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[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:

image

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.

 

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

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13. November 2010 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: Messner Doesn’t Let it Happen Again (1988) · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , , ,

mandarich_messner

A quick edition of eBay Watch featuring this excellent postgame photo taken by the Freep in the moments after Michigan’s 17-3 win over Michigan State.   The photog captured a great shot the aftermath of the game within the game, the battle between Spartan behemoth Tony Mandarich and Wolverine All-American Mark Messner.

From my August 2009 interview, this game was perhaps the favorite of Messner’s and he talked about their battle:

Is there a particular game that you look back on with great memories?

Messner: The Michigan State game my senior year is one that sticks out, because there was so much hype about Mandarich. There was talk about ‘the game within the game’, with Lombardi and Outland trophy candidates going at it and all that. He was such a physical specimen and I vowed that I would not let myself get embarrassed by someone who could overwhelm me physically. I could not let that person get me because if I did, the media coverage would be all over it.

He did get me once and that’s when I realized that there was something strange going on with this man, because no man should ever do that.  It was my junior year.  We were watching film getting ready for Michigan State and I was like, “Look at this thing! He’s destroying people.” In that game I got out of position and he got underneath me. He picked me up off my feet and ran with me for fifteen yards with my feet just dangling. He threw me like a rag doll into the Michigan State bench.

No matter what, there was no way I was going to let that happen again. And I never did. In my senior year I would not let that guy catch me. Bo used to say he’d never seen somebody out-run, out-think, out-maneuver someone when they shouldn’t have.  It was purely motivated out of not getting embarrassed [laughs].

You can Buy it Now for $13.88 plus shipping.

Here’s Messner earlier this season before the Michigan State game with his sons (I wish they all suited up for that one):