NFL Player with the New York Giants, University of Michigan Football Standout and Starter with the 1997 National Champions Team, Flint Central Football Star
May 12, 2021
When Bo Schembechler took over at the University of Michigan it was a program in crisis. Struggling to win. Failing to win titles. Failure to beat Ohio State. Sounds familiar to current Wolverine faithful, right? Well, Bo wasn’t having it. He was demanding. Off the chart demanding. So when players started falling off, unable to keep up with the pace he was setting, he adopted the slogan “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions”. And so they were, winning multiple Big Ten championships. From 1969 to 1981 the Bo-led Wolverines were 123-24, and 41-3 between 1970 and 1975.
An impressive and dominating run. But the big one eluded them. No National Titles. In fact, the Wolverines hadn’t won a Natty since 1947, by the time a Flintstone named André Weathers assumed a starting position for the then Lloyd Carr-led Maize and Blue grinders in 1997.
André Weathers was a music-loving Flint kid, focused on academics when his dad, a teacher at Flint Central, encouraged him to give football a try. Weathers knew as much about the game as the average American knows about the sport of cricket. He didn’t even know who (or what) Notre Dame was!
But he knew he was willing to give it a try. So he went out for the Indians’ JV football team. The rest is Flint sports history.
Weathers helped lead Flint Central varsity to a state Class A semi-final berth in 1993, leading one of the better teams in Flint area prep football history, and a top ten team in Indian lore for sure.
He was surprised when small colleges starting sniffing around. He was even more surprised when brand name Eastern Michigan University came calling. He was all set to head to Ypsilanti when a close neighbor of EMU from Ann Arbor extended an offer. It was all maize and blue from that point forward. The Wolverines wanted him to play in the Big House. So he moved on to the University of Michigan, graduating from Atwood Stadium to the Big House, and 115,000 fans.
Weathers earned a starting spot on the ’97 team. His outstanding play all season long helped Michigan position itself for the title run. But first they had to beat the team from south of the border. In the Ohio State game his senior year, Weathers played a critical role in leading the Wolverines to victory. That victory led to a stellar performance and another win in the Rose Bowl, and a National Title.
The next move found him in the NFL with the New York Giants. Pretty heady stuff for the kid who had to be hauled out of band class and coerced in to abandoning his saxophone for a helmet. But in the end it was a pretty good trade. The music world's loss was the sports world's gain. And for Flint Central, The University of Michigan, and Giant fans everywhere, they’re quite happy with that.
The details of his journey are laid out in a terrific chat with Fish in another great ‘Chronicle’!