[Ed. A modified repost from January 2011 & the last time Michigan Man was tossed around..during the last coaching search]

The term Michigan Man hasn’t been this hot since Bo dropped his epic blast at outgoing coach Bill Frieder.  This of course happened during the last coaching search and it prompted Hoover Street Rag, UMGoBlog and a pre-SI/pre-practicegate Rosey to serve up excellent discussions centered around the Michigan Man concept.

We know the use of the term goes way back, certainly before Bo used it so famously.   Heck, we know that Bo dropped this on Mark Messner during a last ditch recruiting trip in the mid-1980s:

Bo walks over, just hands me a tape and says [Messner in perfect Bo voice]: “You’re a Michigan man and you belong at Michigan.”  And got back in the car.

I don’t know if there will ever be a true “source” of Michigan Man because as I understand it, it’s piggybacking on the concept of the ‘Harvard Man’, which I believe was simply extracted from England and the ‘Oxford Man’ or ‘Cambridge Man’, for instance.   The Great Gatsby, chapter 7:

“And you found he was an Oxford man,” said Jordan helpfully.
“An Oxford man!” He was incredulous. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.”
“Nevertheless he’s an Oxford man.”
“Oxford, New Mexico,” snorted Tom contemptuously, “or something like that.”

Anyway, I did a quick search to find the phrase and nabbed a century-plus old source of it being used in the context of a U-M grad in a coaching position.  Vanderbilt was coached by a former M player, assistant and Yost’s brother-in-law Dan McGugin.   Frank “Shorty” Longman coached Notre Dame but went to Michigan and played for Yost from 1903-1905.

When Michigan scheduled Notre Dame in 1909, check out this passage from September 12, 1909 edition of the Free Press:

1909 Michigan Man


Flash forward to 2014, when recently reader Brian Snider found this cool article eBay in the Michigan Daily dating to 1905 concerning the construction of the Michigan Union, where the subheadline mentioned Michigan Men:


Of course the Union was originally for men (women were only allowed to enter through the North entrance and when accompanied by a male escort), reiterated on this match book:

union matchbook

And we know the label ‘Michigan Man’ goes back further than this.  Author John Kryk (Natural Enemies) told me he found its use “predates Yost” and he’s come across references from the 1890s.


* Jim Harbaugh a Michigan man?  “Like hell he is!,” says Mike Hart in 2007.
* Shorty Longman’s Ruse

Need snarky coaching search updates?  Follow MVictors on Twitter

26. September 2011 · Comments Off on Why Michigan Bought the Little Brown Jug (1903) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , ,

During a 2011 press conference Michigan’s Ryan Van Bergen talked about The Little Brown Jug and joked, “I don’t think you’d want to drink any water out of that.”  True, but even if you wanted to take a drink you’d be hard pressed to make that happened.  When I did my jug research a couple years ago it was easy to notice that the top is sealed off:

top of the jug

There used to be a cap and some ribbons affixed to the top, but at some point they were removed (and from the looks of it, torn off).  I asked Jon Falk about it a couple years back–he’s not sure when exactly that happened.   It’ll take a flathead screwdriver and some pliers to get that top off.  You have to want it.

Why Michigan Bought A Jug
So obviously at one point this did carry water for the team, but the truth of how and why it ended up on the U-M sideline in 1903 has shifted a bit over the decades.  In the early days of the Jug rivalry, it was widely believed that Michigan brought the jug & water from Ann Arbor, and further, some suggested it was because Yost feared the Gophers would attempt to spike/poison their water.   Of course years later Tommy Roberts revealed that he simply bought the jug in Minneapolis before the game.

