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April 17, 2019 Happy Birthday Anniversary Miller Pontius

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Michigan Wolverine named Miller Pontius. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Miller Hall Pontius was born on this date in 1891 in Circleville, Ohio. He was an excellent athlete (football and baseball) who came to Ann Arbor to play for Fielding Yost starting in 1910.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Miller Pontius

According to the Bentley Historical Library Team Roster files, Miller Pontius first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1910. He was listed as a reserve with no designated position. Pontius was also listed on the 1911 roster, but was now listed as an “End” who weighed in at 190 pounds. Miller started two games at right end in 1911 on a team that finished with a final record of 5-1-2.

Miller Pontius Michigan All-American 1913 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Miller Pontius became the first “tackle” in Michigan Football History to earn first team All-American honors in 1913. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Medical Issues Slow Pontius in 1912

Miller Pontius gained a nickname at Michigan.  He was called the “Brute.” He looked forward to playing some outstanding football for Yost in 1912. Unfortunately, he was struck with Typhoid Fever in the summer of 1912. Needless to say, he did not start the 1912 season in very good health, or very good condition. However, while playing at less than 100 percent, he proved to be one of Yost’s most versatile players. Pontius started 3 games at left end, 2 games at right end and 2 games at right tackle in 1912. He earned All-Western honors in 1912 for his courageous play. Michigan posted a record of 5 wins and 2 losses in 1912.

Pontius Earned All-American Honors in 1913

A healthy Miller H. Pontius came back in 1913 to have his best season. Yost decided he needed a “brutish” tackle so Pontius took on the challenge. He started six games at right tackle in 1913 and played well enough to earn All-American honors. Michigan finished the season with a record of 6 wins and 1 loss in 1913.

Miller Pontius and Some Michigan Football “Firsts”

Miller Pontius is connected to a few “firsts” associated with Michigan Football. Here they are:

  • Miller Pontius played in the first game ever against South Dakota in 1912. Michigan won a close one 7-6.
  • Pontius also played in the first game in Michigan Football History against Mount Union in 1914. The Wolverines won that game by a score of 27-7.
  • Miller Pontius is the first “tackle” in Michigan football history to be named All-American in 1913.

So, today is a good time to celebrate the memory of another Michigan Man who contributed to the long and rich history that is Michigan football. Miller Pontius, and his teammates, on the 1911, 1912, and 1913 teams contributed sixteen victories to the winningest team in college football history (934 and counting). Miller Pontius, who also lettered in baseball at Michigan, had a very successful life and died on November 5, 1960 at sixty-nine years of age. May Miller Hall Pontius always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!



Part II. April 17, 2019 National Day Calendar Update

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