09. November 2009 · Comments Off on Chicken Choked · Categories: Archive 2009, Coach Berenson, Fans, Hockey, Yost · Tags: , , , , ,

I sit across from the heart of the Yost student section and it wasn’t hard to make out one particular young mind on Friday night: the dude dressed as a chicken screaming into a megaphone.  


Turns out that crazy chicken was Andy Reid, sports editor of the Daily.  He made an encore appearance Saturday night but things didn’t go as planned:

Saturday night, I got kicked out. Not cool, dude.

Amidst an entire student section doing the same thing [the vulgar C-YA chant], an usher grabbed my elbow and told me it was time to leave, unless I wanted to be led out of the stadium in handcuffs.

I will admit that I stood out from the other Children of Yost. I may or may not have had a megaphone. And I may or may not have been, ahem, dressed up — if you went to the game, you might have seen a six-foot chicken standing against the glass in section 18.

But that’s even more reason to not kick me out. How is the team supposed to focus and be motivated without a yellow, fuzzy chicken standing behind the glass?

Reid suggests other things could be done to curb the nasty chant (which is delivered when opposing players are sent to the penalty box) including a message from Red Berenson.  Well IIRC, Berenson’s already asked the students to kill the chant and they do it anyway.

I think they should stop doing the C-YA because it’s tired and stale, and there are more than a few young kids at games.  I can also tell you, sitting on the other side of the ice, that you can’t make out a single word that is said anyway.  Seriously, I’m thankful Reid published the actual words to the chant so I could learn what they were saying.

The chicken will return from the State game this week and for what it’s worth, I’d take 30 chickens over these guys.

— ———————-

Related: eBay Watch: Billy Sauer’s Mask (2007)

29. January 2009 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: A Hard Combination to Beat (1905) · Categories: Archive 2009, eBay Watch, Fans, History, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Yost · Tags: , , , , ,

Another vintage Michigan football item showed up this week on eBay, this time a post card celebrating Fielding Yost and his fine 1905 squad. The team is assembled in a line with Yost in the middle, standing on a large sign in the shape of a football that reads ‘Western Championship’. Atop the photo is a block letter title, ‘A HARD COMBINATION TO BEAT’.

The copyright of the postcard is 1905, so I’m guessing this was produced before the season as a souvenir to students and fans. The mention of the Western Championship refers to the undefeated 1904 campaign when the great Willie Heston and the Wolverines ran the table 10-0 and outscored opponents 567-22.

More evidence that this was produced prior to the season, someone wrote on the card “We defeated Wisconsin 12 to 0, as ever.”    The Wolverines indeed defeated the Badgers by that margin on homecoming that season, on November 18, 1905 specifically.   The “as ever” zinger was a 1905 version of smack talk if you’re keeping track; probably about as harsh as it got it those days.

The 1905 crew was a well photographed group. Yost and his teams hadn’t been defeated since he stepped on campus four years prior so it makes sense that folks were eager to get a good look at the machine that was tearing up the football world. Thankfully the Bentley Library has republished a few bonus photos of this team online and they include the shot that was used for the postcard in the eBay auction.  Closer inspection reveals that the “Western Championship” oval on the postcard was likely dubbed-in later (1905 version of photoshopping) as Yost is standing on a small stool:

Bentley Library

Other photos of the 1905 squad that can be found (and can be blown up into incredible detail) on the Bentley Library site:

In a very cool huddle around Yost – Bentley Library

Line up for good measure – Bentley Library

At the Whitmore Lake Hotel – 1905 – Bentley Library*

*[Ed 10/1/09: Thanks to reader Michael F., who correctly identified the correct whereabouts of the photo above.   It is from Walter Graham’s photo album at the Bentley Library, a 1905 shot on the front porch of The Whitmore Lake Hotel.  The team used to train at Whitmore Lake before the season.  Very cool.  Here’s a link to the photo.]

