Today is a great day to remember a Michigan Legend named Adolph Germany Schulz on his birthday anniversary. According to the Wikipedia link shown below, Adolph “Germany” Schultz was born on this day in 1883 at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Germany Schultz grew up in Indiana, but he chose to become a Michigan Man when he arrived on campus in 1904. Germany Schulz was a giant of a man, especially for his time. He was listed at 75 to 77 inches tall and weighed in at about 230 pounds. However, he was also athletic and agile for his size. He was definitely a man that Fielding Yost wanted on his football team!
Germany Schulz started five of Michigan’s ten games at center in 1904. He helped the Wolverines post a perfect record of 10-0-0. Michigan won the National Championship (4th straight) along with another Big Nine Conference championship. Germany’s Michigan football career was off to a very good start.
Schulz’s second year was similar to his first. He started nine games at center and helped the Maize and Blue footballers win twelve of thirteen games. Unfortunately, they lost the last game of the 1905 season to Chicago by a score of 2-0. After five years, a Fielding Yost team finally lost a game. Yost’s record from 1901 to 1905 was an incredible 55 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie! Amazing, simply amazing.
Germany Schulz had an easier time on the football field compared to the hours he spent in the classroom. Schulz was enrolled in Michigan’s engineering program and it was challenging for him. According to some reports, Schulz did not play for the Wolverines because he wasn’t academically eligible. Other reports claim he didn’t have the money. Regardless of the real reason, Germany Schulz did not play a down of football for Michigan in 1906.
The good news was that Germany returned to Ann Arbor in 1907. He started six more games at center and helped lead the Wolverines to a record of five wins in six games. Michigan was no longer playing in the Big Nine Conference because of differences in eligibility rules and other issues. It was hoped that Michigan would return to the conference in 1908, but that did not happen because of Schulz.
After the end of the 1907 season, Germany Schulz was elected captain for the 1908 Michigan football team. However, according to new conference rules, players could only have three years of eligibility. Yost argued that his future captain should be allowed to play a fourth year because the new rules were instituted after he already started his college career. When the conference would not budge on their position, Yost chose in favor of his captain, not the Western Conference. Michigan remained out of the conference until 1917.
Captain Adolph Schulz got a late start on the 1908 season because of some academic issues. He actually missed Michigan’s first three games until he regained his eligibility. He returned in time to lead the Wolverines to a record of 5 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie.
Germany Schulz ended his career as one of the most important players in Michigan Football history. He helped Yost’s Wolverines post an overall record of 32 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie in the “Schulz Years.” He earned four varsity letters as well as a National Championship and a Western Conference Championship. More importantly, he is credited with inventing the “spiral snap.
However, Schulz’s greatest contribution to Michigan football and college football in general was his in-game decision to play off the line on defense. His “move” caused Coach Yost to call him off the field to see what he was doing. Schulz told his coach that he could be a better player by playing “up and off the line” the massive Schulz was able to cover most of the field and stop opposing runners in their tracks. Yost couldn’t argue with his “German Giant.” Instead, Coach Yost turned him loose on opposing teams and watched in delight as Schulz tackled ball carries all over the field! He was the prototype athlete for the “roving center” position that is the “linebacker” of modern football. Adolph Germany Schulz was an impressive football player!
According to the Wikipedia Article linked below, Adolph Germany Schulz was named the “greatest center in college football history in 1951 by the College Football Foundation. He was inducted into the first class of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951.
Sadly, Adolph Germany Schulz left his family, friends and Michigan teammates on April 14, 1951 at the age of sixty-seven. So, on the one hundred-thirty-sixth anniversary of his birth, let us remember Adolph “Germany” Schulz. He played on some of Michigan’s greatest teams and made significant contributions to the great history that is Michigan Wolverine Football. May Adolph Germany Schulz always rest in peace. Go Blue!
The legendary Fielding H. Yost was employed at the University of Michigan from 1901 until 1941. Yost coached the Michigan football coach from 1901 to 1923. After a one-year hiatus as Michigan’s full-time athletic director in 1924, he continued to coach for two more seasons (1925 and 1926).
After the 1926 season, Mr. Yost retired from coaching. He had a stadium to build and that kept him very busy. Once Michigan Stadium was dedicated, filling the enormous stadium became a full-time job for Mr. Yost. Of course, he did more than worry about filling his “hole in the ground.”
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