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Detroit — Early Saturday, Charles Woodson was at the Big House, firing garments from the T-shirt cannon into the Michigan Stadum crowd — and loving it.

Later Saturday, Woodson fired some more shots, though this time with his words.

He prefers to call it "constructive criticism," however.

"Michigan is still Michigan. There wouldn't be as much criticism and hoopla about the program if it wasn't still one of the top programs," Woodson, the Heisman Trophy-winning cornerback, said before he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame at MotorCity Casino and Hotel. "There is still a standard that we hope to uphold here. It's all on the coaches there up in Ann Arbor, it's up to the players there, all of the staff to make sure that, you know, they quiet the criticism.

"Because you're going to get it. There's no way around it."

MICHIGAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME MEMBERS

Jim Harbaugh is in his fifth year as head coach of his alma mater, and it's not unfair to say much of the shine that came with his hire as worn off.

He's failed to beat Ohio State, he has a spotty record against Michigan State, he has a lousy record against ranked opponents, and the Wolverines have yet to play for a Big Ten championship under his watch. So, obviously, no College Football Playoff, either.

The hope among Wolverines fans was that this might be the year, given the returning quarterback, and a talented defense.

Michigan is 4-1, but was embarrassed by Wisconsin, and played an ugly game in beating Iowa, 10-3, on Saturday. (Woodson, a defensive star, loved the effort on that front, of course.)

"I know I wanted Jim Harbaugh here, I thought he would be the guy to come here and turn the program around," Woodson said. "The facts are the facts. We haven't won a Big Ten, we haven't had a chance to win a Big Ten, we haven't been in the College Football Playoff. We've had struggles against top-ranked teams.

"So you can go down the list, it is what it is. This particular season ... you can't have any more losses like Wisconsin. That's just real.

"We're in a situation, I feel, you've gotta win every game from here on out."

Michigan hasn't won the national championship since earning a share (with Nebraska) in 1997, a year highlighted by Woodson's Hall-of-Fame career.

He left after that season, his junior year, and was the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft, by the Oakland Raiders. He also played for the Green Bay Packers for several seasons, before returning to Oakland to finish his career where it started. In all Woodson, a defensive back, played 18 seasons.

He's an all-but-certain lock for the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. That'll be the first year he is eligible.

He's already in the College Football Hall of Fame.

And now, Woodson, 42, has added another Hall of Fame, one of the headliners in the nine-person class that was inducted Saturday. It was supposed to be a 10-person class, but former Piston Grant Hill couldn't make it, so his inducted was delayed until 2020.

"This ranks right up there," Woodson said. "Anytime you make a Hall of Fame, and I've been able to make a few, it's all about the journey, so it's about the time you put into it, it's about the teammates, it's about the teams you were a part of, it's about the coaches.

"This is like the culmination of all of that. It's all about the journey.

"This ranks right up there with all the best moments I've had in life."

One more question:

Where do you keep your Heisman Trophy?

"My mother keeps it safeguarded for me," Woodson said. "So if try to touch it, beware!"

CLOSE

Woodson, the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The Detroit News

Trouble with teal

Tom Wilson has had a whole bunch of successes in all his years in the Detroit sports scene, first during his decades-long run with the Pistons and Palace Sports & Entertainment, and more recently, with the Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment.

Let's just say, though, not everything was a home run.

Those teal Pistons uniforms, for instance ...

"I'm not sure where the bottom is, but it's gotta be in the hunt," Wilson said with a laugh, before he was inducted. "It's down there with some other horrible decisions. 

"That one just didn't work. Yet, it's so interesting to see people wearing them now, Blake (Griffin) sometimes wears it in practice.

The Pistons had worn traditional red, white, and blue uniforms that were the symbol of the "Bad Boys" era. With that era coming to an end, they decided in the late 1990s to make a change, and the NBA suggested they go with teal — a hot color at the time (think San Jose Sharks, Florida Marlins, etc.)

Fans hated it, and they were gone after the 2000-01 season.

"It's one of those ideas that seemed like a good idea at the time," Wilson said.

Izzo's 'Flint mentality'

Morris Peterson could've gone a lot of places. He had the talent.

Yet, in reality, Peterson couldn't have gone anywhere else.

Fellow Flint star Antonio Smith committed to Michigan State — the first big-time recruit that Tom Izzo landed as coach — and told Peterson he'd soon be following.

"After Antonio committed to Michigan State, and he and I were best friends, he told me, 'You're not going anywhere else,'" Peterson said. "Michigan State was a great school. Coach Izzo recruited me for a year, and I felt really comfortable with him. Look in his eyes, you can tell he's go to bat for you. It's not going to be easy for you, but he's gonna go to bat for you, and that kind of represents that Flint mentality that we have."

