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MICHAEL GLASS

Inducted: 2010 - Player

Hometown: Glencoe, Illinois

Born: June 27, 1961        

Michael Glass was considered the backbone of a team that was at the top of the sport for more than a decade – Windy City. At every Nationals between 1983 and 1988 he led his team to the semifinals or finals (no other team from that era was as consistent). From 1980 to 1996 Windy City grabbed four major championships; Club Nationals in ‘83 and ’86, Worlds in ’84, and Masters in ’96, as well as countless other tournaments along the way.

Glass loved to play and played to win. He played in more than 20 National and World Championships, and reached at least the semifinals 16 times. The length of his career and level of success are rare achievements.

Glass was arguably one of the best throwers in the history of the game. A fierce competitor who always drew top defenders, he had the ability to get open and then pick apart defenses with artful and lethal throws, including powerful backhands and cross-field hammers, regardless of the wind.

Extraordinary disc-skills, a lifetime of leadership, remarkable longevity, and a reputation as a feared and respected player contribute to Glass’ unique stature in Ultimate history.

Glass lives in Glencoe, Ill., is married to long time Ultimate player Nancy Leahy Glass and is father to two sons and a daughter.


Playing Career | US Nationals | WFDF Worlds | Contributions & ServiceInterview

   

Playing Career

Year
Team Name
1981-1996   Windy City
1994-1995   Slack
1995   Double Happiness
1997-2000   Z
1997-2000   Second Wind
2001-2002   Kegworkers of America
2009   Confluence 5280

 

US National Championship Tournaments

Name    City    Year    Venue    Placing
Wis/Illinois   Wisconsin   1980    Chicago/Milwaukee    Sectionals
Windy City   Chicago   1982   Austin, TX   Fifth
Windy City   Chicago   1983   New Orleans, LA   Champion
Windy City   Chicago   1984   Santa Barbara, CA   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1985   Washington, DC   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1986   Houston, TX   Champion
Windy City   Chicago   1987   Miami, FL   Second
Windy City   Chicago   1988   San Diego, CA   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1990   West Palm Beach, FL   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1991   Sanford, FL   Tied for Fifth
Windy City   Chicago   1992   San Diego, CA   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1993   Selma, TX   Tied for Fifth
Slack   Chicago   1994   Lexington, KY   Second
Double Happiness   San Francisco   1995   Lexington, KY   Semifinals
Windy City   Chicago   1996   Plano, TX   Champion
Z   Chicago   1997   Sarasota, FL   Semifinals
Second Wind   Chicago   2000   Sarasota, FL   Thirteenth
Kegworkers of America   Seattle   2001   Sarasota, FL   Champion
Confluence   Denver   2009   Denver, CO   Semifinals

 


WFDF World Ultimate Championships

Name   City   Year   Venue   Placing
Windy City   Chicago   1984   Switzerland   Champion
Double Happiness   San Francisco   1996   England   Champion
Kegworkers of America   Seattle   2002   Hawaii   Champion

 

Other Significant Tournament Involvement

1982-1984   Semi-finals World Flying Disc Championship  Santa Cruz
1986   All Japan Tournament Champions
1984   Eastern Champions
1986-1998   Summer solstice in Eugene won 11 times [by] a team called LLOW, which was comprised of a different group every year. Over 100 different players played on this team, with victories over teams such as The Condors, Rhino, Seattle, and Double. Matza Balls... let my people throw!

 

Contributions and Service

In 1986, I traveled to Japan to play Ultimate in an all Japan championship. There were numerous objections to my participation from some of the teams. Eventually Masa prevailed and I was allowed to compete, the idea being "show them the best" and [to] advance our game to the next level. His plan worked, [and] the following 4 years the JUF sponsored a team of standout players from the states to come to Japan to play and teach. Shortly thereafter Japanese Ultimate reached the top three status in the WFDF and Club Worlds due in part to our combined efforts.

 

Most of you are also aware of the "Ultimate Peace" initiative. I am privileged to be involved with this group. As sponsors, coaches, [and] board members, Nancy and I are thrilled to be part of this group. Palestinians and Jews playing Ultimate together? If you can change the minds of a few kids maybe we can change the world, just a little. Peace through sport is a powerful idea.

In addition to coaching youth Ultimate I have personally designed, donated and installed four disc golf courses in park districts in the Chicago area. Disc Golf is how I was first introduced to Ultimate and disc sports. It is great to see the growing numbers of people getting some plastic in their hands, and learning the joys of throwing!

  Interview

Q: What position(s) (e.g., handler, deep cutter, middle-middle) did you usually play?

A: Mostly I was a "handler." I liked to have the disc in my hands, though I certainly caught a few goals over the years.

Q: Describe your major accomplishments – both as a teammate and an individual player?

A: [It’s] hard to really separate those two things. The list of championships chronicled above could never have been accomplished without my teammates. Four World Championships, three national [titles], 11 Solstices, and in all 20 or so appearances at Worlds and national championships, 16 of those reaching at least semi-finals! I’d like to think I contributed my share to those victories. I felt I led my team in my own way. [I] tried to lead by example; running hard, playing fair, playing well.

Q: Why did you stand out among the elite players of your time? What was it that you did best, or were known for?

A: Somehow I was always able to get the disc in my hands. Usually, I drew a top defender so it wasn’t always easy. With powerful cuts. I would eventually wear down defenders. I saw the field well, and understood where to put the disc to give my receivers the best opportunity to make the catch. I loved, still love, to throw and play Ultimate. I was lucky enough to have some great receivers to throw to. Arguably they should be on this list with me (Mike O’Dowd, Joey Giampino, John Conway, Dean Smith), but my throwing skills, power and finesse, hammer, blade, backhand, invert, roll curve, scoober, [and] gag, were as good as any. The number of times I touched the disc were seldom matched. Over a twenty year career at the highest level there are few who can say they got as many "touches," and then delivered!

Q: What was your role with the best (or most overachieving) team that you played on?

A: I was the anchor of the offense for the entire Windy City era. There were many games
over the years that I had a large impact on.

Q: What is the most memorable game you participated in?

A: [The] first National Championship in 1983 was pretty good.

Q: What year was the peak of your career? If you continued playing after your peak
years, how did your role change? In what year did you stop playing at the top competitive level?

A: In a long career of playing, probably my best years were 1982 to 1990. I would say during those years I helped (no one person can win at this level) carry my team to many victories. I’d like to think even though I slowed a bit during the 90’s I was still a solid contributor in the Open division and a real force in the Masters. World’s 2002 with the keg boys was pretty much the end of my career.

Q: Why do you believe you are worthy of being inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame?

A: Worthy? Not an easy question. There are many great players out there that hopefully will have a chance, though I feel I could hold my own with the best of them. I certainly worked my butt off to get open, and always the other teams would put one of their best defenders on me, frequently with little success. [With] the number of touches, great throws, solid defense, championships, longevity, [and] leadership, I think it adds up to enough. More importantly and most gratifying is that my peers - the guys that sweated, bled, cursed, loved, hated, competed and won and lost; the guys who lived and breathed for Ultimate all those years - feel I’m worthy.

 

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