confirmed by multiple sources that Jon Falk, the longtime equipment manager of the Michigan Wolverines football program, has decided to retire at the end of the 2013 football season. He has been Michigan's equipment manager for 40 years, going all the way back to Bo Schembechler.
Longtime University of Michigan equipment manager Jon Falk announced Monday (July 22) his retirement effective at the conclusion of the 2013 football season. Falk will complete 40 years of service to Michigan Athletics and the U-M football program.
"I remember the day that Bo Schembechler interviewed me and said that working at the University of Michigan would present great opportunities for my career," said Falk. "He offered me the position but I decided that staying home to care for my mom and grandmother was more important. My mom woke up at 4 a.m. and came to me with tears in her eyes and said, 'Jon, you are going to Michigan. Bo and the University of Michigan are going to take care of you and this will be a great career move.'
"As I reflect on my nearly 40 years at Michigan, I have been fortunate to work with some great coaches, administrators and thousands of players. After talking with Dave Brandon about my retirement, I realized that Bo and my mother were right. Dave and Michigan have taken care of me. I'm appreciative of all that I learned, was a part of and contributed to at Michigan. This is a special place and I will always love Michigan and Michigan Football."
Falk was formed in the strata underneath Ann Arbor sometime in the late Cretaceous era and unearthed by Fielding Yost during the construction of Michigan Stadium. Falk handed Yost a winged helmet, and was offered a job. In the intervening epoch he has equipped Michigan football players head to toe as they won more games than any other program, and at least part of this paragraph is factual.
Via Maize n' Blue nation:
What is Michigan Football without longtime equipment manager Jon Falk? Not nearly the same as it is today, or has been for the last 40 years. To those close to the program, Falk is as much a part of the lore of Michigan Football as Bo or Yost. His smile is as infectious as his stories are.
Falk's main job responsibilities centered around supplying and managing the program's football equipment and equipment management staff.
But his four decades as a member of the program also allowed him to serve as a mentor to several student-athletes -- former players who have never forgotten the impact he's had on their lives.
"In all the years I've been around Michigan football I'm not sure anyone other than coaches have had more impact on the Michigan football player than Jon Falk," Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard said in a statement. "He is a legendary equipment guy. Not only was he great at Michigan, but across the country, his peers in the same capacity looked up to him, and sought him out for advice.
"Jon loved Michigan football. When he first hired on, I can guarantee there wasn't anything he wouldn't do to make Michigan football better. He protected it like a mother hen. He promoted it like he was the CEO. It was his family, and he made sure he let anyone who came through the doors know it should be just as important to them. Jon is part of the fabric of the Michigan tradition."
Via the Freep:
It is a day those in the Michigan football program never imagined.
Even as U-M announced legendary equipment manager Jon Falk’s retirement today following the 2013 season, it is still difficult to imagine the Wolverines without him.
Because Falk has survived every storm in the program’s modern history.
After his hiring in 1974 from Bo Schembecher’s alma mater, Miami (Ohio), he survived Schembechler’s retirement, Gary Moeller’s sudden resignation, Lloyd Carr’s national championship (then retirement), Rich Rodriguez’s brief 3-year tenure and the program bottoming out, then Brady Hoke’s revival.
Falk was there for all of it, managing the equipment, overseeing a current staff of three other full-time employees and connecting with every major moment for the program.
Via the Detroit News:
Jon Falk, who has been the Michigan athletic department equipment manager for 40 years, will retire at the end of the 2013 football season.
Falk is responsible for budgeting Michigan’s athletic equipment needs with apparel providers. He supervises three full-time assistant equipment managers and many student workers.
Falk was presented an honorary “M” from the Letterwinners M Club in 1994 for his service and dedication to Michigan Athletics.
If you never knew who Falk was, here he is at his best, talking about the winged helmet back in 2010:
And here, holding onto the Little Brown Jug:
Nobody exemplifies Schembechler's school of integrity better than Jon Falk. He is one of the most passionate people on Michigan's staff that loves the Maize and Blue all the way to his core. You could never doubt for a second that this guy loved every minute of his job and worked his butt off so that the football program could be the very best. He brought a standard of excellence to the equipment staff that will be difficult to match.
He wrote a book about his time in the football program called "If These Walls Could Talk" that is seriously worth a read if you can't get enough Michigan football.
So, from all of us here at Maize n' Brew, we salute you, Mr. Falk. You are truly a Wolverine and have made the program proud with your passion for Michigan, sportsmanship, unquestionable loyalty, and incredible work ethic.
The Michigan faithful thank you.