ferbertheadlineBillings (Montana) Daily Gazette, November 7, 1909

[Ed. In honor of Dutch Ferbert's birthday on July 22 (1873), a repost.  Originally posted  Jan 28, 2012]

Today obviously the head coach of Michigan football team doesn’t have to look beyond campus to hit it big.    This hasn’t always the case of course, especially in the early days of the program.   While Fielding Yost’s contracts compensated him very competitively for the day, it definitely didn’t make him a wealthy man.  Yost spent a good part of the year pursuing his private business interests out of town.

Ferbert1898Do you know the story of Gustave “Dutch” Ferbert?  He suited up for the Wolverines in the mid-1890s but most notably he was head coach of the famous 1898 squad that delivered Michigan its first conference title.  The championship-sealing victory over Chicago that year inspired Louis Elbel to compose ‘The Victors’.

Ferbert coached one more season but then packed his bags and headed north, hoping to strike it rich in the Klondike.   In 1900 he traveled up to Nome and allegedly told folks he would “return rich or not all all.”

Well, there was some question whether he would make it, especially early on.  Thanks to Brian at the Bentley for forwarding this over, apparently from 1902:


Here’s the opening paragraph:

The many friends of “Dutch”” Ferbert, Michigan’s football coach in 1898, and one of the greatest halfbacks who ever carried the ball, have been fearful for some time that something has happened to him, but because it is “Dutch” Ferbert they remember his sturdy characteristics and are hoping that word will be received from him that he is safe

Well, he eventually resurfaced and yes, he kept his promise—he returned a rich man.

Thanks to the folks at the Billings Gazette for tracking down this November 7, 1909 story titled, “His Touchdown in the Arctic”.   The article describes how he made “a $1,000,000 touchdown”..and briefly recapped his quest:

The former gridiron star first located at Nome, and there the real battle to keep the gold-panning gusbest from the door began.  He tried prospecting in several districts, but with slim success.  He found work part of the time in restaurants, stores and other places.  This lasted for several years, but never a thought did he have of going back.  He started out to cross the goal line and a kick or two in the jugular from an adverse fate he considered part of the game.

Then came the strike at Deering City, and Ferbert was one of the first to hit the trail with a pack.  At the start it proved a “Roaring Camp” all right, but luck was a little shy, and then came the turn and riches in abundance.  He located some of the best claims in the region, panned out more gold than he had ever dreamed and became a bonanza king overnight.

While I’m not sure Dutch held onto his dough through the years, it’s still a great piece of U-M coaching lore.

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I wore these little beauties this weekend:

My Adidas

A few folks asked what the story is on these – it’s just pretty cool service available from adidas.  Basically you can take many of the shoes/cleats/whatever from their catalog and trick them out your cotton-pickin’ maize and blue hearts content. 

Go to adidas.com and click on customize.   Once you pick a style (menu of styles on the left toolbar) you want to start with you’ll be sent into a widget where you trick out the shoes – piece by piece, element by element, soles to lace eyelets .  Here’s a screen shot of the widget doing its thing:

Tricked Out 

Tips and FYIs:

  • If you want the older school maize, go with the ‘gold’ color if it is available on your shoe.  The yellow is more like the high maize you see on the unis today.
  • The uniform blue is a richer (more navy-like) blue, the bluebird blue is UCLA-ish.
  • The shoes are suitable quality (I’ve worn mine around for a few days) but don’t expect to get quality on par with a shoe you can buy off the shelf.
  • The lettering (at least on my shoes MVICTORS) was embroidered which was a nice touch.
  • They said it would take 4-5 weeks for delivery but I got mine in about 10 days.
  • Most of the styles are $85 (up to $100), and shipping is around $15. 
  • Pro Tip: When you slap on your custom kicks be sure to carry a cane or an umbrella to help fend off the ladies.

If you order some M-themed tricked out adidas send them my way; I would love to see them.  You will find mine trotting around M Stadium this season.

Build yours here.


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Yesterday’s press release announcing the home and home Oklahoma in 2025 and 2026 discussed the last meeting between the two teams in the 1976 Orange Bowl, but it failed to note the two most important details of that New Year’s Day battle.

1. First, the presence of the epic All-Whites.  Thanks to the Uniform Timeline we know the whites were used on the road in the 1974 and 1975 seasons, ending with the Orange Bowl against the Sooners:

Michigan All WhitesThe beauty of those outfits is that they possess many of the most loved and/or despised aspects of the uniforms that we just don’t see anymore, but are still discussed (granted, primarily on these pages).  On them you have:

  • The thicker, more sinister looking helmet “wings” on the front of the helmet
  • The stripes converging up on the back of the helmet
  • Helmet decals (snarling wolverine)
  • Of course the white pants with white jerseys
  • The stripes on the sleeves and pants
  • And for posterity, just months later for the 1976 season, Nike shoes were introduced.   See the Uniform Timeline for more.

