Dr. Tim “T.O.” Otteman and Dr. Lori Irwin of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., two Central Michigan professors, add class to the Gus Macker Hall of Fame.
They also teach a class.
Otteman and Irwin lead the effort at Central Michigan where they have created a class (RPL 333 Production of Festivals and Events) that with 35 students puts on a Macker tournament each year. It is the only Macker that is presented by college students as part of an academic program. Scott McNeal, a.k.a. Gus Macker, is a graduate of CMU.
T.O. is one of the true unique characters in Macker history, and Lori works with him in what is a zany T.O. world of themes and costumes, especially when it comes to Macker.
Just don’t call him Dr. Otteman.
He’s good with Tim or the most common T.O., and he is not just a chip off the old Chippewa, he is 100 percent, Grade A, full-court-press Central Michigan University Chippewa and a Macker Maniac to boot.
And he does it all at about 100 miles per hour as the youngest 50-plus-year-old ever, according to Gus Macker.
T.O. was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Mich., earned three degrees at Central Michigan University, home of the Chippewas, and now is a professor with his office in old Finch Fieldhouse right across the hall from the Gus Macker showcase on the wall.
Obviously, this is also where Lori comes into the picture because she works at CMU, too. She just happens to work with a whirlwind in this case.
T.O. is a point guard of sorts as a professor who likes the nickname over the Dr. getting in the way of a person-to-person adult working relationship. His followers are called “Finch Fanatics.” In Macker World Finch Fanatics equals Macker Maniacs.
Oh, and T.O. is easy to find always. He will likely be wearing CMU colors, which of course are the same colors the Macker uses because Gus is a Chip, too. T.O. takes the maroon and gold clothes a little beyond on most days however. He is not averse to striped shorts, matching shoes and the type of an outfit that would make a multi-colored parrot jealous.
“He has crazy outfits,” Gus said. “That’s just T.O. You should see his golf outfits; they are even more amazing.”
T.O. likes golf, but he fell in love with Mackers way back in junior high. Tom Crean, best known these days as the head basketball coach at the University of Georgia and a Macker Hall of Fame member, was getting together guys like Leon Guydon and other CMU area players to go to this hoops thing in Lowell, Mich., called a Gus Macker.
T.O. and three friends were tagged as a young team, attended their first in 1979, stayed in a nearby campground and had a blast. They kept coming as often as they could as they grew into adults, and they have all reconnected as parents and such through the Mount Pleasant Macker.
“It becomes a pilgrimage, a way to connect as a group, so much fun and we were hooked back then and I guess I never grew out of it,” T.O. said. “Macker does that to you.”