ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Passover came at an opportune time for the Levey family. Weeks ago, they planned a visit to Ann Arbor see their son, Adam, a freshman engineering student at Michigan.
They didn’t plan on watching the Michigan basketball beat Loyola-Chicago 69-57 on Saturday in a national semifinal. That was a bonus.
The Leveys, however, have already made plans for April 2.
“The first thing we did after Michigan beat Florida State, Zach and I booked a flight to San Antonio for Monday,” Steve Levey said Saturday at Pizza House in Ann Arbor. “We’re all-in for the national championship.”
Steve, Tami and Zach Levey leave Ann Arbor on Sunday morning and return to Maryland. Then, Steve and Zach Levey head to San Antonio on Monday morning for the national championship game. First, they had to watch Michigan secure its ticket to the national title game.
The Leveys, like almost every other Michigan fan or graduate, sweated through the second half of Michigan’s Final Four win. Steve Levey sported the same faded yellow Michigan Engineering shirt he has worn for every NCAA Tournament game this year. His high school-aged son, Zach, wore a pair of rubber bands around his right wrist. He’s worn those for every Michigan game he’s watched in the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s been nervous for so many days,” Steve Levey’s wife, Tami, said. “The first thing he did when he woke up this morning was tell me, ‘I’m so nervous, honey.’
“This means the world to him. He works hard every day. He’s an attorney. I’m a teacher. We raised three boys, and this is better than a vacation for him.”
Steve Levey is the second of three generations to attend Michigan, and graduated in 1989. His father, Allan, graduated from Michigan in 1961, and two of his sons, Micah and Adam, are Michigan students. Micah is a junior who is studying in London this semester.
Their excitement turned to a frenzy, especially when Steve Levey started talking about when his time as a student overlapped Michigan’s 1989 national championship in basketball.
“It was absolutely insane,” he said. “I have very clear memories of after we won the championship. Everyone was watching in all the houses, and when Rumeal [Robinson] hit the free throws and when Seton Hall missed the free throws at the end of the game, you stuck your head out the windows and it was a pouring of people into the streets. I was right here! I was outside of Good Time Charley’s, and it got a little crazy. People were turning over cars. But until that time, it was a blast. Screaming, dancing, cheering …
“I don’t even know what I would do if Michigan won the national title this time. But to be in Ann Arbor with my family in during the Final Four? There’s nothing better.”
They were surrounded by a crowd at Pizza House as Loyola took a 29-22 lead at halftime. Steve Levey paced through the aisles, and appeared to cut through a nervous tension that grew among the packed restaurant.
By the second half, their friends Dan and Jolie Brown scooted into the booth with them, and cheered as Michigan erased a 10-point deficit. The five friends and family members at the table went into hysterics as the Wolverines pulled away in the final minutes to advance to the national championship game.
Zach and Steve Levey only have plane tickets for San Antonio, and plan to purchase national championship tickets before they leave Ann Arbor.
“We decided to wait until after the [Kansas-Villanova] game,” Steve Levey said, with a grin as wide as the Michigan campus. “We knew at that point, there will be twice as many tickets.”