While it’s possible that Michigan wanted its own jug to keep enemy hands off the water supply, it wasn’t a common practice for the Wolverines to carry water on road trips and it’s doubtful that Yost feared any foul play from Minnesota.  The Wolverines were experienced travelers, including most notably a trip to Pasadena for the first Rose Bowl in 1902, and in fact found no advantage in bringing its own water to road game, and worse, it was a hassle.  Check out this quote from legendary Trainer Keene Fitzpatrick from just a few days before the 1903 jug game:

“Carrying water to which the men are accustomed on a trip is a big nuisance and of no practical benefit,” said the trainer. “Once only, when the ‘99 team went to Philadelphia, was this precaution taken by Michigan, and then we didn’t find that any advantage had been gained. On the long California trip the health of the team was not impaired by the change in drinking water.”
-October 28, 1903 Michigan Daily [via John Kryk]

The last line implies they were actually more concerned about the changes in regional water (think about your last trip to Mexico), than with foul play.  But despite all that Fitzpatrick determined it wasn’t worth it to carry water on the road.

That said, of all the Little Brown Jug tales out there, the one that seems the most believable is that Michigan did buy the jug to ensure they controlled the source of their water.  The 1903 game was HUGE – in fact Minnesota added extra security around their final practices to ensure no Wolverine scouts were watching.   Sure, poisoning seems extreme but after the game, Michigan Willie Heston’s face was swollen shut and he claimed that Minnesota mashed him with their spikes throughout the day.  So, it’s possible Yost did indeed fear some foul play–but unlikely.

Want more?  Read Little Brown Jug Lore.

01. July 2011 · Comments Off on Husking History · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , ,


Today the Big Ten officially welcomes Nebraska to the conference, so I say welcome to fans & the Husker bloggers.  I’ve actually been to Lincoln for a “Big Ten” game – versus Iowa in 2000 and had an outstanding time.  Other than the stadium being completely doused in red (something we’ve seen before), my other lasting impressions include a strapping man launching T-shirts out of his portable missile launcher, and the pro football feel to the whole event with the omnipresent ads, sponsored replays, etc.  It’s a different environment than Michigan for sure, but not unlike what you get in other stadiums in the conference.

Speaking of the bloggers, a few are celebrating the day with a post and Big Red Network even solicited notes from the conference blogosphere.  Brian chimed in:

From MGoBlog – Welcome. Michigan looks forward to proving once and for all that the
1997 Nebraska team couldn’t hold a candle to Charles Woodson and
company. Please try to blend in when you overwhelm our stadium.

So did I:

From MVictors — Welcome.  Nebraska and Michigan share many things historically of course: a deep running tradition of excellence, the 1997 national championship and Fielding Yost.  Our teams even shared the outcome of the game when we met 100 years ago this fall in Lincoln – a 6-6 tie.  On that trip the Michigan team, students and fans who traveled to the game were treated like royalty.  After the game the Nebraska officials invited the entire contingent to the postgame banquet, and the Nebraska band even learned ‘The Victors’ for the occasion.  Good luck this season.

More on that game and the entire 1911 season coming up in Hail to the Victors 2011 – coming soon and you can preorder now.  If I had a T-shirt gun I would shoot you a copy.

Of course the initiation of new bloggers means more people talking about U-M and potentially about Michigan history so…dispatch the history nerd police!

First, Husker Extra did a nice alphabet-themed run down on the Big Ten but stumbled a tad when it got to L:

L is for the Little Brown Jug, the prize that goes to the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan game. The oldest trophy in college football, the jug was first up for grabs in 1903.

I appreciate the acknowledgment of the Little Brown Jug, but it wasn’t first up for “grabs” until 1909 .   It was left behind in 1903, starting the chain of events that led to them playing for it next time they met.  And Corn Nation recapped the history of the jug here, also with some elements that are incorrect but that’s not their fault because the existing versions at the athletic departments have some of the story wrong.  (Inside scoop: I’m working with the folks on State Street to tighten up the Michigan version.)

While Corn Nation escapes that one, I can’t let this one go.  They did a round table style Q&A yesterday and the second topic was ‘2 – Coach (or person you’d most like to meet associated with the Big Ten, dead or alive)’.  Resident historian Jon responded with this:

2 – Notice I included the criteria “dead or alive” and I’m the history guy, right? RIGHT? Woohoo! I’d like to meet Fielding Yost and do a post game interview, asking the question “What were you thinking, kicking to that Grange kid?”

