12. December 2014 · Comments Off on A Retroverted Block M (1920s?) · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , , ,

[Given Block M-gate, a repost.  And P.S., Lay off Hunter Lochmann!  The guy is great and readers of this site, I hope, understand the point he was trying to make.  And yes, feel free to bang on me for addressing this issue in this blurb– but I’m busy, darn it!]

At glance, the design on this pendant that I bought on eBay back in 2013 doesn’t seem too out of ordinary.  On its face you’ve got a thick maize Block M, flanked by blue enamel sitting above the U-M seal:1837 Modern Block MBut upon closer inspection the date on the deal is 1837, not 1817, and therefore the pendant pre-dates 1929.   The surprise here, to me, is that is a fairly modern looking maize block ‘M’ style for such a vintage piece.  Back then, while there were certainly a great deal of variation, the block Ms in circulation were much thinner than today’s style:

Old Ms

Now to be fair, you probably can tell that’s not the modern block M—the cleft in the middle drops to the bottom unlike the official design which cuts off half way, but…it’s pretty close.  You’d also be hard pressed to find Michigan merch today set on stainless steel outside of the occasional collectible spoon.

Either way whomever created this beauty had a vision for a wider and badder block M and went with it.  The only sensible conclusion is that this was created by the Michigan time travelling hipster:

Time Travelling Hipster

The pendant sold for 12 bucks.

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On this day in 1979…still gives me the chills.  Via the great WolverineHistorian:

While it was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy I suppose, I love that in all the madness Ufer recognized that play in the context of Michigan football history when he offers that it will be remembered for another 100 years (’79 of course was the 100th anniversary of the program). We can safely say that’s true of course, looking back 35 years later and it’s probably more to do with Ufer’s call than the play itself.

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More on Bob Ufer

[Ed. IMHO one more must read prior to the final game with the Irish.  Originally posted Sep 4, 2013.]

With all the talk on the historical significance of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry, I’d thought I’d share a little bit on the original meeting in 1887.  Women, prepare to swoon.

DeHaven and Harless

So you’ve heard that Michigan taught Notre Dame how to play this game.  This is true of course, and the details of that meeting are chronicled up front in John Kryk outstanding book Natural Enemies.

Kryk explains that the origins of the fateful meeting in South Bend over 125 years ago can be attributed to three men: students George DeHaven, Billy Harless and Notre Dame’s prefect Patrick ‘Brother Paul’ Connors.

In a nutshell, DeHaven and Harless were former Notre Dame students in the mid-1880s who, in 1886, enrolled at Michigan.  Both were exceptional athletes and suited up for the U-M 1887 varsity football squad…aka Team 8 (official logo, inset).   While at ND DeHaven had become friendly with Brother Paul, who was a popular administrator on campus and helped run the intramural athletics program.Team 8

In South Bend they did have an IM sport which was something like football…but not really. Kryk described it this way: “A hundred boys to a side, all scrambling to get a round ball over the opponent’s fence by any means. Kick it, toss it, slap it – whatever. If you want to get technical it was part soccer and part rugby, but mostly it was pure pandemonium.” More »

14. July 2014 · Comments Off on Hail, Hail to the Chief | Happy 101 Gerald Ford · Categories: 2013 · Tags: , , ,

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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moes tourney

Ed. On the anniversary of Harry Newman’s passing on May 2, 2000 – a repost (originally from March 17, 2013:


This edition of eBay Watch starts with a couple shots from Michigan’s 1932 battle with Northwestern played in the Big House:

1932 Northwestern - Pug 400433201511

The ballcarrier is #23 Earnest “Pug” Rentner, an All-American back for the Wildcats.    Here’s another shot in a separate eBay auction featuring Michigan’s star Harry Newman apparently snatching a ball out of mid-air:

1932 Newman front 360615511928

The caption attached to the second shot claims this is Newman intercepting a pass from Rentner, but I’ve seen no evidence in the recaps that Newman got a pick in this game.  He did a bunch of other things (fumble recovery, long passes, punt return, a field goal, etc.) but no interception.

While game photos are pretty easy to come by these days (heck, I have 100s from the Outback Bowl), I love these vintage photos.  There might be a film clip or two out there from this game but beyond that I’m guessing these shots are few and far between.

Despite the sparse Big House crowd (it was the Depression, man) this game was one of the most anticipated match-ups along Michigan’s march to the 1932 national title.   The Wildcats had put together quite a squad in the early 1930s and shared the conference crown with Harry Kipke’s Wolverines in 1930 and 1931 but…the teams didn’t face each other those seasons.  Via Hail to the Victors 2012:

Pug and The Purple Gang
The next week was the most anticipated battle of the season. Northwestern and Michigan shared both the past two conference titles and two of the biggest stars in college football: the Wildcat’s 1931 All-American back Earnest “Pug” Rentner and of course U-M’s dangerous Harry Newman. As an aside, Rentner’s moniker was spot on–hide the dog Two Pugs biscuits because my man Ernie was one pooch-faced fellow.

