Class of 2010 - Player
Hometown: Glencoe, IL
Born: June 27, 1961 (Age 60)
U.S. National Championships
3x U.S. Club Champion (1983, 1986, 1996)
1x U.S. Masters Champion (2001)
1x U.S. Club Runner Up (1987)
1x U.S. Masters Runner Up (1994)
3x World Champion (1984, 1996, 2002)
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.
Contributions & Service
- 1982-1984: Semi-finals World Flying Disc Championship Santa Cruz
- 1984: Eastern Champions
- 1986: All Japan Tournament Champions
- 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.
- 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!
U.S. National Championships
|1980||Wis-ILL Club Men||Sectionals|
|1982||Windy City Club Men||5th|
|1983||Windy City Club Men||1st|
|1984||Windy City Club Men||Semifinals|
|1985||Windy City Club Men||Semifinals|
|1986||Windy City Club Men||1st|
|1987||Windy City Club Men||2nd|
|1988||Windy City Club Men||Semifinals|
|1990||Windy City Club Men||Semifinals|
|1991||Windy City Club Men||5th|
|1992||Windy City Club Men||Semifinals|
|1993||Windy City Club Men||5th|
|1994||Slack Masters Men||2nd|
|1995||Double Happiness Club Men||Semifinals|
|1996||Windy City Club Men||1st|
|1997||Z Club Men||Semifinals|
|2000||Second Wind Club Men||13th|
|2001||Keg Workers of America Masters Men||1st|
|2009||Confluence 5280 Grandmasters Men||Semifinals|
What position(s) (e.g., handler, deep cutter, middle-middle) did you usually play?
Mostly I was a “handler.” I liked to have the disc in my hands, though I certainly caught a few goals over the years.
Describe your major accomplishments – both as a teammate and an individual player?
[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.
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!
Why did you stand out among the elite players of your time? What was it that you did best, or were known for?
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!
What was your role with the best (or most overachieving) team that you played on?
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.
What is the most memorable game you participated in?
[The] first National Championship in 1983 was pretty good.
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?
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.
Why do you believe you are worthy of being inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame?
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.