I’ll take that.   I’m guessing Fielding Yost would be pretty confused by Jon’s question, but happy to talk about how he handled the Ghost.  George Little was the U-M head coach when Grange ran roughshod over the Wolverines in 1924 and FWIW, he didn’t score on a punt or kick return.  More importantly, Yost returned in 1925 and smothered Grange and Illinois 3-0:

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.

Somewhere  up in football’s Valhalla Yost is still talking about how he whipped Grange.

Make sure you follow MVictors on Twitter.!

As if you hadn’t heard(!).  I’ll say what I said before—I wish they had more specific references to history.  The guy from adidas basically said that they trolled through the old team photos and found some stripes on the 1890s-era teams, and AD DB suggested that the stained glass (I think Ira has that trademarked now) design is indicative of stitching on the old block M uniforms.  Fine.   I would have had a design that pointed to specific elements from uniforms for a specific team or era of Michigan football history. 

That being said, I really like the helmets and the gray throwback facemasks.  And—the jerseys definitely look much better on the players and over the shoulder pads.  I think having Denard wear it for the unveiling helped—the dude can make anything look kind of cool, right?

Denard Robinson in Notre Dame Throwbacks

And it’s not just that they look better on the players.  The shoulder-pad fitted “sleeves” are shorter on the actual uniform than in the version that the public can purchase.  Thus, there are about half as many stripes and it deemphasizes that aspect of the ensemble (as do Denard’s dreads):


Here’s RVB’s helmet:

Michigan throwback helmetthose are RVB’s forearms, not mohair extensions on the sleeves

It’ll be interesting to see if those number decals stay on the helmet.  I’m guessing a few will be displaced during the game.  Remember the winged design is painted on, not a decal as many assume.  They certainly won’t go through the pain of painting on the numerals for a single game.

Other stuff:

* Man, the athletic department can put on a top notch event.  Along with the media and U-M staffers, you had current and former players and various dignitaries and donors on hand.  If you’ve got a venue like that, why not exploit it?

* The podium was flanked by two other more traditional uniforms and yes, they will be used in the other home games next season.  Check out the back:

2011 Michigan jersey

* It was also announced that Desmond will be honored in some form at the Notre Dame game.  I asked Brandon if they are considering retiring #21.   His answer was basically a ‘we’re looking into the matter’ and ‘we’ll get back to you at the right time’-type response:

"We’re considering a great deal the whole concept of retiring numbers, not just as it relates to the situation with Desmond," Brandon said. "We have so many great players, and we’re always trying to figure out how to honor them in an appropriate way. We do have a tradition here of retiring jerseys, a policy and a program we’re taking a look at, and we’ll go forward."

As Mark Snyder of the Freep suggested to me afterwards, knowing the marketing machine, any announcements such as retiring jerseys would be a separate media event and marketing campaign.  Spot on.  I think it’ll happen.

* This is unconfirmed, but word on the street (HT: Mike) is that Elvis Grbac and Desmond may re-enact this as part of the game festivities.

* They passed out these throwback tees on the way out of the stadium.  (It has the under the lights logo on the back).  I really like it and I’ve seen this style logo out there somewhere—I’m trying to recall when and where:


* One more bit of scuttlebutt (HT: Mike).  Word is that the iconic maize Michigan stadium usher jackets are being scrapped this season for a new color (blue) and a new design.  You can panic for 1 hour then move on:


* Update:  I forgot to mention the Brandon announced there will be some special guests and some type of acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of 9-11.   Also, he noted that the cheerleaders will be throwing back as well, maybe like this?

Want one of the jerseys?  Pre-order from my boys at Moe’s starting June 17:


Follow MVictors on Twitter (and you would have already had most of this stuff!)


On Monday Red Berenson taught Sam Webb and the rest of the media a little bit about ice.  Here’s what he said (thanks to Ira at WTKA for the clip):

Building on Red’s description of the surface for Saturday’s game, I thought it’d be cool to take a look at how the ice has evolved over the years.   Where did I find a lot of this info?  John U. Bacon’s outstanding book Blue Ice of course, get yours if you don’t.

