Chris Webber receives warm welcome at Michigan Stadium

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Chris Webber, the centerpiece of Michigan’s Fab Five basketball team, was an honorary captain and walked to midfield with the captains for the coin flip.

Judging from the cheers, he was warmly received by the fans. This seems to be a first step toward Webber mending his strained relationship with Michigan. He helped lead the Wolverines to the national title game in 1992 and 1993, but his ties to former boost Ed Martin led to a scandal.

And that led to the NCAA mandating a 10-year disassociation between Webber and Michigan, which ended 2013. The 1992 and 1993 Final Four banners were removed from the Crisler Center.

Webber appeared on Ann Arbor radio station WTKA in June when Harbaugh called in and asked him to be a captain. He was not available to the media for interviews Saturday.

He spoke to the team Friday.

“It was great,” Harbaugh said. “He had a tremendous message to the team. It was neat watching all our guys wanting to get a picture with him afterwards. That was really cool. Some guys played football or played basketball 20 years, and people kind of forget you. But he’s somebody.”

Senior defensive end Chase Winovich said Webber told the team he’s a fan.

“And how he’s been watching us and rooting us on for victory,” Winovich said. “It was a good message. I’m not going to go into detail of what he said because out of respect for him.”

Winovich said the players loved having Webber there.

“I knew of him,” he said. “I don’t mean this in a bad way, he’s rather infamous at the very least around Ann Arbor. You definitely know of him. We’re fans of him from the football team’s perspective.”


Twitter: @chengelis