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A few minutes with Jim Brandstatter

Michigan legend Jim Brandstatter (far left) looks over Oxford players (from left) Matt Anger, Kyle Hill, Josh Smith and Logan Money during Dan Dierdorf’s talk. Standing next to “Brandy” is Oxford Football Coach Bud Rowley. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
August 31, 2011 - His name's been associated with University of Michigan football since 1969 and now he's part of Oxford football history as well.

Jim "Brandy" Brandstatter visited Oxford High's stadium on Thursday, Aug. 25 to hear his friend and former Michigan teammate, Dan Dierdorf, address the Wildcats varsity football team on the eve of their big game against archrival, the Lake Orion Dragons.

Brandstatter, who played offensive tackle for the Wolverines from 1969-71 and has been a radio color commentator/analyst for the team's radio network since the mid-1980s, graciously stopped and chatted with the Leader after the pep talk.

The first words out of Brandstatter's mouth were about Oxford's new blue turf.

"I love this field," he said. "First of all, you couldn't do a better job with the colors – the maize and blue. Gosh, what a great statement by those people here in Oxford to provide this facility for these kids. It just says so much about the community. It says so much about parents and people that believe football's a good thing. It's a great opportunity for young kids to learn life skills. That's why this is such a neat deal."

Brandstatter's visit to Oxford was all about showing his loyalty and support for Dierdorf. The two played together during Coach Bo Schembechler's first years at U-M.

"When a teammate calls and says I'm going to be in town, you go and meet him," he said. "It's your job because he's a friend. We went through great times together. If Dan has an opportunity to be in town and I'm somewhere near by, we're going to dinner. There's nothing better than to sit down and remember great times and the moments we had together with Bo Schembechler."

Brandstatter particularly enjoyed the opportunity to once again experience the great American tradition that is high school football. He shared with the Leader why this time is so very special in a young player's life.

"Physically and mentally you're developing to almost the peak of what you're going to be for the rest of your life," he said. "You're also developing as a leader. When you play on Friday night and then you go to class on Monday, in the hallways, there are people that look to you as a leader . . . You have to act better. You have to do the right thing. You have to be a guy that people can look up to and that's a responsibility.

"This is where you begin to understand that and this is where you begin to get that feeling. To me, it's a great training ground for young men to become better human beings, better people. These are lessons you learn here in high school that you take with you for the rest of your life."

Becoming a better person and a leader among men isn't something that's learned in "any classroom," it's learned "with people," Brandstatter noted. "And for the rest of (your) life, don't ever forget, you interact with people – that's something you don't ever get away from. If you can be a great team-builder, you're going to be great and successful in business or in life."

It's interesting to note that Brandstatter played high school football against Oxford Coach Bud Rowley twice – both times in the snow.

Rowley played for Adrian High School and Brandstatter for East Lansing High School.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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