“Outdoor/Outdoor” Ice (1900-1916): Michigan hockey, or at least something like it, started after the turn of the century as students formed ‘The Huron Hockey Club’—a group of students that played the game on the Huron River and its “outdoor/outdoor” ice.  According to Blue Ice, in those early days instead of sweaters they wore bowler hats, coats and ties.  In lieu of pucks they used things “tin cans, wood blocks, frozen fruit and even packed horse manure.”  I’m guessing you could also find a little bit of “maize ice” near the woods back in those days.  For years the group lobbied the athletic department unsuccessfully for funding and more importantly, for its place amongst the other varsity sports.

“Indoor/Outdoor” Ice (1916-1927): The sport (and ice skating in general) was growing in popularity as the years went on.  Eventually the athletic department provided help but this action was prompted, in part, by tragedy.   In 1916 a student fell through the ice of the Huron and died.  The school reacted by working to find safer arrangements for the club.  They first attempted to form a rink on the Ferry Field tennis courts but this didn’t fly.  Eventually the university rented time at the Weinberg Coliseum, Ann Arbor’s lone ice rink giving the hockey enthusiasts a safer home.   The Coliseum was essentially ‘indoor/outdoor’ ice, that is, an indoor facility flooded and frozen by Mother Nature with an assist from the Coliseum’s open windows.  The hockey team earned varsity status in late 1922, but its playing surface was still at the mercy of the thermometer for a few more years.

“Indoor/Indoor” Ice (1928-present): Most of you know that his name adorns the hockey arena where U-M has played since 1973, but few understand the impact Fielding Yost actually had on the hockey program.  As athletic director, Yost not only purchased the Coliseum (in 1925) but in 1928 as part of his commitment to provide Michigan students with the finest facilities, he outfitted the rink with artificial ice.  Yes, it was Yost who first delivered the “indoor/indoor” ice that the maize and blue have skated on since.

“Outdoor/Indoor” Ice: (Saturday): Ah yes, that brings us to Saturday when we’ll see how the boys fare on the Red’s ‘outdoor/indoor’ ice in front of 111,000+.

Want more?  Listen to the WTKA 1050AM pregame show on Saturday or better yet, check out John U Bacon’s outstanding Blue Ice!

McGugin, top left, a century ahead of Dhani’s bowtie revolution.
[from 1903 team photo – U-M Bentley Library]

Guest post By Jonathan Gluck

Upon retiring from the head coaching position at Vanderbilt University in 1934, Dan McGugin had amassed nearly two hundred wins in his thirty-year career. He had established Vanderbilt as the South’s premiere football program. Nashville sportswriter Fred Russell described McGugin’s time at Vanderbilt, “For years he ruled supreme in Dixie and his teams won glorious intersectional victories. More than any one man, he was responsible for the progress of Southern football.”

McGugin’s success as a coach can be partially attributed to his relationship with legendary Fielding Yost of University of Michigan. Yost mentored Dan in his early years in Ann Arbor. Later, the two became brothers-in-law, business partners, and close friends. Both men were representative of the class of game-changing coaches in the early 20th century: highly intelligent, well educated, business savvy, and most importantly, of utmost integrity and character. The relationship between these men, nearly forty years long, culminated on a warm Saturday morning in 1922 as McGugin challenged his friend Fielding Yost in the game they both loved.

I am incredibly fortunate to know Coach George McGugin, Dan McGugin’s grandson. George, a 1958 alumnus of my alma mater, Montgomery Bell Academy, was a volunteer coach and early influence on my high school football career.

Though he never knew his grandfather, whom he affectionately refers to as Coach McGugin, George shared with me the story of his family’s history. When asked how his grandfather’s family settled in the Midwest, he responded, “Coach McGugin’s father, Benjamin Franklin McGugin, and his two brothers fought for a Union regiment from Ohio during the Civil War. He was captured and sent to the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia from which he escaped.” After the war, Benjamin McGugin moved his family to Tingley, Iowa, a small town sixty miles southwest of DesMoines, where his son Daniel Earle was born on July 29, 1879.

Dan enrolled at Drake University in 1895 at age 16. He was encouraged to try out for the football team and played tackle for two years, scoring a few touchdowns and even punting the football. For two consecutive years Drake’s footballers opposed teams led by up-and-coming coach Fielding Yost.

