16. October 2015 · Comments Off on Yost Returns to Bust the Galloping Ghost 1925 | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,


Lesson:  Don’t mess with Michigan, its football team, or in particular, Fielding Yost or Benny Friedman.  You’ll pay.

Just the great Red Grange about what happened in 1925…or better yet listen to Saturday’s BEAT STATE edition of This Week in Michigan Football History:

More on that 1925 game against Red Grange here.  Or better yet, check out Craig Ross’ brilliant piece on the 1925 season mgoblog’s Hail to the Victors 2015!

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge tomorrow starting at 11:30am.


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1925 was a special year in Wolverine football lore as it featured the return, after taking a season off, of Fielding Yost as head coach. His timing couldn’t be better and he led his beloved Meeechigan with one of the finest, arguably THE best, squads in his brilliant tenure in Ann Arbor.

The 1925 season opened with 39-0 and 63-0 drubbings of Michigan State and Indiana leading to this day in Michigan Football History – a trip to Madison Wisconsin to face the Badgers 90 years ago today. The Badgers were headed by George Little, a former Yost assistant, who coincidently served as the Wolverine head coach in 1924.

Wolverine quarterback Benny Friedman wasn’t a fan of coach Little – and he held a bit of a grudge because he felt he was unfairly sidelined when Little was in charge. But Yost put Friedman in as signal caller and the junior didn’t take long to stun the 44 thousand at Camp Randall – and perhaps exact some revenge on this old coach.

On the first play of the game he tossed a 62 yard touchdown pass. Shortly thereafter he took a Badger kickoff 85 yards to the house. Late in the game he connected with sophomore Bennie Oosterbaan to cap off the 21-0 drubbing.

The following week, October 24, 1925, the eyes of the nation turned Michigan’s trip to Champaign, Illinois to watch Yost square off against the Illini and the great Red Grange. As a junior in 1924, Grange crushed the George Little-coached Wolverines for the dedication of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. In an iconic performance in college football history Grange tallied 6 touchdowns in that game, including four in the first 12 minutes on runs of 95, 67, 56 and 44 yards.

People talk about that game today, but they really don’t talk about what happened when Yost took back the reins and returned to Champaign in 1925.

For 12 months, Yost planned and schemed on how to stop Illinois’ Grange. He went with a seven-man front and a diamond-shaped secondary. Illini coach Bob Zuppke tried to counter the wily Yost by shifting Grange from halfback to quarterback. Twenty-five times the Galloping Ghost Iceman carried the ball, and 25 times he was sent to the turf by bone-crushing hits.

The only score of the game came just before the first half ended when Friedman converted a 25-yard field goal. Michigan prevailed 3 to nothing and the Ghost legend was taken down a peg. Michigan finished the year 7 and 1, claimed the Western Conference and outscored opponents 227-3.


Bless you Sap for serving up decals after that rough game.  Here you go:


DE’VEON SMITH – Now you know why coaches like Bo and Bill Parcells loved to have a strong running game. When you can close out a game, or at least milk the clock, it puts pressure on the opposing team to either use all their timeouts late in the game or drive the length of the field to win. Smith has given the Michigan offense the strength and stability it desperately needs – especially when U-M’s QB is basically playing on one leg.


FRANK CLARK – Finally a solid, break-out, statement game from Clark. Dude was the classic guy who came to play right from the opening snap to the final play of the game. I haven’t seen such a strong and steady big play performance from a Michigan defender since some guy wore #2 in 1997.


KICK TEAM – I don’t want to sound like an old coach, but don’t EVER take another extra point for granted. If Matt Wile doesn’t convert his PAT, the score would have been 9-9 instead of 10-9, and all Northwestern would have needed was a PAT of their own to win.


I know, I know, Wile had one kick blocked, but aside from that, the entire Kick Team played lights out against the Wildcats. From Will Hagerup’s Aussie Drop style punts being downed at the Northwestern one-yard line, to Jehu Chesson recovering a Wildcat muff, the execution of the Michigan Kick Team flipped field position in this contest the entire night. And when playing against an offense that was as scintillating as Northwestern’s was (NOT!), it tilts the field even more in your favor.


YELLOW SHOES – If I can accept the blue stockings (instead of the traditional maize shoes white socks), y’all can give me the yellow cleats that Blake Countess strutted out on Ryan Field on Saturday night. Talk about sick!?!? I LOVED that look with the white jersey, maize pants and white socks!!


If Michigan ever goes back to the Canary Yellow unis, you gotta complete the ensemble with those wicked yellow Countess cleats!



