April 11, 2012

Borton's Blog: Labor of love

Ever wondered what Michigan football's winning percentage is with a Heisman Trophy contender in the lineup? How about the percentage of Super Bowl champions that featured a Wolverine on the roster? If so, Martin Gallagher is your guy.

Gallagher is a construction project manager whose firm operated out of Raleigh, N.C., and handles business all throughout the Southeast. He's also a huge Michigan fan, who has been away from Michigan Stadium way too long.

"I haven't been to The Big House since 1987," Gallagher acknowledged. "My wife and I met down here, and her family is also from Michigan. A typical game day is about 15 people coming over. We take over the block, so it's all good."

A book project took over all of Gallagher's spare time, shortly after Brady Hoke was hired. He began penning 98-21-2: The Story of the Heisman and the Michigan Man.

The numbers, of course, belong to Tom Harmon, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson, Michigan's three Heisman winners. Gallagher dove deep into Michigan's Heisman history, going beyond the box scores and delving into the armed service records of Harmon, Bob Chappuis (runner-up for the Heisman in 1947), and others. Gallagher also played up the charitable endeavors of standouts like Woodson and Braylon Edwards.

He explored the "Michigan Man" label through efforts that reached well beyond football.

Along the way, he found out how much effort is involved in self-publishing a book. Gallagher now sees the fruits of his efforts available all over online, through Amazon.com, CreateSpace, Books-A-Million, Barnes and Noble, and a number of smaller enterprises. The books are also available through the M-Den, either online or in the stores.

"I'm an Army brat, so I moved around quite a bit, but I did spend some very impressionable years in Ann Arbor," he said of his penchant for Michigan football. "During the late '80s, my dad was teaching ROTC at Michigan. We were living off Packard Road, and my dad invested in some season tickets.

"We were walking to The Big House through the golf course. It's just something that always stuck with me."

He tries to provide some insight and numbers that will stick with Michigan fans as well, including the answers to the questions originally posed.

In case you're still wondering, Michigan has won 79 percent of its games in which a Heisman contender (top-10 finisher in the balloting) performed on the team. And 76 percent of all Super Bowl winners have featured at least one Wolverine.

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