In 1898 Drake beat Yost’s Nebraska and lost the following season to his next team, Kansas. It is unknown whether McGugin played in either of these games. Yost spent the 1900 season coaching five championship teams in northern California: the Stanford University varsity and freshmen, San Jose Teachers College, Ukiah High School, and Lowell High School. In 1901, University of Michigan hired Yost as its first full-time professional coach. That same year, Dan McGugin graduated from Drake and began Law School at Michigan. While George McGugin speculates that Yost recruited his grandfather to Michigan, it is unknown why Dan chose Ann Arbor. Nevertheless, his decision would be critical to his future as a football coach and relationship with Fielding Yost.

After arriving in Ann Arbor, McGugin sought out Coach Yost, hoping to earn a spot on the Michigan team. McGugin’s prior collegiate football experience appealed to Yost, who, in his early years of coaching, was known for his “creative interpretation of rules of eligibility and recruiting.” Although McGugin did not compare in stature to Michigan’s imposing linemen, he made up for a lack of size with speed and quickness. He started at guard for two years and played an integral part on Yost’s “Point-a-Minute” teams. On January 1, 1902 the Wolverines dominated Yost’s former team Stanford 49-0 in the first ever Tournament East-West game, now known as the Rose Bowl.

McGugin’s eligibility ended before his third year of law school. He remained connected with the team as Yost’s assistant coach for the 1903 season. Upon graduating from law school in the spring of 1904 at age 24, he began practicing in Detroit while also looking for coaching positions. Around the same time, Yost heard from an old friend who happened to be in the market for a head coach.

In 1897, Yost had befriended Vanderbilt University President Dr. William Dudley at a Sigma Chi fraternity convention in Nashville. Seven years later, Dudley, who was seeking a new head coach for Vanderbilt and immensely impressed with Yost’s record at Michigan, asked for a recommendation. Yost immediately suggested his apprentice McGugin, who had nearly accepted the head coaching job at Case Western Reserve, only to withdraw his name from Case and commit to Vanderbilt.   According to his grandson, “Coach McGugin recalled as a boy the harsh winters in south central Iowa and, after his dad talked about how mild the winters were in the South, had in the back of his mind wanting to spend some time there. Thus, wanting to be a college head football coach, the opening at Vanderbilt provided that opportunity as well as the opportunity to move to the South.”

McGugin arrived in Nashville for his first season with the Commodores in September 1904, two months after accepting to position as Vanderbilt. He was immediately hailed for bringing Michigan football to the South. His team perfected Yost’s systems of interference and defense and executed a no-huddle style offense Hurry-Up himself would have praised. In eight games, Vanderbilt scored 452 points while surrendering only four.

The newfound popularity of the “McGuginmen” even pulled the Vanderbilt Athletic Association out of debt for the first time in history after 7,000 fans attended a decisive Thanksgiving Day victory over rival Sewanee. In less than three months, McGugin had led Vanderbilt to the pinnacle of Southern football. He would not lose to a southern team until 1909.

Soon after the end of the 1904 season, McGugin met Virginia Fite, a southern belle daughter of prominent Nashvillian Colonel Leonard B. Fite. [editor’s note.  life goal: to have people refer to me as “Colonel” in my later days – GD].   It is unknown how the two met, but they fell in love and engaged to marry. And in the summer of 1905, Dan and Virginia planned to visit Detroit for a reunion of the famed 1901 Michigan championship team. George McGugin recalled that Virginia’s mother would permit her youngest daughter to travel with Dan only if Virginia’s elder sister Eunice accompanied the two as a chaperone. During the trip Fielding Yost fell for the equally beautiful Eunice and the two became engaged. Yost served as McGugin’s best man at his wedding in December of 1905 and McGugin returned the favor in March 19.

Over the next fifteen years McGugin and Yost, who resided in Ann Arbor only during football season, lived in side-by-side homes on Nashville’s West End. They shared offices in the First National Bank Building, established one of the city’s finest law partnerships, and financed a hydro-electric power plant in the Tennessee River Valley.  Yost even assisted his former player in preparing the Commodores for the 1905 season, and appears crouching next to McGugin in the team picture.

