After all my dogging of former Ohio State players for selling their precious charm pants (which they receive if they beat Michigan) on eBay, look what just showed up in the memorabilia auctions. It’s a 1980 Big Ten and Rose Bowl ring. Often the OSU gold pants auctions hide the name of the original owner; in this case the name is in giant letters on the side of the massive ring:

1981 Michigan Rose Bowl ring

Did this beauty belong to coach Bill McCartney, architect of the McCartney’s Monsters defense as Ufer described them, who was an assistant under Bo Schembechler on that great team? There were no other McCartney’s on the 1980 squad.

Did Coach McCartney voluntarily sell his ring? Maybe not. The auction specifies that this is a “RARE salesman sample with all proper markings inside the ring”. Whew…perhaps the integrity of the Michigan coaching staff is preserved!

McCartney left Michigan a year later to take over the Colorado head coaching position. He led the Buffaloes to a national championship in 1990 and retired following the 1994 season. Sample or real, this is quite a piece of Michigan history will significant ties to the present. Check out some of the names on the 1980 team and staff:

Assistant coaches: Lloyd Carr, Jerry Hanlon, Bill McCartney, Les Miles, Gary Moeller
Players: Mike Trgovac, Butch Woolfolk, Anthony Carter, Bubba Paris, John Wangler, Lawrence Ricks, Stan Edwards, Jim Hermann


  1. Just noticed that the auction owner is claiming this is a “salesman’s sample”. Don’t know if that’s true or not, but I updated the post accordingly.

  2. I made sure the ring STAYED within the Michigan family where it belongs especially with all the history it holds. I know this ring means alot to “BO” and his first Rose Bowl win as coach of the Michigan Wolverines. In addition, it holds the history of Les Miles, assistant coach under BO, and the coming full circle to possibly becomming Michigan’s next leading man in hopes of bringing a National Championship to our beloved Michigan Wolverines. I am a Wolverine through thick and thin and being an alumni, like myself, makes it even more special. GO BLUE!!!!!! This is for you BO!!

  3. Wow DocAJ, did you really buy that beauty? She’s gorgeous, would love to see it sometime.

  4. All rings are made as demos first. Usually with the HC or stars name. That is the “salesman’s sample”. Seldom do players sell their rings. Usually it is a demo or MANY years after they leave school.

  5. We just got back from watching our grandson’s team, LSU win the National Championship. I was browsing about looking for anything National Championship or LSU when I came upon this site. Oh my goodness, my husband’s 1980 Rose Bowl ring! How in the world did it get there?

    When one of our son’s was in high school his Dad let him wear the ring to impress somebody (girls probably) anyway the silly boy wore it while swimming in the ocean. You guessed it – he lost it. But that’s not where the story ends. Some guy found it on that sandy beach, knew who Bill was and knew Colorado was in town for a bowl game and went to the trouble to find the team hotel and return the ring to Bill. Absolutely amazing. Unfortunately the story doesn’t end here either.

    Years later the same son, became a head football coach of an area high school. As a motivational exercise to inspire his seniors our son allowed each senior to wear the ring for a day. Sadly, the ring was never returned to Coach Mac. Talk about Maize & Blue tears. That really shook me up as it did the son who lost it. That ring is part of our life story. It represents a significant and cherished time in our lives. We’d love to have the ring back. Coach Mac is not buying that it’s a sample ring – he thinks it’s the real deal and someone stole it and sold it. I am glad to know the person who bought it is a Michigan man. Would you mind passing this on to him if you know him? Who knows – he may want to negotiate – he didn’t do anything wrong. Thanks for listening to the saga of the missing Rose Bowl ring.

    Extremely proud of Coach Carr and the Wolverines
    Go Blue
    Lyndi Mac

  6. Amazing! I sure hope you get the ring back.

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