The story of the game was how Newman outshined the more nationally decorated Pug as the Michigan “system” defense stuffed Rentner in the 15-6 Wolverine triumph. According to the Daily, “Harry Newman completely dominated the limelight with his spectacular runback of punts, his accurate passing, and his excellent field-generalship.” That would become a theme in 1932. Suddenly the east coast media took notice of Newman and his Wolverines.

Pug fumbled on the first play of the game, and managed to net just over 30 yards on 34 attempts on the day.   Harry set up  both scores and kicked a field goal to cap Michigan’s scoring.   As noted in HTTV, the snuffing of Pug along with Newman’s performance put Michigan (and Harry) on the national watch list.

Newman carried Michigan on his back the rest of the way, finishing a perfect season and in December was quietly declared the 1932 National Champion thanks to the Dickinson System (via the Michigan Daily):

M Daily Dec 11 1932

Newman was named college player of the year and would have won the Heisman Trophy that season had it been around.   Not too bad for a feller who went just over 5’ 7”:

Lewan and Newman

You can own those 1932 photos – link to the Pug Rentner shot here, and the Harry Newman phantom interception here.

Related:  Two guys on that ‘32 squad were Willis Ward and president Gerald Ford (Ward saw significant action this season, Ford rode pine).  On eBay right now, check out these, umm, presumably unauthorized action figures (with several historical liberties!) of your heroes from Black and Blue.  Click the pics to see the auctions:

Gerald Ford Action Figure Willis Ward Action Figure

Ford carrying the pigskin?  Chip straps, modern shoulder pads, maize helmets?  Oy ! Oy ! Oy !

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eBay provides a seemingly never-ending flow of classic photos featuring historic Michigan figures or scenes.   Today here are a few favorites after scanning the auction site:

380822550459 Cake of Victory

The Cake of Victory – Bo’s men famously cut down Ohio 24-12 in 1969 and soon after, apparently the Ann Arbor Quarterbacks Club had Schembechler slice up this victory cake.   

370991589372 Ferry Field Clubhouse 

Ferry Facility – A very cool shot of the athletics “Club House” facility outside Ferry Field.  Via the U-M Bentley Historical Library:    

A “club house,” or locker room, located at the east end of Ferry Field, was completed in time for the 1912 football season. Previously the Michigan and visiting teams used the locker rooms in Waterman Gym on the north edge of campus, making the almost one mile trek along State Street before and after games. The building, designed in the style of an old English club house by the Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, provided separate locker room facilities for home and visiting teams as well as offices and lecture rooms for the Michigan coaches, as well as a lounge area. Total cost of the club house and equipment was $37,000. Now known as the Marie Hartwig Building, the former club house currently houses the Ticket Office, Sports Information Office, Development Office and other Athletic Department administrative offices.


191033106949 All Whites 

All Whites Omelets  – From the ‘76 Orange Bowl.  Those stripes!  All that white!  Would you like to see the all-whites return? 


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On this day in 1923 give a hearty cheers to the unofficial birth of the Michigan ice hockey program.   As beautifully chronicled in John U. Bacon’s Blue Ice, the long road for fans of the sport on campus culminated on this day 91 years ago as Michigan took on Wisconsin at The Coliseum.   U-M’s Eddie Kahn netted the first goal in team history, and it was Robert Anderson who tallied the game winner in overtime for the 2-1 victory.

Sharing a few quotes from Blue Ice that Bacs pulled from the Michigan Daily:

“Hockey is a game that nine-tenths of the students have never seen, and could not be persuaded to attend,” one student wrote, in a piece that is almost as accurate today as it was when the anonymous student wrote it eight decades ago.  “There are many others, however, who will turn out for the first game.  This last class will be the one that will furnish the hockey following, for few people who have ever seen a game have failed to become confirmed enthusiasts.  It is a sport that combines the science of football, the combination demands of basketball and the individual skill of baseball, with a speed that belongs to hockey alone.”

“Above all other attributes of the game itself, the greatest reason why the Coliseum should be packed to the doors tomorrow night and Saturday night is Michigan spirit, the quality for which the Maize and Blue is known throughout the country.”

“It is up to you.  The players cannot do it alone.”

“Be there.”

For more grab Blue Ice, you won’t be disappointed…whether or not you give a crap about hockey.


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09. January 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: 2013

[Ed. Per unnamed source, they called him “Nussie” at Lakeridge High.  The rest of the story via U-M Media Relations..]

Hoke Names Doug Nussmeier as Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke announced today (Thursday, Jan. 9) the hiring of Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Wolverines. Nussmeier comes to Ann Arbor after spending the past two seasons in the same capacity at the University of Alabama.