Perhaps Yost’s true purpose was advanced scouting of his brother-in-law’s squad. Several months later the Commodores, in McGugin’s absence as he returned to Tingley for a family emergency, lost a hard-fought game 18-0 to Michigan. Considered a moral victory, the Michigan Daily proclaimed, “It was the finest exhibition of sheer pluck and determination ever seen on Ferry Field.” The coaches met six more times before 1922, the year of the inaugural game at Dudley Field. Fred Russell argued that Yost influenced Vanderbilt football extensively behind the scenes from 1906-1922. Dan McGugin, certainly with the help of Fielding Yost, had established the South’s premiere football program.

For the next twelve years Vanderbilt continued to dominate Southern football. The McGuginmen won several decisive victories over John Heisman’s Georgia Tech and rarely lost to in-state rival Sewanee. More than a decade of progress stalled near the end of the 1910’s. In April 1917 the United States Congress declared war on Germany and four million young men were drafted to the military. Nearly all of McGugin’s 1916 team enlisted in the military after the declaration of war, leaving replacement players to fill the roster. The coach himself missed the entire 1918 season while serving in the Army, earning the nickname “Colonel” in the process. Following the war, Vanderbilt reestablished itself at the top of southern football. In 1921 they won almost every game and regained the Southern championship. Entering the 1922 season, McGugin’s Commodores, led by captain Jess Neely, were primed for another dominating performance.

The McGuginmen rolled to two early victories over Tennessee Normal and Henderson-Brown. On Saturday morning, October 14, 1922, Dan McGugin hosted his brother-in-law’s Wolverines in the inaugural game at William Dudley Field. He would be playing against Fielding Yost and honoring William Dudley, the two men who were responsible for his hiring at Vanderbilt. Although McGugin returned a strong team and had historically fared well against the Wolverines, he was taking a serious chance. Michigan’s physically dominating team, fresh off a 48-0 rout of Case Western, featured three All-Americas: Harry Kipke, Paul Goebel, and Jack Blott. ‘

Fred Russell described the scene in 50 Years of Vanderbilt Football, “the day was warm, the field a virgin green handsomely crossed by its white stripes, the goal posts enticingly laced with Vanderbilt and Michigan colors.” The guests of honor included Governor Alf Taylor and Cornelius Vanderbilt, great-great-grandson of the university’s founder. McGugin, who was always known as an inspirational leader and excellent motivator, addressed his men prior to taking the field, “You are going against Yankees, some of whose grandfathers killed your grandfathers in the Civil War.” (Colonel McGugin failed to mention that his father had fought for the Union while Coach Yost’s had served for the Confederacy).

The Commodores, brimming with excitement from their coach’s emotional appeal, took the fight to the Wolverines. The two teams battled for field position all afternoon until late in the game Michigan drove the ball deep into Vanderbilt’s side. Defending the final yard of their territory, urged by their passionate coach and willed by their lion-hearted captain Jess Neely, the Black and Gold withstood the powerful Michigan surge on four consecutive plays. The game ended in a scoreless tie. Seventeen years after their first coaching match-up, McGugin finally tied his old friend Yost.

Dan McGugin would go on to coach another twelve years at Vanderbilt, retiring in 1934. One of the winningest coaches in college football history and among the few who coached at only one institution, his 197 wins and 76% all-time winning percentage rank in the top 25 of both categories. Near the end of his coaching career, he also served as President of the Football Coaches’ Association and Athletic Director at Vanderbilt. Two years after retiring, he died of a massive heart attack January 19, 1936 at age 56. More than anything, he is remembered for his contribution to the development of college football in the South. But few know of his lifelong friendship with Fielding Yost. Yost helped McGugin get hired at Vanderbilt, and then served as a formidable opponent, brother-in-law, and business partner for many years. Their 1922 match-up exemplifies the passion they had for football and respect for each other. Fuzzy Woodruff, in his History of Southern Football, wrote, “The plain facts of the business are that McGugin stood out in the South like Gulliver among the native sons of Lilliput.  There was no foeman worthy of the McGugin steel.”