The author of that smack talk was justified in dropping some postcard pomposity, as to that point the 1905 crew were rolling.   Through the shot-out of Wisconsin and onto the next week when they added a 75-0 defeat of Oberlin, Yost’s men were undefeated with 12 wins, outscoring opponents 495-0. The smack would end there unfortunately, as a few days later Michigan traveled to the Windy City and experience something that hadn’t happened in Yost’s five seasons: they lost.  Barely.  Their old rivals Chicago sent The Victors back on the train to Ann Arbor with a 2-0 defeat, the streak broken.

A Bonus eBay Watch:
A member of the 1967 Ohio State football squad is selling the sacred gold pants they receive if they defeat Michigan. It’s not the first time one of these beauties has come up for auction; it won’t be the last.

Coaches and players receive the award which has its roots during Michigan’s brutal season of 1934 when new OSU coach Francis Schmidt sized up Gerald Ford & the two-time defending national champions and observed, “They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else.”

I’ve seen these fetch around $1,000 in the past, we’ll see how this auction goes, here’s a pic:


Update 1/25: I posted some stills of just the Kampfer hit here. YouTube is below.

A great night up at old Yost again tonight save for the final few minutes where it got very ugly. A few highlights from up in Section 22 including a clip of the Michigan students dropping f-bombs on the Spartans after Kampfer was injured.

To the video, if you go directly to YouTube and click the ‘Watch in High Quality’ option, it helps make out Kampfer getting drilled and slashed:

Yost Built summarized what happened, and you can make out most of this on the video although I’m in the opposite end:

The attack–and let’s be real, that’s what it was–occurs around the 45 second mark and it was worse than what you can see in that clip. Basically, Corey Tropp was bringing the puck through center ice in the waning moments of the 5-3 Michigan victory. Steve Kampfer stepped up and smoked him with a perfectly clean check (and that’s not the homer in me talking…it was 100% clean and I don’t think any FYS fan would debate that).

Andrew Conboy (more on him later) then chased Kampfer and did his best Todd Bertuzzi impression, sucker-punching him from behind. As Kampfer lay motionless on the ice, Tropp made it to him and unleashed a BC-two-hander into his neck area. Scrums broke out (though I don’t think the Michigan players realized how awful the incident was, or we would’ve had an all-out brawl on our hands). Tropp was assessed a five-minute major for slashing, two ten minute misconducts, and a double game-disqualification, which carries with it a minimum three-game suspension. Conboy got a double minor for roughing, which surely will be increased.

There was an alleged scrum in the Spartan lockerroom after the game, again, Yost Built:

In the post-game handshake line, Tim Miller was escorted to the locker room after reportedly jawing with FYS head coach Rick Comley.

In the aftermath, there was an incident in the FYS locker room. The Ann Arbor News reported that a man attacked Comley, but Mike Spath posted that it was Corey Tropp who was the target. Police were called and not a whole lot else is known. Rumors are out there as to who the man is–Comley said it was “a parent”–and if they’re true, while you’d like to see a better reaction, and depending on what took place (no details have emerged yet) it may have been over the line, I sure as hell can’t say that I wouldn’t have done the same thing. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see a kid (your kid?) end up in a neck brace for weeks after an assault, have him come all the way back, and then have him get brutally attacked again just a couple of months later.

Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey

I was on campus this morning and took a few shots of the work going on Yost Ice Arena. The structural issue was discovered by one of the mason’s working on the new indoor practice facility next door and the University decided to postpone Friday’s game scheduled against Miami, OH to investigate and mitigate any risk of injury to passers by or hockey fans.

As of 10:30, the police officer onsite indicated they hadn’t officially decided whether tonight’s game against the RedHawks would be held. The crews onsite were about to perform some type of simulated stress or break test to, umm, test something.

The Ann Arbor News ran a pic and had a nice piece about this, but I don’t think their photo quite captured the issue. Here’s my take at it. Basically the top of the wall, or parapet for the architectural elite, is leaning about a foot and a half toward State Street. Here’s my best effort at a photo identifying the issue, click to enlarge:

Yost Ice Arena brick damage
From south of the arena, see how it bows out above the straight blue line?

