John Kolesar arrived in Ann Arbor in 1985. I am certain that Kolesar impressed Bo Schembechler with his speed and pass catching ability. Although, he was recruited as a tailback, he found his way into the starting lineup as a flanker. John started ten games as a freshman. Kolesar caught 12 passes in 1985 for 336-yards and 3 touchdowns. Michigan posted a record of 10-1-1 that season and finished second in the nation and in the Big Ten. It was a good season for Michigan and for John Kolesar.
Kolesar’s biggest reception of the season (and longest of his career) was the game-clincher against Ohio State. Yes, you remember that 77-yard beauty that Jim Harbaugh laid out there for Kolesar to sprint under. The speedy Kolesar caught the ball and raced into the end zone, untouched, to secure a BIG win over the Buckeyes. Actually, I was at that game. I was seated in the corner of the east end zone, so it was great to see Harbaugh and Kolesar connect on that play. Of course, Jim Harbaugh never saw the play happen because he got drilled by a blitzing OSU safety, but he heard the roar of the crowd. It was one of the most exciting plays I have ever seen at the Big House! Thanks to the Wolverine Historian for the video below.
In 1986, Kolesar came back ready to do more for the Wolverines. John started 8 more games at flanker in his second season. He caught 15 balls for 402-yards and 2 more touchdowns. He also saw a lot of action as a kickoff and punt returner that season. Michigan improved on their won-lost record in 1986 with 11 wins and 2 losses. The Wolverines posted a record of 7-1-0 in the conference and won a share of the Big Ten Championship.
The 1987 season was another successful season for John Kolesar. He started in 7 more games, caught 16 more passes for 331-yards and 4 touchdowns. He continued to make big plays for Michigan. However, the Wolverines slipped to an overall record of 8-4-0 in 1987. They went 5-3-0 in the conference which dropped them to a fourth-place finish.
John Kolesar finished his Michigan football career STRONG in 1988. He had a career best 18-receptions for 356-yards and scored 3 more touchdowns. He helped his Maize and Blue teammates win 9 games lose 2 and tie 1 in 1988. The Wolverines posted a record of 7-0-1 which gave them another Big Ten Championship.
Michigan Man John Kolesar ended his Michigan career with his head held high. He finished his playing days with 61-catches for 1,425 yards and 12 touchdowns. John averaged 23.4 yards per reception which is over four yards more than Anthony Carter averaged during his time at Michigan (19.1). He earned All-Big Ten honors in 1988. John’s great love for Michigan was recognized when he was awarded the Robert P. Ufer Award in 1988.
So, today is a good day to remember the accomplishments of Michigan Man John Kolesar. His name is still in the record book and the highlight video linked below is fun to watch. John Kolesar is one more reason that Michigan Football is the winningest program in college football. Happy Birthday Michigan Man John Kolesar and Go Blue!
For more information about Michigan Man John Kolesar, check out the links below.
What season marked Michigan’s departure from the Western Conference?
After joining the Western Conference as a charter member in 1896, Michigan became the first school to depart the organization. Fielding Yost was tired of haggling with conference officials over games, eligibility rules, ticket prices and training table issues. He recommended to the athletic board that Michigan’s interests would be better served as an independent. So, that’s what happened.
Team Number 28, after winning the conference championship in 1906, was officially out of the Western Conference for the 1907 season. As it turned out, the Wolverines stayed “independent” for ten full seasons. They were welcomed back with open arms and played a limited conference schedule in 1917.
When was the first season that Michigan’s players wore numbers on the front and back of their jerseys?