[Ed. This piece was originally prepared by Gluck for John U. Bacon’s History of College Athletics class at U-M.  Gluck is from Nashville, TN and a second generation Michigan grad of 2008.  He’s currently at dental school in San Francisco at University of the Pacific.]

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

This time we look back to 1971, as third year coach was crushing opponents on both sides of the ball.  Leading up to this game Michigan scored 124 points in the previous two games, and was holding teams to 5.1 points per game.   Gary Danielson and Purdue were up next, and it wouldn’t be easy for Bo’s Wolverines:

[Ed. One note:  The final score of the game was of course 20-17 (not 23-30 as mentioned in the recording.  Sorry about that.]

The sponsor of This Week…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.

eBay Watch is back, and starts with a program to the 1976 Navy game:


A selection of a few other Navy-Michigan programs from the U-M Bentley Library program database:


If you follow the eBay Watch series you’ll know that I rarely feature common items like tickets or programs.   But this week there’s good reason, as on Saturday from noon-3 WTKA 1050AM (and I assume will be replaying the original Bob Ufer radio broadcast of the 1976 Navy game.  If you’re cleaning out the garage or mowing the lawn I suggest you tune in.


Old ‘Ufe practically wore out the scoring horn in this one, as #1 ranked Michigan put up 70 points on the Midshipmen, the most since 1905, and it’s a radio call to remember.   Incredibly Bo’s Wolverines actually trailed with just over a minute to go in the first half before taking the lead. 

In a span just over 5 minutes in the third quarter sophomore QB Ricky Leach accounted for four touchdowns, two on the ground and two in the air, and shortly thereafter Ufer nearly keeled over with excitement as he tended to do.  Based on the WTKA promos, after the 70th point Ufer likens the feat to "rolling into Berlin"!

1976 Leach Bo Stobartphoto credit: sorry not sure, from the Steve Sapardanis archives 

A few props are in order here.  First, Ira and crew at WTKA for continuing this tradition.  Next, my pal and M history buff Steve Sapardanis of Guts ‘n Glue for recommending they reair this game.  Finally, audio and video archivist Art Vuolo, Jr.,  [see his website Vuolo Video] for providing the audio of the Ufer call.

Note that this season was the 50th anniversary of the Navy-Michigan game held in Baltimore in 1926 which was covered in this episode of This Week in Michigan Football History a couple weeks back.  Yost was in his final season and he & the boys visited President Calvin Coolidge, the tomb of the Unknown Solider and battled Navy in Charm City.

You can bid on the auction of the 1976 program here, seller asking $14.99 or best offer.

* Where Ufer Laid Woody Hayes Away
* 1976 Orange Bowl Stub
* 1976 NCAA Finals Ticket Stub
* Another Rose Bowl ring auctioned


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25. September 2010 · Comments Off on Iron Skillet Lore · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

I think you know plenty about the Little Brown Jug, but if you need a refresher course head this way.   A few tidbits from recent days:

  • SMU and TCU battled for one of the college football traveling trophies last night, with Texas Christian taking home the hardware aluminum.  Check out the origins and inspiration of this tradition:

Ever wonder why SMU and TCU play for an iron skillet? The SMU sports information department has enlightened us:

According to a Nov. 30, 1946, article in The Dallas Morning News, the "Battle of the Iron Skillet" was started to prevent "mutilation of school property" by rowdy fans. The previous year, more than $1,000 in damage had been done to both campuses.

"The SMU student council proposed the skillet as a symbol of the rivalry and substitute for vandalism," says SMU Archivist Joan Gosnell.

Gosnell says minutes from fall 1946 student council meetings provide more clues. On Oct. 1, the agenda includes: "Further set up idea of Little Brown Jug Trophy," referring to the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry. On November 12, the committee arranging an SMU-TCU banquet and trophy "was reminded of their job."

And on Nov. 19, a student reported that he had purchased the trophy — "an aluminum skillet." A motion was made that SMU and TCU would share the expense of the trophy.



Do you have any truly unique pieces of Michigan football history or did you spot a cool item in an auction or elsewhere?  Let me know – I’d love to hear about it.

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