ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Bruce Cook has been waiting a long time to see his Michigan Wolverines back in a Final Four.
"Twenty years is a long time," Cook said.
Cook is a Michigan alum who graduated in 1950. He has had basketball tickets for about 30 years. He was at the 1992 Final Four in Minneapolis.
"Minnesota was cold, but it was a great atmosphere," Cook said. "It was the first time the Fab Five played on the Final Four stage. They eventually lost to Duke."
The Owosso native went again in 1993. It was better weather that time in New Orleans, but the same result -- a Michigan loss in the championship game.
"It was a very different feel, the Fab Five were household names by then," he said. "They were on everyone's mind. We beat Kentucky, but Lost to North Carolina."
Cook thought he'd be back to a championship soon, but then came a time he says the program "went through the wilderness."
"Those were difficult times, it made National News," he said of the booster scandal with Ed Martin. "The Fab Five never played together again. We kept our season tickets for the next 20 years though."
Then, six years ago, the university hired a man by the name of John Beilein.
"John was the man," Cook said. "He did everything with class. It was the program first, individuals second."
That team vibe has carried the Wolverines to the Final Four again and Cook will be there in Atlanta. He said win or lose, Michigan basketball is back.
"This is more than a basketball story. It's a story about the University of Michigan," he said. "The fans persisted through the lean times; they have been rewarded this year with success."
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