JAKE RYAN –  The position move to middle linebacker was a tough transition for Jake but man, he’s looked solid the past few games and he was an badass out there Saturday.  On the NW sideline Fitz must have seen shades of his old playing days watching #47 out there.  He had one series (that ended with his interception) that is a mini-highlight package all in of itself.  FWIW he didn’t wear his Legends Bennie Oosterbaan patch on the #47 jersey for some reason—I half wondered if he removed it and sewed it on Fitz’s ass during pregame.

05. February 2014 · Comments Off on Wire Photo Wednesday : Illini Stew & a Trashed Yost · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , , ,


Edition number 3 of #WPW gets emotional:
111261912277 Homecoming Ill stew
Maybe this is why Illini fans really hate us?  From 1948, a homecoming display on campus featuring the recipe for a little Illinois Stew.  Well done.  Bennie Oosterbaan’s #1 ranked Wolverines got a battle from the unranked Illini on October 30, 1948 but prevailed 28-20.
Yost Coach and Storm Damage

Above you’ve got Michigan head hoops coach Bill Perigo checking out the damage in Yost Field House from the storm that ripped through the athletic campus back in 1959.   The damage amounted to $100,000 according to the wire caption which, coincidentally, is exactly the revenue from Twizzler sales at the Wisconsin game on Friday night.  2412 

Below, from a 2010 post, a great shot above Yost from the same storm:




350976004725 - Strack not happy

That’s head hoops coach Dave Strack, who succeeded Perigo, a bit distraught on the sidelines.  Strack, the man who coached the great hoops teams of the mid-1960s, passed away in January at age 90



Previous editions:

It’s not a secret that I’m a fan of the Michigan Football Legends program because it’s forcibly re-introduced these names and these eras into the conversation, especially on the week they’ve been honored.  I’ve also witnessed (and in many cases been a part of) the research and publication of fresh materials on these men as a direct result of the Legends program.   That’s a good thing– and this stuff will be available for future generations to see.

Speaking of that you might have noticed I’ve been plugging the commemorative Tom Harmon/Notre Dame game program this week.  Call me a #1000SSS shill, but those who read this site understand that I aggressively support projects like that program because the athletic department invested resources to make this a big day, and again, to gather fresh material on Harmon.  Great stories.   New interviews.  Digitization of epic footage.  Enhancement of old photos (see the program cover).  Et cetera.

As a fan I think this is a case where a few bucks to grab the program is important.  And I’m assuming a lot of what was produced will end up in Schembechler Hall.

I also understand there are critics.  I felt the Twitter flak when the #11, #87, #21 jerseys were re-introduced and I’m feeling a tad groundswell from those that think the #98 should remain on the shelf.   You could argue that Michigan should be investing, from time to time, in the fresh research on these guys anyway, without having to put the jerseys #s back on the field.  You could argue that the whole end game with the Legends is to make a buck, whether on retro jerseys or whatever.  I get all that.  But again, I think that we’re talking about these guys and given what were seeing produced—it is worth it.

Another consideration is of course for the living families members.  Most the Legends aren’t with us anymore.  Brady alluded to that after the game Saturday when I asked him about the #98.  He said, “Obviously we want to make sure we honor the family..”   Think about guys like Mark Harmon, the actor, 24-time reigning Sexiest man alive and son of the soon-to-be Legend.  When, in Mark’s lifetime, is his old man going to be honored like this again?   Not going to happen.

And speaking of family, check this out.  Over the past few years I’ve become pals with Ben (or as many like me refer to him, “Bennie”) McCready—the godson of the great #47 Bennie Oosterbaan.  Ben was on the field last year when Jake Ryan took the honor of donning the #47.  Since then he and Bennie have a forged a bit of a relationship and after Saturday’s CMU game they hooked up.  Check out captain Ryan trying on this beauty in the shadow of the Glick:

Jake Ryan 47 Photo compliments of Bennie McCready

I don’t care who you are, that’s cool.

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20. August 2013 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: Michigan’s Grand Old Man Laid to Rest (1946) · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , ,

Michigan Football Tickets

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:

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.