Bring up the “wrong” opinion on any one of those elements to a uniform snob and you’ll see real, or  at least virtual, shots fired:twitter react 2. Second, the press release didn’t mention the EPIC Michigan Marching Band and their Jaws set.  Holy moly it is a classic (click for the YouTube – 2 parts):



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Full press release here:

Michigan and Oklahoma to Play Football Series in 2025 and 2026

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Two of college football’s most storied programs will meet for the first time in regular season history when the University of Michigan and the University of Oklahoma play a home-and-home series during the 2025 and 2026 seasons, announced jointly by the two institutions today (July 14). 

More »

Hard Day's Night A Hard Night’s Day – via Hail to the Victors 2014

Yo!  I’ve been wrapped up for a while with all kinds of stuff, including working on some interviews and pieces that you coming up soon or this fall.  Things will being to ramp up on these pages soon heading up the season.  Things to look for:

  • Hail to the Victors 2014 –  Within the pages of mgoblog’s annual epic preseason book, this time I dropped in a piece on the widely ignored 1964 Big Ten/Rose Bowl championship team.  It takes you through the season primarily through the eyes of team captain Jim Conley, along with some help from his coach Bump Elliott and teammate Barry Dehlin.  Earmuffs!  It’s harsh – it’s spicy – and after you read it you won’t have a problem remembering the ‘64 team.
  • GoBlueWolverine Mag – Coming out before the season, I dropped in my interview with Bump Elliott that you’ll dig – it talks about the ‘64 team of course, but also gets into Woody, Bo, Bump feeling on his own legacy and much more.
  • 2014 Game Program – Still working on some stuff for the program (a few things in the works) and I  interviewed both Dan Dierdorf and Jim Brandstatter.  You’ll get the full interviews on these pages later on.  A sneak peak:

MVictors: You have a lot of friends in the business and many with Michigan ties. Any chance you’ll have a few visitors up in the radio booth during the year?

Dan Dierdorf: I would hope so. Yeah. Who knows who might stop by? I know I’ve extended an invite or two to some of the guys. Bob Seger has a home up by me in Northern Michigan. I know I have reached out to Bob, said “Hey, anytime you want to come to a game, feel free to stop by.” We’ll put him on the air for a while. He’s got a little bit of a following in Michigan.

MVictors: He sure does. How’s Bob as a person?

Dan Dierdorf: What a great guy. Just a wonderful guy. I’m not going to lie. I’m semi-starstruck around him. I’ve just been a fan of his for so long. He’s the most down to earth guy. If you didn’t know what Bob Seger looked like, you wouldn’t realize you’re in the presence of such a star by the way he acts. You’d think this is a guy that just drove up in a truck and wanted to hang out and talk for a while. Great guy.

More to come.


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Gerald Ford Hiking Ball - Michigan

A hearty salute to the memory of President Gerald Ford born July 14, 1913, who today would have turned 101.  In honor of the 1934 team MVP, a repost.  Here are a few of my favorite shots of the POTUS in and around campus.  Above, via eBay one of the classic shots of Ford hiking the pigskin in the 1930s.  Below, via the Bentley Library, Ford addressing captain Mark Messner and the team in 1988:


Here with Bob Ufer kicking off his presidential campaign in 1976 at Crisler Arena:

President Ford - Crisler Arena with Bob Ufer

And finally at practice with General Bo:

Bo and President Ford

In honor of Ford’s 101st birthday, here is a repost of the speech President Ford delivered to the Annual Congressional Dinner of the University of Michigan Club back in March 1975 and worth a read:

[Introductory portion omitted]

You know, as a matter of fact, I can still remember spending a good part of my sophomore and junior years washing dishes in the DKE house–of which I was a proud member–and I mean washing dishes. As a matter of fact, I washed so many dishes I was the only athlete in Michigan history who ever had a football knee and dishpan hands at the same time. [Laughter]

1934 Gerald Ford

As I mentioned a moment ago, I was lucky enough to play football, first on Ferry Field and then in the stadium. And I was lucky enough to start a few games in the football season of 1934–and that was quite a year. The Wolverines on that memorable occasion played Ohio State, and we lost 34 to 0. And to make it even worse, that was the year we lost seven out of eight of our scheduled games. But you know, what really hurt me the most was when my teammates voted me their most valuable player. I didn’t know whether to smile or sue. [Laughter]

When I look back to 1931 and bring us up to date, so many, many fine memories come to mind.

