Photo: Detroit News photo services.

Thanks to BiggieMunn for sending this over. The photo above was set alongside of Angelique Chengelis’s fine piece on a few of those involved with the 1969 Wolverine victory over Ohio State.

Question: Anyone know the significance (if any) of the 26 on Bo’s sleeve?

On the extended team roster, #26 belonged to a sophomore quarterback named William Ross of Beaver Falls, PA.

Answer this question definitively and we win Saturday.

Related: Jim Mandich of ‘69 on WTKA (audio) <—You’ll enjoy this


  1. I’ve always been curious about this, too. My guess is that it probably has something to do with the pretty common practice (which is less common now) of athletic warmups being numbered to make sure you’ve got ’em all. Bo probably raided the equipment room at Yost Fieldhouse for a jacket and that’s the one he picked. There are pictures from the ’69 season of him wearing a turtleneck and blazer on the sidelines, at least early on in the season, so it probably just progressed into the random Michigan jacket when it got cold.

    If one were to search through wire photos or newspaper microfilm from that season and look at what Bo was wearing in photos, you could probably figure out something more definitive. And, of course, this doesn’t make it obvious at all that I read UniWatch first thing every morning… :)

  2. Judging by a quick count of the record in the rivalry on Wikipedia, UM had 25 Big 10 wins over OSU going into the ’69 game (first game between the 2 of them when they were both in the B10 was in 1918, I believe?). So that would make 1969 the 26th B10 win over OSU.
    Could just be a coincidence, but it’s an idea…

    • Good work ATL! Still, I’m guessing it’s probably that Bo just grabbed a random jacket as Bando suggests. Definitely a different age or marketing back then. Everything on RR’s person has a purpose or message, down to the various wristbands

  3. “boldly and accurately predicting his 26 years as UMs head coach?” Wasnt he head coach for only 21 yrs.?

  4. Ross was a tall quarterback from Beaver Falls, PA, who had broken most, if not all, of Joe Namath’s high school records, but he just wasn’t good enough to play here.