BTW, and speaking of Woody’s demise…creepily this is not the first time a coffin has appeared on eBay Watch, as in 2008 I featured the auction of Bob Ufer’s makeshift coffin for his Woody Hayes doll:



Originally posted  March 21, 2009

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08. September 2012 · Comments Off on Air Force– (Pregame Photos) · Categories: 2012 · Tags: , , , ,

Sights and sights from pre-game today.   Actually turned out to be a nice day:

01- Mocking DenardThe fabulous Air Force chicken (is that unpatriotic of me?) mocking Denard’s Usain Bolt comments

03 - Coaching them upIt was basically like a practice for Hoke in pregame – he was coaching up the D-line hard

04- CourtsCourt’s moms and his pops with the custom gear – not available in stores



9 pylonCustom made pylons

07 warmGardner still doing a few drills with the QB

socksGear note #1 and #2.  The helmet numbers are gone; blue socks with the maize ‘M’ are here

GibbonsShoesGear note #3:  Brendan Gibbons’ adidas soccer gear?

08 mccreadyMeet Ben McCready – Bennie Oosterbaan’s godson and namesake

09 - shadow


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  • Oosterbaan Honored – Official Release
  • Provisioning for Michigan Stadium 2012: Bridge is Closed version
  • TWIMFbH: Bo Shows ‘The U’ How We Do Things (1984)
  • Oosterbaan, Banners and Books
  • Honoring Oosterbaan: An Interview with Ben McCready
  • ben_mccreadyYoung Ben McCready with a gift from his godfather, namesake and then-U-M coach Bennie Oosterbaan.  It’s the gameball from the 1958 Minnesota Little Brown Jug game & was a Christmas gift.

    For Michigan historians Saturday’s game holds special significance.  Bennie Oosterbaan, arguably the greatest athlete in U-M history will be honored.  He was the first football man to have his jersey retired (#47) and against Air Force, he will be the first to have a Michigan jersey “unretired”.

    Oosterbaan’s exploits on the field are well known: a three time All-American in football, a two time All-American in basketball, and a Big Ten batting title champion in baseball. The Muskegon native turned down offers to play professionally and instead chose a different path: a life dedicated to coaching U-M students in each of the sports in which he dominated. He coached all three sports at one time another, the highlight being when he led Michigan to the 1948 football national championship. After his coaching days he remained an administrator with the athletic department until he retired in 1972.

    Over the past year I’ve gotten to know Ben McCready, the godson and namesake of the great Oosterbaan.   He’ll be there Saturday when his godfather is honored.  McCready was kind enough to share some insight on how the “unretirement” came to be, his thoughts on who should don the #47, how his godfather would feel about all this and much more.


    MVictors:  As one of the representatives of Bennie Oosterbaan family, did the athletic department reach out to you to ask if the family would be interested in participating in the Legends program?

    McCready:  Dave Brandon contacted me last September to see what I thought of the Legends program.  I loved the idea.  He and asked if I could put him in touch with members of Bennie’s family. I was happy to put Dave in touch with Bennie’s surviving relatives (8 in all), most of whom Bennie and his wife Delmas were very close to throughout their lives.  Dave sent letters to all of them. Every member of the family responded to Dave that they loved and supported the Legends Program and the "unretiring" of Bennie’s jersey.

    MVictors:  You are not only Bennie Oosterbaan’s godson, you are actually named after him.  Can you tell me how that came to be?

    McCready: My mother, Sally Wyman McCready (1926-2008), grew up at 1510 Brooklyn, next door to Bennie and Delmas Oosterbaan (1512 Brooklyn ). Her father, George Wyman, and her grandfather, Arthur Brown, were close friends of Bennie Oosterbaan (as well as Fielding Yost and, later, Fritz Crisler). My mother was like a daughter to Bennie and Delmas Oosterbaan. When their son Bennie was born in June of 1938 my mother was like a big sister to "Bennie Boy." When he died in 1946 Bennie and Delmas were devastated and my mother had lost her honored"little brother."  When Bennie learned that my mother was pregnant with me he asked if she might consider naming her child (if it was a boy) after her "favorite player and coach." She said that was what she was planning to do and Bennie was quite thrilled. When I was born in August of 1951, my mother asked Bennie if he would like to be my godfather and he said nothing would make him happier. I have been deeply honored my whole life to be named after such a wonderful person.

    MVictors: Did the athletic department invite some of the Oosterbaan family back for the game?   What are your plans?

    McCready:  The athletic department invited me and 8 members of Bennie’s family to the game and to be part of the on-field ceremony before the game. Bennie’s nieces, Dorothy Preston, Anna Marguerite McCann and Susan Pierce, are in their seventies and eighties, live on the coasts, and travel would be difficult.   Bennie’s three great-nephews, Richard Preston, Douglas Preston and David Preston (the best-selling authors and their very successful doctor sibling) have prior commitments (a family wedding) and very busy schedules. I will be at the game as part of the pre-game ceremony, as will Lew Gatch, Bennie’s cousin, who is a very successful attorney and was a close friend of Bennie’s throughout Bennie’s life.

