Today is a great day to remember the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Wolverine legend named Dave Brown. David Steven “Dave” Brown was born on this day in 1953. However, before we take a closer look at his stellar Michigan career, we will take care of yesterday and today’s trivia questions.
Who was the youngest Head Coach in Michigan Football History?
Gustave “Dutch” Ferbert played at Michigan from 1893 to 1896. According to the Bentley Historical Library, Michigan’s Student-Alumni Advisory Board (of which Ferbert was a student member) determined that only former students would coach the football team starting in 1897. The popular Ferbert was elected by this body to replace William Ward who had coached the team to a record of 9-1-0 in 1896. The rest as they say is history, albeit a short history. (See link below.)
So, twenty-four year old Gus Ferbert became the head football coach of the University of Michigan Football team in the fall of 1897. After three successful seasons, Ferbert left Michigan after the 1899 season to discover gold in Alaska. Legend has it that his nine-year adventure in Alaska paid off for Dutch. You can read more about Gustave Ferbert in the articles linked below.
Here is a summary of his outstanding coaching achievements at Michigan:
So, Gustave Ferbert was the youongest head coach in Michigan Football history, and, arguably, one of the best! He left a great legacy as a player and a coach that others have tried to emulate for one hundred and seventeen years! Sadly, Gustave Ferbert died on January 15, 1943 at age sixty-nine. May Gustave Ferbert continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!
Who is the only player in Michigan Football History to have a memorial column dedicated in his name at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois?
Dave Brown was born in Akron, Ohio, but he fulfilled his college football destiny as a Michigan Wolverine. Yes, he came to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play football for Bo Schembechler and man, did he ever play!
Sophomore Dave Brown earned a spot in Michigan’s defensive backfield and started thirty-four straight games from 1972 to 1974. He played strong safety in 1972 and earned All-Conference honors. Brown finished career as a safety where he became a two-time All-American in 1973 and 1974. The 1974 Michigan Football Media guide states that Dave Brown was the “premier defensive back in the league, if not in the country.” Yes, he was really, really good.
Dave Brown also returned punts during his career and did it at a very high level. He is the only man in Michigan Football history to record two eighty-yard punt returns for touchdown (88 yards and 83-yards). Brown is fourth on the all-time list with 3 career punt returns for touchdown. He also returned an interception for 68-yards which makes him one of a very few men to have a “pick-six” and at least one punt return for a touchdown.
The uber-talented Brown helped Michigan post an incredible record of 30 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie during his playing years. Yes, this was the time when the Wolverines did not qualify for a bowl game because of the Big Ten’s stupid rules and Wayne Duke’s decision to let the athletic directors “vote” for the Big Ten representative in the 1974 Rose Bowl.
Dave Brown left Michigan with his head held high. In addition to helping the Wolverines win a ton of games, he also played on three Big Ten Co-Champions from 1972 to 1974. Brown was also the first player of the Schembechler Era to earn three All-Conference Awards. He was also Bo’s first two-time All-American selection. Dave Brown won the Frederick Matthaei Award in 1973 for his outstanding work in the classroom and on the football field. Oh yes, he also won three varsity letters and served as Co-Captain of the 1974 Michigan Football team along with Dennis Franklin.
Not too many Michigan Wolverines had a better career than David Steven Brown. After he graduated, Dave Brown continued to excel in the National Football League. He earned All-Pro honors and a Super Bowl ring during his 15-year NFL career.
Dave Brown was enjoying a successful college coaching career when he died of a heart attack on January 19, 2006. May Dave Brown continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!
Welcome to the 500th post on the Michigan Football History and Trivia Blog. Thanks to all of you who follow this site. Like you, we are passionate about Michigan Football History and love telling the story of the winningest program in college football history.
Just a reminder, this site is totally, one-hundred percent, dedicated to the history of Michigan Football. That’s all we talk about here. In fact, we don’t even talk about recruiting or all of the hype that comes before every game. All we talk about is what happened – that’s it!
We look forward to writing the next five-hundred articles about all the great players and coaches who built the winningest program in college football history. Even though we fell a little short this year, Noooooooooooobody has it better than us, Noooooooooooobody!