Ray Hinton, a strapping 6-foot-3, 220-pound tight end for Ball State’s football team in the late '70s, had the hiccups and couldn't shake them.
His buddy and teammate Brady Hoke had a solution.
"Brady told me this was something his father taught him," Hinton said. "I believed him."
Hoke, an inside linebacker who rarely missed an opportunity to be tough or have fun, had Hinton stand still with his arms at his side.
"Then, he slugged me in the gut," Hinton said.
Hoke roared with laughter. By the time Hinton finally recovered his breath, he was able to recognize the humor in the situation.
"And you know what," Hinton said, "my hiccups were cured."
Maybe Hoke knew what he was doing after all.
That's an example of the "boys will be boys" type of relationship that Hinton, a Penn High (1977) and Ball State (1981) grad had with Hoke, who is now the head football coach at Michigan.
He'll lead the Wolverines against Notre Dame Saturday in the first night game to be played in the Big House.
Hinton, 52, who lives in Mishawaka still embraces the memories he and Hoke — who was the best man in his wedding — forged while teammates. He remembered their Mid-American Conference championship run as sophomores; a few hunting expeditions, and many nights sampling the Muncie nightlife.
The two began their relationship late in their sophomore season. As Hinton recalls, it was the Western Michigan game that formed the foundation.
"Before then, I didn't even realize that Brady was our snapper for field goals and extra points," Hinton said.
The details are a bit fuzzy more than three decades later. Hinton said Hoke had botched a snap — either on a field goal or extra point — late against the Broncos. The miscue kept Ball State behind and put what was a season without a loss in jeopardy.
"All week our coaches were talking about how fast and how tough Western's safety Pat Humes was," Hinton said.
Hinton knew Humes well. The two had been teammates at Penn. Hinton caught a pass from Cardinal quarterback Dave Wilson, blew right past Humes, and went 30 yards for a touchdown.
"The first guy on the field after I scored was Brady," Hinton said. "He told me, 'You saved my butt.'"
After that, the two took on as many adventures as possible.
"I loved to hunt," Hinton said. "We kept our shotguns in the dorm."