Yost Ice Arena brick damage
Another view, you can see the bowing at the top

Yost Ice Arena brick damage

Yost Ice Arena brick damage
The supports they put in place above the State Street entrance

Yost Ice Arena brick damage
Crews onsite Saturday morning, you can kind of see the bowing even from here

Yost Ice Arena brick damage
While I was there, a nice shot of the old M logo

A little bonus content, an updated photo of the new indoor football practice facility from State Street:
Michigan Practice facility

* When the Game must be Moved – A look at other instances when games had to be moved including 9/11, Kennedy assassination, WWI.

06. January 2009 · Comments Off on Yost should bow to Stoops’ Sooners? · Categories: Archive 2008, History, Yost

Fielding H. Yost, 1907 team postcards

From a post composed by John Fineran of gatorcountry.com:

Even Michigan’s legendary coach Fielding Yost might rise from his grave and pay Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his Sooners their due. Yost, you’ll remember, was the architect of Michigan’s “point-a-minute” team of 1901 that scored 550 points in 660 minutes of football in winning the national championship and the first Rose Bowl. Actually, that’s 0.83 points every 60 seconds, making the offense of Michigan’s Yost toast when compared to Oklahoma, where the points come whistling down the plains.

These 2008 Sooners, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford, have scored 702 points in 780 minutes of play this year – 12 regular-season games and the Big 12 Championship – in running up a 12-1 record that has them in the BCS National Championship Game Thursday night at Dolphin Stadium against the potent Florida Gators.

Not quite a point-a-minute, mind you. But again, fathom the numbers – 702 points in 780 minutes of play. That’s 0.9 points every 60 seconds.

Clearly this isn’t meant to be a deep dive comparison on Yost vs. Stoops– the purpose is to highlight the prolific offense possessed by the Gators’ barrier to another BCS championship.  That said, there’s an inaccuracy in those numbers.   The Wolverines played 11 games in 1901 which Fineran equates to 660 minutes of play (11 games x 60 minutes).  In 1901 games weren’t 60 minutes, they were 70 (composed of two 35-minute halves) although games were frequently cut short.

By writing this I’m not attempting to show that Yost was better/worse than Stoops or any other modern offense.  The comparison is silly if not meaningless, save for the nostalgia and another mention of the great historical teams/figures like Yost’s 1901 team.    FWIW, here’s a few other points that should be mentioned when comparing these eras:

  • The field was 10 yards longer.
  • Forward passing was not permitted.
  • Touchdowns were worth five points, extra points one and there were no two-point conversions of course.
14. November 2008 · Comments Off on Benny Friedman juggled Chairs · Categories: Archive 2008, Books, History, Yost

Check out David Davis’ interview on Nextbook.org with author Murray Greenberg on his new book, Passing Game: Benny Friedman and the Transformation of Football. An excerpt:

How exactly did Benny Friedman transform college football?

In the mid-1920s, at the University of Michigan, along comes Benny Friedman. He had a unique ability to grip the football and throw it down the field with accuracy. As a kid, he had ambitions to become a strongman, so he’d done a series of exercises designed to stretch and strengthen his wrists and arms: lifting heavy chairs and tossing them from hand to hand, things like that. Combined with his physical strength, he had nerve. He was completely unintimidated and uninhibited. He’d throw the ball on any down, from anywhere on the field, when that was practically a mortal sin.


In the book, you point out that Friedman played at the University of Michigan while Henry Ford was promoting anti-Semitism in nearby Dearborn. How did the anti-Semitism of the day affect colleges and college football?

The Jewish college football players of Friedman’s time walked an interesting tightrope. On the one hand, if they were good enough, they were welcomed onto the teams. On the other hand, they knew that schools had Jewish quotas and that, if they weren’t football players, they wouldn’t be welcome.

Friedman felt very strongly that George Little, his first head coach at Michigan, was anti-Semitic. He gave Benny such a difficult time, almost daring him to quit the sport, that Benny was on the verge of transferring from Michigan. Thankfully, the next coach, Fielding Yost, recognized Benny’s skills and enabled him to become the star attraction.

Sounds like an interesting read, you can pick up a copy here at Amazon.com.

