On this day in 1946 Michigan lost its Grand Old Man—Fielding H. Yost. This was an eBay Watch topic back in 2009 thanks to the auction of a press wire photo from Yost’s funeral procession, held on from August 22, 1946 in Ann Arbor. The photo depicts the casket and his pallbearers:
- J. Fred Lawton, the composer of ‘Varsity’.
- Legendary player and coach Bennie Oosterbaan.
- 1922 team captain Paul Goebel.
- 1925 team captain Robert Brown.
- Legendary M Swim coach Matt Mann
- Andrew Baker, Yost’s secretary
For as many times as you’ve speculated that Yost was rolling over in his grave, now you’ve got an idea of what he’s rolling in. Curiously the gent who composed the photo caption spelled Bennie Oosterbaan’s first name correctly (with the “ie”, often butchered as Benny) but laid an egg hammering when it came to his last name (“Oosterbaum”). Bah.
The caption of the wire photo reads “GRAND OLD MAN OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL LAID TO REST”.
I can’t summarize Yost’s impact on Michigan athletics in a single post and won’t really try to. While he was not a man without flaws, he leveraged his incredible success on the football field along with his business acumen to lead U-M to build an athletic campus (for men, for women, and in spirit, for the people of the State of Michigan) that was years ahead of its time, with iconic structures like Yost Field House, the U-M Golf Course, and of course Michigan Stadium still standing and very much operating today.
The day Yost passed must have been a sad day for everyone in Ann Arbor and for the college football world in general. Except maybe in South Bend. It was probably a similar feeling as we had a few years back when we lost Bo or to Buckeye fans when Woody passed on.
Originally posted March 21, 2009
Follow MVictors on Twitter