If Schembechler hadn't ultimately hired him, it wouldn't have been the first time the game had delivered Fisher, 44, a profound disappointment. He was a 5-foot, 104-pound wisp when he entered high school in the downstate Illinois coalmining town of Herrin (pop. 10,000), but he blossomed into a slick point guard who might have been a big-time college star had he not twisted his knee while slipping on an ice cube during his senior season.
Until a few weeks ago Herrin was probably best known for the Polar Whip drive-in, a hamburger stand (the basic burger goes for 25 cents) of such integrity that its owner, John Nesler, whose son Ron was a high school teammate of Fisher's, until recently cooked 480 burgers a day—no more, no less. Never mind that the Polar Whip's reputation would assure the sale of many more. John Nesler didn't care to make more burgers or more money, for he had enough to live on.
Congratulations Steve Fisher reads the marquee outside the Polar Whip these days. Somewhere behind the counter there is a lesson for Michigan, a lesson worth heeding not merely because the Polar Whip operates in the black and the Wolverine athletic department does not. It's a moral that bespeaks contentment and simplicity.
Last week, before Fisher's fate was resolved, Schembechler wasn't asking the Michigan players for advice. But if he were Bo, Robinson said on Friday, "I'd leave my ego at home and try to get the best coach possible. Not get a guy just because Bobby Knight said so. If he believes Steve Fisher is the best coach, give the man the job. If he doesn't think so, let the man know. But I wonder if Bo realizes that Steve won't be just 'Fisher' anymore. We realized that during the first NCAA game, when he was in the huddle and wasn't nervous."
Interim coach Fisher was cool enough to drink calmly at his most delirious and glorious hour. Bully for Bo, for finally realizing that permanent coach Fisher is amply qualified to lead Michigan basketball smartly into the '90s.