    MVictors:  Do you have a preference on who dons the #47 jersey in 2012?  Do you have any say or insight into the decision?

    McCready: I would love to see Jordan Kovacs wear #47 but I don’t have any say in that decision. I trust the coaches to pick the right player.

    bennie_1927MVictors:  How would Bennie feel about being honored in this way Saturday?

    McCready: I think Bennie would be thrilled that his number was going to be back on the field, as it was for the very first game ever played in Michigan Stadium. I also think he might be a bit embarrassed by all the fuss but as long as it made people happy he’d be fine with it.

    MVictors:  If you had to guess, was your godfather more proud of his accomplishments on the field (9 letters  across three sports and a 5 time All-American) or of his coaching resume at Michigan (Oosterbaan coached baseball, basketball and football, including the 1948 national title)?

    McCready:  Bennie just liked to play the game – the fame and attention weren’t important to him. I’m not sure that being the Head Coach was as much fun for him as being an assistant, working behind the scenes. I think, more than anything else, he just liked working with young people to help them become better athletes and, most importantly, better human beings.

    MVictors:  Oosterbaan dominated every sport he played at Michigan.  Was there one sport that he preferred or one that he felt he had the most talent?

    McCready: He enjoyed all sports but football was definitely his favorite.

    MVictors:  Did Oosterbaan have any special memories of Fielding Yost?

    McCready:  Bennie liked everyone and he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. I can’t remember Bennie talking much about Yost but I do know that Bennie liked him a lot.


    P.S. Want more on Oosterbaan?  Check out Saturday’s game program.  I’ve got a piece on Bennie O. off the field.

    More on Oosterbaan here:

    The Wolverine Pack & 1926
    Have a Highball with Bennie O.
    Forty-Seven & Victors Valhalla

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    A couple cool items from the inbox this week. 

    Bennie “M”
    First up, a correction.  I wrote that Bump Elliott was the first coach to don the block ‘M’ hat in this post, but reader Dennis Dail corrected me noting that Bennie Oosterbaan actually slipped on the ‘M’ lid earlier.

    The evidence comes via this wire photo in Dennis’s collection:

    bennie O M

    Bennie in Color
    Speaking of Oosterbaan, reader Larry sent this over.  As a hobby Larry colorizes old photos and check out Bennie O. in this famous photo before the 1927 Ohio State dedication game: 

    bennieoBennie O. is receiving flowers from Gwen Dew who handled PR for FTD Florists.  On the right is Buckeye captain Ted Meyer and Catherine Tallant of Ohio State.

    One more he sent – check out Tom Harmon tearing it up in 1940 in Columbus in color:

    harmon colorized

    Meyer Morton

    Ok, one more with Oosterbaan ties (and please note, I’ll have more on this in the future).  Reader David is the son of former Michigan player Don Dugger who won the annual Meyer Morton award in 1954 under coach Oosterbaan.  The award has been given out since 1925 to “the football player who shows the greatest development and most promise as a result of the annual spring practice.” 

    They used to issue an actual trophy and yes, David owns it today and sent over a photo:

    Sweet.  Although I can’t spot the confirmation on mgoblue.com, I believe FB John McColgan was the recipient this spring. 

    I discussed the MM in more detail here and I shared this photo of the 1932 winner–future President Gerald Ford, holding the trophy:

    Very cool. 

    Thanks David, Dennis and Larry and thanks everyone for the great notes of late.

    Bonus: For more Bennie O., check out this republished piece from the Muskegon Chronicle (HT: mgoblog).

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    24. September 2010 · Comments Off on This Week in Michigan Football History: The Incomparable Bennie Oosterbaan & September 25, 1948 · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , , ,


    Here’s the next entry in ‘This Week in Michigan Football History’ to be played tomorrow on WTKA 1050AM’s Key Bank Countdown to Kick-off pregame show before the Bowling Green game.

    This time we head back to September 25, 1948 for the season opener and the first game for at the helm for the legendary Bennie Oosterbaan.   A little different flavor this time, as we focus less on that season and team and more on Oosterbaan himself:

    The sponsor is Wolverine Beer so here’s where you can find it, or check out the Beer Wench’s Blog.  I’m still waiting to have my first Wolverine beer, perhaps some day soon.

    You can hear all of the  This Week… clips here.

    Here’s much more on Oosterbaan on MVictors:

    eBay Watch: The Wolverine Pack & 1926
    eBay Watch: Hanging Bennie in Effigy (1958)
    eBay Watch: Have a Highball with Bennie Oosterbaan