The purpose of today’s blog is to wish a very happy birthday to a Michigan Man named Ron Simpkins. The tough and talented Ronald Bernard “Ron” Simpkins was born on this date in Detroit, Michigan. Ron Simpkins was an outstanding athlete at Western High School in Detroit. He was good enough to get a scholarship offer from Bo Schembechler and he was smart enough to take it!
Simpkins enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 1976 and started playing, a lot, right away. He didn’t start any games in 1976, but he played good enough, and often enough, to record 20 tackles and earn a letter. His first Michigan won 10 of 12 games and tied for the Big Ten Co-Championship with a record of 7-1-0.
Ron Simpkins came back stronger and ready to play in 1977. He started eleven games at inside linebacker and became the first man in Michigan football history to record over 170 tackles in one season. He also won the John Maulbetsch Award for his outstanding work in Spring Football practice. So, season two for Ron Simpkins was very good. It was also very good for the Wolverines. For the second straight year, they finished with a final record of 10-2-0 and won another conference co-championship with a record of, you guessed it, 7-1-0.
By 1978, Junior Ron Simpkins was one of the leaders on Bo’s defense. He continued to play at a very high level and led the team in tackles for the second straight year with 144. His stellar play earned him first team All-Conference recognition at the end of the season. Michigan, for the third straight season, supplicated their accomplishments of the previous two years. They ended the season with 10 wins and 2 losses and finished in a first-place tie with a record of 7-1-0. Amazing!
Ron Simpkins received one of the highest honors a Michigan Football player can earn – his teammates named him co-captain (along with John Arbeznik) for the 1979 season. Michigan was picked to win at least a share of the conference title that year, but it didn’t work out that way. The Wovlerines ended the season with a final record of 8-4-0. Their conference record of 6-2-0 was only good enough for third place in the Big Ten. Ron Simpkins did everything he could to win that season, but it wasn’t enough. His teammates knew that he gave his all for Michigan and named him the Most Valuable Player for the 1979 football team. Simpkins also earned first team All-American honors and first team All-Conference honors in his senior season.
In addition to playing on some great Michigan teams, Ron Simpkins is also associated with some Michigan Football “firsts.” Here are the best ones that I could find:
Today is a good day to remember the outstanding Michigan career of Ron Simpkins. He was a four-year letterman who started thirty-four games at inside linebacker for the Maize and Blue. He was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree and he was a consensus All-American in 1979. Kurt was a member of three Big Ten Championship teams. Of course, he was a Michigan co-captain which speaks to the talent, character and demonstrated leadership ability of Ron Simpkins.
Thanks to Ron Simpkins for his outstanding contributions to Michigan football. I hope he has a very Maize and Blue Happy Birthday today! Go Blue!
To read more about Ron’s professional career and other life accomplishments go to the links below: