05. November 2010 · Comments Off on This Week in Michigan Football History: Shame and Scandal in the Family – November 6, 1937 · Categories: Archive 2010

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 Illini.

This week is a darker episode as we look back at the end of Harry Kipke’s coaching career in 1937 as he squared off against the Maroons of the University of Chicago.

You can check out more on Kipke’s firing including his ties to henchman Harry Bennett here. An excerpt:

Those “Private Associates”. This was aimed squarely at Kipke’s pal Mr. Harry Bennett, henchman/head of security at Ford.  Henry Ford sent his problems to Bennett and they disappeared.  Or were buried up north.  Think Joe Pesci in Casino, or perhaps Winston Wolf from Pulp Fiction…in fact Bennett looks quite a bit like Mr. Wolf and Pesci, no?:

harry_bennett_wolf Bennett on the left, with mucho resemblance to the Wolf and Pesci

Search and you’ll find anecdotes about Bennett on the web, a favorite of mine:

When a Detroit child was kidnapped, Ford, who had a great love for all children, told Bennett to get the child back.  Before he could do anything, the father paid a $20,000 ransom and the child was returned. Some hoodlum acquaintances of Bennett got the money back by torturing the kidnaper.  The kidnaper went to Bennett’s home, shot him in the side and fled.  Bennett asked the police not to prosecute. But, he adds offhandedly: “The gunman was later shot and killed on a Detroit street—in some gang feud, I suppose.”

For the many rumored and not-so rumored shenanigans and thuggery led by Bennett, who lived in Ann Arbor in his “castle” along with his pet lions, it was known that he often hired football players to help carry out his dirty work and he was buds with Kipke.  Naturally the faculty and administration on campus turned their noses at such people.

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.

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