In my freshman year, I had a job at the University Hospital. Dr. Kerlikowski, with the help of Harry Kipke, got me the job. I was a very disinterested waiter in the interns dining room and a very energetic waiter in the nurses cafeteria. [Laughter] You know, the truth is, it couldn’t have been better. I worked in the interns dining room for their benefit and the nurses dining room for my benefit. [Laughter]

Personally, I am intrigued by the differences between then and now, as well as by the similarities. For instance, back in Ann Arbor I lived on the fourth floor of a rooming house and my rent was $4 per week. And I shared it with a good friend of mine from Grand Rapids. Today in Washington, that building would be described as a townhouse. The room would be called a pad. The rent would be $400. And you still wouldn’t get enough hot water. [Laughter]

Of course, that doesn’t apply to where I live now. I have only been there 7 months, and you can’t believe all of the hot water I have gotten into. [Laughter]

Frankly, I just wish some of my critics could have been here tonight. I would have liked them to know what my major in Ann Arbor was—economics. The truth is, it shows you how little times have changed. In 1935, I got my first degree, and in 1975, from some sources, I am getting my third degree–and it is still in economics. [Laughter]

But now as then, I look to the future with confidence. Those of us who went to the University of Michigan during the thirties don’t have to be reminded of just how hard those times were. But what years haven’t been hard? And what times haven’t been a challenge to those who lived in them? And what is wrong with hard times and a challenge? I think it has a way of making people a little stronger and a little better.

And frankly, I have always been grateful, despite whatever hardships I and others served under, for my years at the University of Michigan. They were darn good years, years that provided me with the necessary building blocks and the blueprints to fashion a life from, years that gave me so many, many true friends to experience a life with.

And a rare night like this allows all of us to look back with affection and, at times, with amusement. But our sights should always be set on tomorrow and the many tomorrows that follow.

I know what my views are and my hopes and expectations are. You know, I tend to follow the sentiments expressed in one of our dearly loved college songs–the one that says, “I want to go back to Michigan.” And I do. But with your kind permission, I would like to do it in 1981. [Laughter]
Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 8:40 p.m. in the International Ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Representative Marvin L. Esch and Senator Robert P. Griffin of Michigan; Robben W. Fleming, president of the University of Michigan; Charles Wixom, president of the University of Michigan Club; Dr. Albert C. Kerlikowski, former director of the University Hospital; and Harry Kipke, former football coach at the university.

Citation: Gerald R. Ford: “Remarks at the Annual Congressional Dinner of the University of Michigan Club.,” March 5, 1975. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=4764.


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15. June 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: 2014

Yo!  Tuesday night I’ll be attending/moderating the screening of Black and Blue at the Detroit Center (3663 Woodward Ave, Detroit 48201 map & directions).   The event is sponsored by the U-M Club of Detroit.  I’ll be joining my pal Brian Kruger of Stunt3 and we’ll entertain questions about the film of course, but we’re also willing to delve into booze, horses, women and politics.   More here and here:

* * * *


Learn about an inspiring moment in collegiate football history on Tuesday, June 17 from 6 – 8 p.m., as the University of Michigan Detroit Center hosts a screening and discussion of the film “Black and Blue: The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game.” This screening includes free admission, parking and complimentary refreshments.

Emmy nominated producer Brian Kruger and sports historian Greg Dooley will moderate a brief discussion following the film.

Locally produced by Stunt 3 Media and written by Buddy Morehouse and directed by Brian Kruger, “Black and Blue” follows the iconic story of two friends and one game during a time of civil injustice.

During the 20th century in-heed of Jim Crow laws, it was commonplace for college athletic teams in the North to bench their black players when playing a team from the South.

In 1934, the University of Michigan football team extended an invitation to Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) to compete in a game that fall. Georgia Tech accepted Michigan’s invitation under one condition: Michigan’s talented African-American player, Willis Ward, had to be benched. The University of Michigan agreed, which sparked uproar amongst the students, and most of all, Ward’s teammate and friend Gerald Ford.

Disgusted with the decision, Ford intended to quit the team; however, it was Willis Ward who encouraged Ford to play in the game.

About the moderators:

Brian Kruger is a two-time Emmy nominated film producer who directed and produced “Black and Blue.” A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Kruger spent 20 years in print and multimedia publishing before founding his production and directing company, Stunt3 Multimedia.

Greg Dooley is a University of Michigan graduate and sports historian who appears in “Black and Blue.” He operates the blog MVictors.com, which centers on athletics at the University of Michigan with an emphasis on football.