Yost Busts the Galloping Ghost
SI’s College Football Best, by Jersey Number
eBay Watch: The Wolverine Pack & 1926

01. November 2008 · Comments Off on Blue beat Buckeyes inside Spooky Yost · Categories: Archive 2008, Hockey, Ohio State, Yost


Halloween night at Yost was a big one for Red Berenson’s boys as they took down a gutty Buckeye team 4-3. I know there’s many of you around town that have been to a couple games, maybe none, yet you enjoy the Red Wings and perhaps even watch the Wolverines on occasion. You’ve got to get down to Yost–it’s such a great product. Louie Caporusso and Aaron Palushaj are fantastic. There are tickets available to some of the home games this year, get down there.

The students are off the hook dominating the east of the arena, the band keeps the place hyped up, the hockey is phenomenal, and if you get down there early enough you can win the 50-50 raffle (Ticket number 1 was the big winner last night).


I’ve ripped on Michigan fans at the Big House lately, time to rip on an opponent. So there’s a Buckeye fan behind me in his late 50s or so, moustache of course. He’s yelling the whole game at a couple of Michigan players, e.g., after a Michigan player shoves a guy, “WHY DON’T YOU TAKE UP BOXING???” and bitching about referee calls the whole game. He’s loud but there’s some kind strange pitch in his voice that gets in your head. I’m actually ok with the guy at this point–he’s into it, he’s mildly obnoxious and annoying but whatever, maybe he’s a parent or relative or something.

Then with about five minutes to go I hear him tell his buddy, “I’ve never been to a college hockey game before.” My nerves.

If you’re going to carry on, scream at refs about calls, editorialize the student section chants, etc., have a reason other than you just want to be a dick. You’ve got to have a stake in this on some level to earn the right to be an ass.

02. October 2008 · Comments Off on Yost Busts the Ghost · Categories: Archive 2008, Blue Books, History, Yost

With the Illini coming into town we’ll take a look back to October 24, 1925, the year after Red Grange put a whooping on Michigan at the dedication of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. Grange tallied 6 touchdowns in that game, five rushing and one passing, including four in the first 12 minutes on runs of 95, 67, 56 and 44 yards. For obvious reasons that game is still talked about today.

What isn’t talked about so much is what happened the next year. Someone up in the stands didn’t take kindly to the humiliation of 1924 and was set on doing something about it. From Bruce Madej’s Champions of the West:

Just one year before, Coach George Little’s Wolverines had been humiliated by the Illini and their junior halfback, Harold “Red” Grange. So embarrassed was U-M athletic director Fielding Yost by Michigan’s performance that day, he decided to abandon his seat in the stands and return as head coach.

For 12 months, Yost schemed how to bridle Illinois’ Galloping Ghost. He replaced Michigan’s unsuccessful six-man line of 1924 with a seven-man front and a diamond-shaped secondary. Legendary Illini coach Bob Zuppke tried to counter the wily Yost by shifting Grange from his customary halfback post to quarterback.

A steady rain throughout the night had turned the Memorial Stadium field into a muddy quagmire. Twenty-five times the Wheaton Iceman carried the ball, and 25 times Michigan sent a shudder through the sellout crowd as Grange was jolted to the turf by bone-crushing tackles. The final statistics showed No. 77 with a meager net total of 55 yards, less than a fifth of what he had accumulated the year before. Among Yost’s defensive stars that day were sophomore Bennie Oosterbaan and senior captain Bob Brown. The only score of the game came just before the first half ended when Michigan’s little Benny Friedman converted a 25-yard field goal. Though the final margin was just 3-0, that didn’t matter to Yost. The burden he carried for more than a year had finally been lifted from his shoulders.


MVictors: Blue Books

I just received a fresh copy of ‘Historic Photos of University of Michigan Football’ from Turner Publishing. Michelle O’Brien authored the collection, which pulls together fascinating photos from the vaults over at the U-M Bentley Historical Library over the past 100+ years.

It isn’t confined to games and practices; it also includes a few unique looks at the band, the fans and in some cases, the excitement on campus and outside the stadium.

