In the final segment of our series on incoming Michigan freshman Jason Forcier, father Mike Forcier…
Jason Forcier's Journey to U-M: Visits, Accepts
Click here for The Beginning
Click here for The Offer
Suzanne Forcier, Jason's mom, leads us from the time immediately after the offer, up to the point where Jason became a Wolverine, fulfilling his lifelong dream.
Mrs. Forcier continues the story, picking up after Jason's championship game...
"Over the next couple of weeks Coach Loeffler made several trips out to visit with Jason and our family. He seemed to adapt to our surroundings. He and Jason got along well. I like the fact that Coach Loeffler interacted with all of us. He is a people's person. He talked about his family, his interest in running, the players, the coaches and his love for Michigan. He is genuine and I liked his style. I really believe he enjoyed visiting with us.
"During the month of December we flew to Detroit for Jason's official visit. Mike stayed home to run our business, San Diego Limo Buses & Limousines, so I could experience this moment in my son's life. As a family we had made so many sacrifices. My husband taught the boys early on not to expect success without planning and working hard in everything they do. They are extremely competitive.
"Brad Labadie (Director of Player Development) came to meet us at the airport. He was very personable. He laughed at Jason and his brother for wearing shorts. It was the middle of winter but it was 75 degrees when we left San Diego. He was full of information and a terrific tour guide on our ride to Ann Arbor. He always had a smile on his face. You could tell he enjoyed his job. Gene Skidmore was another staff member who spent time with our family. He shuttled us around town to different events and made sure we were always warm and comfortable. We never had to wait. They were extremely punctual and kept to a tight schedule, yet never allowed us to feel rushed.
"The next few days were awesome. It began with a welcome breakfast. There were several other players enjoying their official visits as well. Every coach including Head Coach Carr attended the morning get-together, introducing themselves and getting to know everyone. It was very hospitable. It was a great group and a family-like atmosphere. Early that afternoon everyone toured the impressive sport facilities, then met with position coaches and had lunch at the trainer's table. After our meal we broke into groups in reference to players' academic interest and toured the campus, classrooms and lecture halls. There were a few short speeches from advisors and a wonderful woman named Sheri Acho (Director of Academic Services/Football). She is the woman behind the scenes that makes everything connect. She assured me that she would always be there for my child to guide him through the good and/or tough times, to make sure he is happy socially, thriving academically and staying focused on reaching his goals. She replaces the mother away from home and made me feel simply at ease.
"Everyone met once again for an informal dinner before venturing off to a hockey game. What a treat! I had never been to a hockey game. The crowd was energetic and full of chants. Coach Loeffler ushered us to our seats...of course the best in the house. It was here where Jason would meet up with his hosts - Mike Massey and Adam Kraus. Jason became friends with them instantly, so much so he hung out with them the next night as well. While Jason spent the evening with Mike and Adam we were driven back to our hotel to catch up on some rest. Instead we decided to take a walk to downtown Ann Arbor. It was a quaint village area of shops and restaurants. It was Friday night so there were people everywhere. It reminded me of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter only on a much smaller scale, and the air was cold.
"The next morning players and families had breakfast at Schembechler Hall. Coach Carr and Coach Loeffler sat with our family and talked about everything imaginable. They focused on us as a family unit and talked about Jason's possible future as a student at Michigan and a Wolverine. Then the unexpected happened. Bo Schembechler tapped my shoulder. As I turned around and stood up he introduced himself. He mention that Coach Carr and Coach Loeffler believe Jason had all the intangibles to be a quarterback for the University of Michigan and that he would be honored if Jason decided to become a Wolverine. For me, that was the icing on the cake. It was at that moment that I had wished my husband was with us.
"After breakfast we were off to a basketball game. Michigan won. I think my younger son enjoyed that the most. He loves both sports. Later Coach Loeffler had a meeting with us and we watched a short film about Michigan's great quarterbacks. It was real inspiring. Soon after we met with Coach Carr in his office. He asked Jason about his future goals and if he saw himself fitting into Michigan's system as a quarterback. He told Jason that if he accepted the offer he would be the only quarterback in this class. I could tell his words were sincere. He never pressured Jason for an answer. He thanked us for making the trip from California to Ann Arbor and commended my husband Mike and I for providing Jason with every opportunity possible to follow his dream.
"Once the meeting was over we headed back to the hotel to relax and get ready for dinner. Dinner was served at a hall on the school campus. It was a simple buffet yet had an elegant flare. There were several beautifully decorated Christmas trees, a fireplace, white linen table cloths, candles surrounded by holly and a piano player. A very inviting and cozy atmosphere. Everyone was there which included football players and coaches' families. I felt so relaxed and welcomed. Once dinner concluded the recruits left with their hosts. Coach Carr and his wife, Coach Loeffler, Coach DeBord and his wife, Coach Moeller, Coach English, Brad and Gene, invited me, my son Chris and other parents to join them for desert and coffee at a local spot in the village. It was a chance for all of us to talk on a more personal level other than football. It was a perfect ending to a most delightful trip.
"The following morning I asked Gene if we could tour the Big House. I wanted to walk down the tunnel and feel what I hoped some day Jason would experience. It was an amazing feeling. And I wanted my husband to be there and witness this as a family. It was his persistence and guidance for Jason to be the best he could be and to never look back.
"As we departed for the airport Gene took us to the M Den per our request for some last minute shopping. Once we reached the airport we said our goodbye's...but I knew we would be back.
"Later that week Jason committed to Michigan, and he wanted his Dad to be the first to know."
Next, Jason's father, Mike, tells of the sacrifices his family made, along with Jason's development as a rising high school star.
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