The University of Michigan’s Detroit Center offers instruction and provides a central base to support and sustain research and partnerships among the University, civic leaders, arts groups, and community organizations. The Center recognizes Detroit for its rich urban arts and cultural context and opportunities for meaningful education and scholarship. The Center also embodies the University’s commitment to the City, and serves as a visible and accessible community center gateway to the University for Detroit’s residents and its institutions.


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[Ed. Via the extensive archives possessed by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis, a timely piece as we begin the 2014 World Cup..proving once again that you can tie Michigan football history back to anything.]

Guest post by Steve Sapardanis

In 1978, Bob Ufer had some hilarious stories along with a few “friends” he would often refer to during his radio broadcasts to further emphasize how great Michigan was doing and how the stars were aligning to match U-M’s football hopes and dreams that season.

When Michigan travelled to South Bend to face Note Dame for the first time in 35 years, Ufer was ready.  He had talked about this game for years and couldn’t wait for kickoff.   Irish fans, still feeling the highs of their 1977 national championship, claimed that “God made the Irish #1.”   Ufe had other ideas.

As the seconds winded down in U-M’s epic 28-14 victory in South Bend, Ufer went on about how actor George Burns, who portrayed The Almighty in the movie, “Oh, God!” was seen leaving the ND sideline to walk over to shake Bo’s hand.   Burns really wasn’t there of course, but the metaphor had already been cast – everybody loves a winner, even the gentleman upstairs!

Then there was this.  After the game Ufer proved that Michigan fandom extended all the way to South America by treating listeners to a “call” from his “friend” in Brazil to help celebrate the victory.  Check it out:

I believe Ufer used a recording of legendary sportscaster Angel Fernandez, one of the best-known voices in the history of Mexican radio and television.   Fernandez called baseball games and boxing matches but was best known for his work in soccer, where he began broadcasts with his famous phrase: “For all those who love and cherish soccer…”   The tradition of yelling “GOOOOOAAAAALLLLL!!!!!” was not only copied by a generation of Mexican broadcasters but was well-known throughout the soccer world and even became a phenomenon in the United States when it hosted the World Cup back in 1994.

* * *


* Get Bob Ufer CDs, merch and much more from Ufer.org.
* The Cavender Stomp (1978)


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05. June 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: 2014

There seems to be a little momentum in the college football throwback department, and I like what is happening here. 

My man Craig at The Hoover Street Rag got a sneak peek at the collection of U-M vintage jerseys created by Tiedman and Formby and this week he shared a few of the designs HSR.  Check the full list of jerseys here; a few of my favorites:


1-oosterbaan - Copy





Want one?  Check out the Kickstarter campaign here for more details.

WPW returns after a brief hiatus with a trip back to Ann Arbor in 1965, a few months following Michigan’s 34-7 Rose Bowl beatdown of Oregon State.   The folks at Esquire Magazine visited Ann Arbor and came to the Sigma Chi house looking for a few good men to model summer clothes.  This shot included a few of Bump Elliott’s champions strolling in the Arb:Photo May 06, 8 13 59 PM Photo May 06, 8 14 12 PM

[Left to right above you’ve got Captain Jim Conley (Sr – End) in his prime, joined by Rick Sygar (Jr. – fullback), the lovely Jane Horsfall (class of ‘65), Jane’s boyfriend Bill Laskey (Sr. - End), and student Norm Legacki.]

I recently caught up with Captain Conley recently who explained how it went down:

MVictors:  How did this shoot come about?

Capt. Conley: “It started at the Sigma Chi house. It wasn’t about the athletes because, of course, because they can’t do that, but they could do it about the student athletes. Since our house was totally filled with athletes, it was pretty easy for them to round up the right amount of guys and put this whole spring fashion thing together. The guy that was doing it apparently was a U-M grad.  He came to campus and he went and went to Sigma Chi house and said, ‘Hey guys, you want to get some clothes?’  What they did was they had all these clothes in there, and if did the shoot you got to keep the clothes.”

MVictors: Did it get any attention on campus after the shoot came out?

Capt. Conley: “Heavens, yeah. It was a lot of the fraternity guys were reading that magazine. Most of us had our nose in Playboy, not Esquire because we couldn’t afford anything that was sold in Esquire magazine. Anyway, it was funny. It just so happened that there was a good number of athletes in there and, of course, they wanted a good looking woman and we found Janie Horsfall.  It was fun. But I don’t know why they didn’t use some good looking guys! [laughs]”

* * * *

Speaking of Captain Conley, Bump Elliott and the ‘64 Rose Bowl Champions.. They celebrate their 50th anniversary this season and I just finished my piece for mgoblog’s HTTV ‘14 on their wild season.  It’s certainly not the kind of thing you’ll read anywhere else and I think you’ll love it.  More to come on these pages as so stay tuned.


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