“Doug is a highly respected offensive coordinator and has earned a reputation as being a great mentor to quarterbacks, specifically, where he’s coached Pro Bowlers, top NFL draft choices and Heisman trophy finalists,” said Hoke. “Doug has been successful at every coaching stop with his balanced and explosive offenses, and he brings national championship experience. He is an excellent addition to our coaching staff and football program, and we are excited to have Doug, Christi and their children join the Michigan family.”

“I am extremely excited to join the University of Michigan and work with Brady Hoke, the staff and players,” said Nussmeier. “I’m proud of what we accomplished in two seasons at Alabama, and I owe a great deal to Coach Saban for that opportunity. Michigan is a program I’ve always had deep respect for, and I’m looking forward to getting started in Ann Arbor and being a part of the great tradition there.”

Nussmeier has been instrumental in the development of quarterbacks during his coaching career, mentoring Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Washington’s Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans) and Keith Price, Michigan State’s Drew Stanton and Jeff Smoker and the St. Louis Rams’ Marc Bulger.

Nussmeier spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons coordinating the offense and tutoring the quarterbacks in Tuscaloosa. During those two seasons, the Crimson Tide offense was one of the most balanced units in the country and set school records in most offensive categories.

Alabama set records for rushing and passing touchdowns, total points scored and total offense during the 2012 national championship season. In addition, the Crimson Tide led the nation in pass efficiency. The 2012 campaign marked the first time in school history that Alabama rushed and passed for 3,000 yards each in a single season.

The Crimson Tide continued their offensive efficiency in 2013. Alabama was seventh nationally in pass efficiency and 17th in both scoring offense and third down percentage. The Tide averaged over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. McCarron was eighth in pass efficiency after leading the nation the previous year.

“Doug did an outstanding job for us during his time at the University of Alabama and I’m sure he will do a great job at the University of Michigan,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “He is a bright coach who works hard and brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to work each and every day. Our production and balance the last two years has been very good and he also brought a lot to the table in terms of coaching the quarterbacks. AJ had one of the best seasons and careers of any quarterback here, and that says a lot when you look at the history and tradition of that position at Alabama. We wish Doug and his family the best and appreciate all they did to help us be successful with the program at Alabama.”

The Washington Huskies offensive unit improved statistically in each of Nussmeier’s three seasons. The offense doubled its scoring output during his first season (2009), led by the passing of Locker and running of Chris Polk. The production was better in 2010, with a balanced attack that gained 2,238 rushing yards and 2,475 passing yards. Polk gained 1,415 rushing yards, the second-best total in school history, and Locker completed his career ranked first or second in every major passing category. Locker was the eighth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.

In his final season at Washington, the offense scored 57 touchdowns and 434 points to finish with the second highest totals in school history; behind only the 1991 national championship team. Nussmeier coached first-year starter Price, who set school records for passing TDs, completion percentage and pass efficiency. Price was seventh nationally in pass efficiency and Polk ranked 16th nationally in rushing.

Nussmeier was the offensive coordinator at Fresno State during the 2008 season. Prior to joining the Bulldogs staff, Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams. He mentored Bulger, who led the Rams to the league’s fourth-rated passing offense in both 2006 and 2007. Bulger was named to the Pro Bowl in 2006, finishing the year with 4,301 passing yards, 24 TDs and only eight interceptions.

Before his coaching stint with the Rams, Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach at Michigan State for three seasons (2003-05). Stanton threw for a then school record 3,415 yards in 2005, breaking the record of Smoker, who threw for 3,395 yards in 2003. Both signal callers were tutored by Nussmeier.

He began his coaching career in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Nussmeier was the quarterbacks coach for the British Columbia Lions in 2001 and was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Ottawa Renegades in 2002.

Nussmeier was drafted in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played four seasons with the Saints (1994-97) and one with the Indianapolis Colts (1998). Nussmeier helped the British Columbia Lions win the Grey Cup Championship in 2000 before retiring to join the coaching ranks.

As a collegiate player at the University of Idaho, Nussmeier passed for 10,824 yards and averaged 309.1 yards of total offense per contest. He is one of only four quarterbacks in NCAA history to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 during his career. Nussmeier won the Walter Payton Award in 1993, the Division I-AA’s version of the Heisman Trophy, and he was named the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year in 1992. Nussmeier was inducted into the University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

An Oswego, Ore., native, Nussmeier attended Lakeridge High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Idaho in 1994.

Nussmeier and his wife, Christi, have two sons, Garrett and Colton, and a daughter Ashlynn.

Did You Know?

  • Nussmeier was a finalist for the University of Washington head coaching position this year.
  • He is one of only four players in NCAA history to pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 during his career (Steve McNair, Daunte Culpepper and Colin Kaepernick are the others).
  • In two seasons under Nussmeier, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron passed for 5,996 yards, 58 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, while completing over 67 percent of his passes.
  • In the past six seasons as an offensive coordinator, Nussmeier’s offenses have produced six 1,000-yard running backs.