HOIUGHTON, Mi. Long time Cager Club President Bob Gilreath has stepped down following the conclusion of the 2019-20 basketball seasons. Gilreath served as the president for 26 years and has been a longtime supporter of Michigan Tech athletics. Michigan Tech would like to thank Bob for his many years of support and he reflects on his time at Tech with a question and answer segment below.
1. How long have you been involved with supporting Michigan Tech athletics?
I came to Michigan Tech from Northern Indiana in 1977, where our High School gym is still ranked 9th in the country, seating 7,304 for basketball. The first day here I walked into Sherman gym and asked where the varsity played, figuring it must be downtown somewhere. To answer that another way, as long as Head Coach Kevin Luke has been here. We came in at the same time.
This year was our 40th with season Hockey Tickets. Liz and I had our first date in the ice arena in 1978. I believe its 27 years now with season basketball tickets. In addition, we are Blueline club, Cager Club, and Huskie Club members. In addition to Cager club vice, then President for 26 years, I also served as Huskies Club Vice and President In the 90's.
Having played Soccer at the Club level at MTU and officiating local CCSA games for 26 years, when MTU started varsity soccer I immediately emailed Coach Jacobs to see how I could help. Coordinating the CCSA kids as Golden Huskie ball retrievers at the games from the beginning has been a blast.
2. What drew you to want to be a part of the Cager Club specifically?
Jim Gale, Howard Zollinger, Sharon Paris. We did a lot of road trips. The Northern Michigan trips got me started In the Cager club specifically. We started with one Tech van, then I ended up driving a second Van for Jim for a few years until we moved to a Bus. I started helping Jim run the club as treasurer around 94 and took over as President around 2000. I did so because these outstanding young men and women deserve our support.
3. Do you have a favorite moment or two in Michigan Tech Athletics history?
Men's basketball: Ben Stelzer to TJ Brown for the sweet buzzer beater finger roll vs Lake Superior State in 2013.
Hockey: Shane Hanna's double OT win for the WCHA playoff title. Followed by winning it again at NMU the next season.
Soccer: Lindsey Van Rooy's double overtime, last second goal versus Saginaw Valley State on November 6, 2013.
4. What is your all-time favorite road trip that you've taken to support a Husky sports team?
Wow that's a tough one, I've seen a lot of the country road tripping with the Huskies. Hockey has taken me to Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Indiana etc... Basketball to Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota etc...
If I had to pick one, it would have to be the Women's NCAA Regional, in March of 2009. After beating Northwood on Friday, we went into Northern Kentucky's new arena to play the number one team in the country and blew them off the floor. In the second half, the only sound coming from the entire arena was the pie shaped wedge of Tech fans! After winning the Saturday night game to advance to the Final Monday, my ride was leaving, so I stood at the bottom of our section yelling who can take me home after Monday (thanks John).
Saturday night we were sitting around with the parents after the game and noticed grills in the courtyard. Sunday was supposed to be in the 70's so we asked about using them, then got ahold of John Barnes for permission and the fans and Parents put on a BBQ for the team Sunday afternoon. We then won the regional Monday Night.
Second on the list would be any win at NMU, and that has been a whole lotta fun lately! You can't mention road trips without mentioning the PEP Band. Playoff runs on the road are even better with the PEP band! You guys ROCK!
5. Best part about being in the Cager Club and being the president?
The interaction with the players and families. You get to know them on a more personal level. I especially enjoyed sitting with and watching all the games with Kyle Monroe's grandfather this season. Giving the players their senior watches, and listening to their senior speeches has been special for me. Don't get me wrong, I like wins and championships, but as a retired staff member the thing I am proudest of is these young men and women walk out of here with a degree and a great future ahead of them. We have fantastic STUDENT athletes, and every one of them will excel in whatever they decide to do in life.
6. When did you first begin taking photos at Tech sporting events?
My good friend Gowtham Sh (G) was taking pictures like I do now, and before I went to Glacier National Park in the summer of 2010, I had G help me pick out a new camera. When fall came, I asked G to help me learn to shoot sports. David Archambeau (Arch) has been a great help also. I love to shoot to share.
I'd like to thank all the Athletic Directors for their help and support over the years. I've had the privilege of working with Ted Kearly, Rick Yeo and Suzanne Sanregret, along with all of the coaches. It's always a good day to be a HUSKY!
If you have an interest in helping with the Cager Club or possibly serving as the new president, feel free to contact Gary Kruzich by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 906-487-1604.