Peterson, 42, led the team in scoring during his senior year, 2000, when Michigan State won its second and last national championship.

He has a hard time believing it's been nearly 20 years.

"The unique special group we had, all of us sacrificed," said Peterson, who went on to a long NBA career, spent mostly with the Toronto Raptors. "Mateen (Cleaves) could've gone anywhere in the country, Antonio (who graduated in 1999) could've gone anywhere in the country. I could've been a 20-point scorer in my career somewhere else. But it wasn't about that, it was about coming together.

"Now I pinch myself, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame."

The other "Flintstone" was Charlie Bell.

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Peterson, a member of the 2000 national-championship team, was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The Detroit News

What's in a name?

Harry Atkins spent nearly 30 years with the Associated Press, most as the lead sports correspondent for the Detroit bureau. He covered just about everything, though he regrets never getting to cover the Masters.

"Every year they would promise me, 'This year for sure, Harry,' and the week before it would come out, 'This is coming up, we'll get you next year,'" Atkins said.

"Next year never came.

He still got to attend twice as a fan, at least.

It was on the golf course, by the way, where he had one of most embarrassing moments as a sportswriter. He was covering the PGA Tour's old Buick Open in Grand Blanc and had spent the morning walking the course. When he got back to the media center around noon, there was a player on the press-conference podium.

Atkins didn't recognize the young man so he figured he'd find out after, from another scribe, who it was. But then the golfer started talking about his father.

"So I'll ask him what his dad's name is, and it's two birds with one stone," Atkins said. "So I dutifully raise my hand ... 'Could you tell me your dad's name?'"

The golfer responded: Davis Love II. Of course, it was Davis Love III.

The fellow reporters howled, and Love and Atkins walked out of the press conference together, Atkins saying, "That'll probably be on my tombstone."

'Living a dream'

Mike O'Hara was the other media inducted Saturday night. He spent more than 40 years at The Detroit News, most notably on the Detroit Lions beat.

But that hardly was his first byline. He still remembers that, by the way.

"It was the fishing report. We used to do a weekly fishing report," O'Hara said. "It was supposed to go in on Wednesday, so I had three sheets of copy, and it looked OK, so I turned it in. Then, the first thing I do in the morning, I go get the paper, and there's no fishing report. The first thing I think, it's so horrible they can't even edit my fishing report.

"So I come into the office that day, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and my boss, Bob Sieger, great guy, he goes, 'What the heck's the matter with you today?' And I said, 'I guess I did such a (bleep) job on the fishing report, you couldn't even edit it well enough to run it.' And he says, 'Michael, some weeks, we run it on Thursdays, and some weeks we run it on Wednesdays. Is it OK with you if we run it tomorrow?' I was terror-stricken."

That was 1967.

Asked his regrets on some events he missed, he points often to boxing, especially the second Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight in New York. The first one, he had been in Vietnam, and listed to the fight on the radio while on guard duty. The second one, he was all packed to go to New York when a friend who'd been staying with him said he received a phone call. O'Hara's dad had died in South Dakota.

Asked of some of the more memorable events he covered, O'Hara singled out Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics against Los Angeles Lakers, Bill Russell against Wilt Chamberlain. It ended up being Russell's last game

There were many others, local and national.

"Back in those days, we went everywhere," said O'Hara, who now writes for DetroitLions.com. "That's why I'm here, because of who I worked for.

"When I say I'm living a dream, my reality was other people's dream. It really was."

Huge following

Matt Friedman, P.R. man in Metro Detroit, has been a board member for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame for some time, and he can't ever recall an honoree ever have as many friends and family in attendance as Diane Dietz.

Dietz, legendary for her high-school and collegiate basketball career, had 130 people RSVP, and of them, 60 were direct family members.

There were so many, she rented a room for a private reception as a thank you, especially for those who came from so far, like New York, Houston and California.

"I have a huge family," Dietz said. "It turned into a family reunion. My mom has nine brothers and sisters, my dad has six brothers and sisters, they're kids are coming.

"It's really neat. We don't get a chance to be together like that."

Several high-school classmates of Dietz were coming, too. She starred at Farmington Hills Mercy, making four state finals, including the undefeated 1977 season that resulted in a Class A state championship. She then went to Michigan, where she became the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,076 points.

The mark lasted more than 25 years, until Katelynn Flaherty broke it in 2017.

And Dietz, now working at the Big Ten, was happy as could be.

"That's because, the fact it didn't happen sooner didn't speak great for the program," said Dietz, who also was joined in the Class of 2019 by Olympic gold-medal swimmer Allison Schmitt (Canton), legendary Clarkston boys basketball coach Dan Fife and Red Wings legend Vladimir Konstantinov, who did not feel up to meeting with the media.

"It was a long time."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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