Mike Weger speaks at the April 10 announcement of his $550,000 gift for the Sebo Athletic Center.

Mike Weger speaks at the April 10 announcement of his $550,000 gift for the Sebo Athletic Center.

Gift to Sebo Athletic Center is family affair for BGSU football great

Mike Weger and his father, Roy, left their marks on BGSU as a football standout and director of bands, respectively.

Their places in University history will now be reinforced through a gift that Mike Weger has made toward the new Sebo Athletic Center, under construction at the north end of Doyt L. Perry Stadium.

Weger, of Oxford, Mich., has pledged $550,000 for the center, where a training room will be named for him and adjacent seating for the Falcon Marching Band will be named in honor of his late father. Among the band members under Roy Weger’s direction in the 1950s was Robert Sebo, who, with his wife, Karen, contributed $3.5 million for the center that bears their name. The Salem, Ohio, businessman is a 1958 BGSU graduate and a current University trustee.

The Weger gift lifts the total raised for the structure past $6 million, nearing the private fund-raising goal of $7 million, said Marcia Sloan Latta, associate vice president for University advancement and campaign director.

On schedule for completion in February 2007, the three-story center will become the new “front door” of Perry Stadium. With about 42,500 square feet, it will provide modern sports medicine/rehabilitation and strength-training facilities; a balcony overlooking the playing field; football coaches’ offices; teaching space for coaches and players; a video editing room, team meeting rooms and a coaches’ conference room.

Roy Weger, who died in 1991, was a music faculty member and band director at BGSU from 1953-65. During his last year at the University, his son was a sophomore defensive back on legendary Coach Doyt Perry’s final Falcon football team, which won the Mid-American Conference championship.
BGSU shared the MAC title with Miami the following year, when Mike Weger was named to the Division I All-American second team by the Associated Press. He was first-team all-MAC—and the Falcons’ Most Valuable Player—both his junior and senior years. He was also an Honorable Mention All-American as a senior, and at the end of that season played in the Senior Bowl and Blue-Gray all-star games.

The Sherman, Texas, native, who moved from Oklahoma to Bowling Green in seventh grade and graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1963, received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from BGSU in 1967. That same year, he was a ninth-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions and embarked on an 11-year professional football career, including nine seasons with the Lions and two with the Houston Oilers. He earned Honorable Mention All-Pro honors twice.

Weger introduced a national audience to the BGSU spirit song, “Ay Ziggy Zoomba,” when he sang it in a training-camp scene in “Paper Lion,” the film version of writer George Plimpton’s book about his brief foray into pro football.

His father had scored “Ay Ziggy Zoomba” for the Falcon Marching Band years before, Weger noted. “He made a lasting impression on the students, and I made some kind of impression singing it nationwide,” he added.

Inducted into the BGSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972, Weger is now involved in real estate development and owns the Willow Creek Golf and Sports Center in Lake Orion, Mich., north of Detroit.

Weger called his decision to support the Sebo center “a timely situation, where I was made aware of that effort when I was already thinking of doing something for the University.

“I was actually thinking about creating a scholarship fund both in my dad’s name and in my name,” he explained. But he redirected his gift after learning about the center, which will benefit more than 430 BGSU student-athletes in 18 varsity sports.

Contributions to the center are counted as part of Building Dreams: The Centennial Campaign for Bowling Green State University. The focus of the $120 million fund-raising campaign, which continues through December 2008, is to increase scholarships, enhance faculty and leadership positions, strengthen programs, build for tomorrow and sustain the University. More than $94.5 million already has been committed to the campaign.
April 10, 2006