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February 1, 2017 Rest in Peace Otto Pommerening

Posted on February 1, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the memory of Otto Pommerening who went to rest in peace on this day in 1992.* Otto Pommerening was born on January 26, 1904. He grew up in Ann Arbor so Otto probably wanted to be a Michigan Wolverine for a very, very long time.  

Otto Pommerening 1928 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Otto Pommerening played on the first team to play in Michigan Stadium in 1927. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Otto Pommerening’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1926. He started one game for Fielding Yost in 1926. In hindsight, this was a mistake since those were the days where players only had three years of eligibility. However, no one was going to say “No” to Coach Yost so that’s how Otto “burned” his first year of eligibility at Michigan. The good news out of all of this was that Otto played on Coach Yost’s last team. The 1926 Michigan Wolverines sent Yost into retirement with an overall record of 7 wins and 1 loss and his final conference championship.

Otto Pommerening | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Otto  started sixteen games at Michigan. He finished his career as an All-American and a team MVP in 1928. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Maybe it’s a good thing that Otto played a little for Fielding Yost because he retired at the end of the 1926 season. Tad Wieman was selected to fill the vary big shoes of the Michigan legend. Otto started six games at tackle and one game at guard in 1927. Year one of the Wieman Era was a success.  Michigan finished the season with an overall record of 6 wins and 2 losses. Unfortunately, the Wolverines did not win a conference title in 1927. They finished in third place with a record of 3-2-0. Lot’s of work to be done in year two of the Wieman Era.

Otto Pommerening did everything he could to make 1928 a special football season. Although things worked out very well for Otto, the same could not be said for his team. Even worse, his coach Tad Wieman could not survive a season with only 3 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie. Wins were down in 1928, attendance was down in 1928 and WIeman was out after only two seasons.

The talented Pommerening was easily the best player on a team that struggled all year. Otto started all eight games (7 at left tackle and 1 at left end) in 1928. He starred on both sides of the ball and made a name for himself throughout the conference. According to Wikipedia,  Otto was the first player in Michigan and Big Ten history to play every minute of every game in a college football season. Wow – he truly defined what it meant to be an “Iron Man!” Otto’s stellar play earned him All-Conference and All-American honors in 1928. He also won the MVP award as well.

Of course, we are continuing with our “Michigan football firsts” for February 2017(There were 187 in January 2017). Here are some “firsts” that connect Otto Pommerening to Michigan football.

·         Otto played on the first team of the Tad Wieman Era (1927), and, unfortunately the last in 1928.

·         Pommerening played in the first game in Michigan Stadium on October 1, 1927.

·         Otto Pommerening played in the first three games with crowds over 80,000 people in 1927.

·         “Iron Man” Otto Pommerening was the first Michigan/Big Ten player to play every minute of every game for an entire season in 1928 – wow!

·         The multi-talented Pommerening is believed to be the first Michigan football player to act in a Hollywood movie in 1930.

Bottom line – Otto Pommerening was an outstanding player at Michigan. He left Ann Arbor with two varsity letters, one conference championship and many other honors and accolades. Today is a great day to remember this amazing “Michigan Man” and appreciate his contributions to Michigan football. May Otto Pommerening always rest in peace. Go Blue!

*Note – There are two different dates on the internet about the day that Otto Pommerening died. One is today (February 1, 1992) and the other is March 1, 1992. I went with today because it showed up more times on more different sites. If anyone can validate the March date, I will be happy to post the change!

Happy February! I hope you enjoyed Michigan’s “second annual “Signing of the Stars” event this afternoon. Lots of talented youngsters coming to make their mark for the Maize and Blue!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto Pommerening

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928_Michigan_Wolverines_football_team

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