Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Down memory lane

I just noticed that Michigan State's basketball team is ranked #6! Russ and I got season tickets to see all the games during the 72-74 seasons. Oh, wow I loved that team. I had SUCH a crush on Gary Ganakas--he was my height (5'5"!) but led the Big Ten in assists, thanks to his wonderful ability to set up plays--he was so focused and speedy--and the amazing Mike Robinson, who was the top scorer in the Big Ten during I think his first three years, and would have led as a senior except for an injury and the fact that Gary had graduated. (I think I remember this correctly--if you know better, let me know!) And Mike Robinson was only 5'10" or 5'11", and SO handsome. I simply adored Gus Ganakas, the coach, and Gary. And the center (I think--he might have been a forward but I think he was the center) was the sublimely wonderful Bill Kilgore! Oh, man!

Russ and I spent our entire discretionary income on season tickets just to see these wonderful guys. We always got there early to sit in the very first row, where I could watch their faces. Kilgore always looked so steady and relaxed--rather like our President-Elect--and I loved watching the five players working together, putting their hearts into every game. They were a splendid team and gave me some of my happiest times in college. I wonder what's happened to them all?


  1. Laura your memory is very good. Mike did lead the big 10 in scoring his soph and jr years (my jr and senior yrs ) He would have led his senior year but the team had a couple of other scorers. (I tell Mike to this day if I was there he would have won a third crown LOL)
    Your description of Bill Kilgore is really right on. Great player and person.
    I am so glad to hear you had wonderful memories of those times.
    It was fun to read your account.

    gary ganakas (

  2. Laura,

    Did you get my message. I am Gary's sister. Let me know if you received my first note.

  3. I didn't receive the first note, Gail.

  4. Well I can see that you may not of recieved my message. What a wonderful blog about my Dad, Gus and brother Gary, Yes the MSU Spartans were special to watch as we were on campus at a historical time of social unrest. A game of motion and action provided all of us with fond memories of sophisticated young men. I know my Dad and brother are thrilled to hear your point of view.
    The accocolades the team deserved were few and yet these young men are productive, contributing members of society with a special bond that ties them together even today. Of course I am biased ,but it seems that Mike Robinson, Terry Furlow and others should be honored for their contributions to MSU Basketball during the 70s.
    Many of their records have not been broken and they only played three years with no 3-point play!

    If you ever get to Michigan and MSU look up are family - my two brother and three sisters are so fortunate to have our parents.

    We would love to hear from you too.
    Getting together to talk about your special memories.

    What are you doing now? Where did you live in East Lansing?
    My Dad and brother really enjoyed appreciated your perspective.
    Gail Ganakas

  5. You can email me at

  6. Rats. I was the keynote speaker in East Lansing for the Michigan Audubon Society last March! And oh, yes--Terry Furlow! I don't know how he slipped my mind.