Each photo contains a detailed caption describing the photo often along with a relevant background from the period. O’Brien did a very nice job-it’s a fine collection and would make an excellent gift.

While I’ve seen a few of the photos before but most were new to me. Here’s a few of my favorites, click to enlarge:

Louis Elbel conducts The Victors in 1952
Louis Elbel, the man that composed The Victors after the 1898 Michigan game at Chicago, conducts the Michigan Marching Band in 1952

The original Little Brown Jug, photo from Minnesota
The original Little Brown (White?) Jug. I love the “Not to be taken from the Gymnasium” instruction painted on the top. Can you imagine?

Breaking ground on Michigan Stadium
A photo as they break ground on Michigan stadium, with a clear shot back to Yost Field House in the background. Gorgeous.

Michigan football historic photos

08. September 2008 · Comments Off on Blue Books: The Yost-Rockne Feud · Categories: Archive 2008, Blue Books, History, Notre Dame, Yost

MVictors: Blue Books

A new feature on MVictors, periodically I’ll take a look at a passage from one of the great books written on Michigan athletics. This week we’ll go to the absolute definitive tome on the Michigan-Notre Dame Rivarly, John Kryk’s Natural Enemies. There are several anecdotes of interest in the book, some I’ve mentioned on these pages before, and I’ll revisit some of these in the future. But for today, here’s are a few selections from Chapter 4 ‘Yost vs. Rockne: 1918:31’.

[Note: These are selections from through the chapter, just trying to highlight the feud:]

In a nutshell, here’s what each came to think of each other from 1923 to 1931.

Rockne, then in his late 30s to early 40s, saw in Yost a “hill-billy” who was forever grinding the religious ax against Notre Dame, who was as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, who was selfish and vain beyond comprehension, who was blindly jealous of Rockne’s own success and ascension to national stardom, and who coached boring, neanderthal football.

Yost, then in his mid to late 50s, saw in Rockne a coach who feared the regulatory confinement of a conference, who ran a renegade football factory at Notre Dame, who sought unfair advantages over his opponents, and who continually and deliberately broke football rules with his controversial offense.

Yost and Rockne

Kryk found reams of letters from the two men which provided some insight to their true feelings. There are a few beauties reviewed in the book, but here’s a few excerpts from a back and forth between them.

First, from Rockne in a letter to Yost:

A half a dozen of my friends among the directors in the Conference came to me Saturday and told me that you had been haranging [sic] them all not to play Notre Dame in anything. I think this was very unfair of you. We live up to Conference eligibility rules as given in your code book, but not your special regulations, as we are not a member of the Western Conference…

…The Western Conference could put in a regulation that all coaches had to join the Ku-Klux-Klan, but that certainly will not apply to us any more than some of the other freak regulations they may have.

Now if you personally do not want to meet Notre Dame, that is your business, no holler from this end. If you do not feel that we are fair, we do not want to play either. But I do not think it is fair for you to carry a knocking campaign against us. I have always been a loyal booster and admirer of yours and I hope always to be. However, I am no quitter…I will not sit by quietly and have my school knocked.

Yost’s reply:

Your letter of June 14th received. This I have read carefully. In my opinion, if a university deems it advisable to play on Thanksgiving, has a 10- or 120game football schedule, and has freshman competition with other schools, it should seek its competition with universities that have the same standards and privileges.

Creed has nothing to do with it. Three of the last four football captains at Michigan have been Catholic and many of my best friends are….

I do not believe that the Universities of the Conference should handicap their teams and men and put them in competition with any university that has many advantages that go toward the development of an athletic team with much added experience in competition. Even under these circumstances, Michigan has competed with Notre Dame for years…

I have made you a frank statement of my position and my viewpoint and I want to assure you that nothing personal enters into this in any way…

As aside, Kryk also notes that Yost told Rockne he was going to send copies of their letters to all the other conference directors since Rockne didn’t reveal the names of the other directors with whom he discussed Yost’s “haranging”.

Natural Enemies John Kryk