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August 5, 2020 Happy Birthday Anniversary Art Valpey

Posted on August 4, 2020 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a perfect day to remember the Happy Birthday Anniversary of Michigan Man Art Valpey. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Arthur L. “Art” Valpey was born on this date in 1915. Art Valpey grew up in Dayton, Ohio where he became an all-state football player in high school. He is another Buckeye who saw the light and came to Michigan to continue his education and his football.

(Note – Art Valpey (#11) is pictured above with the 1937 Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is standing in the fourth row – third man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Art Valpey

A Part-Time Starter and Letterman in 1934 and 1935

Art Valpey’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1934. Even though he was a star running back in high school, Freshman Coach Wally Weber thought he would be better at the end position. So, Art Valpey was “destined” to play end at Michigan.

Apparently, young Valpey learned his lessons well in 1934. He made Harry Kipke’s varsity football team and started two games at right end. The good news for Art was that he earned his first letter in 1935. The bad news for Valpey was that Kipke’s Wolverines finished the season with a record of 4 wins and 4 losses. The Maize and Blue footballers finished in a tie for fifth place in the Big Ten with a record of 2-3-0.  

Art Valpey Michigan Football 1937 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Art Valpey lettered on Harry Kipke’s last three teams from 1935 to 1937. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

A Disappointing Senior Season for Valpey and The Wolverines in 1936

Art came back to play some more Michigan Football in 1936. I am sure that he was hoping to play more and that Michigan would play better. As it turned out, the 1936 season was a lot like the 1935 season for Art Valpey. He started two games at right end and earned his second letter. Unfortunately, Michigan slipped badly and finished the season with a final record of 1 win and 7 losses. Even worse, Michigan lost all five conference games (0-5-0) and ended the Big Ten season in a tie for eighth place. It was ugly!

Art Valpey’s senior year was pretty much the same as his first two years at Michigan. He started one game and played a lot of football. Valpey earned his third varsity letter in 1937. Fortunately, the Wolverines did post a better record in 1937. Kipke’s footballers won 4 games and lost 4 games. They also broke even in the conference with a record of 3-3-0. Michigan finished in a tie for fourth place in 1937. Of course, this was not a terrible record for most teams, but it wasn’t good enough for Michigan. Harry Kipke was fired after the season was over and a guy named Fritz Crisler was named as his replacement.  

Kipke’s Last Three Years Were Nothing to Write Home About

Yes, Art Valpey played a lot of  football for Michigan from 1935 to 1937. It was not the greatest three-year run in Wolverine Football History, that’s for sure. The good news about Valpey’s playing career was that Michigan won 9 games during his playing days. However, the bad news was that the Wolverines lost 15 games from 1935 to 1937.  

So, on the one-hundred and third anniversary of his birth, let us remember Arthur L. Valpey. He epitomized the spirit of a true, blue Michigan Man. Art Valpey is a part of Michigan Football History. He went to coach for many years and finished his life’s work in business. Art Valpey died on March 12, 2007 at the age of ninety-one. May Art Valpey continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!



Part II. August 5, 2020 National Day Calendar Update 


  • Susan Taylor says:

    Thank you for that wonderful write up!
    Art Valpey was my maternal Grandfather!

    • Hi Susan,

      Glad you enjoyed my post on Grandpa Valpey! I really enjoy hearing from family members like you when I write about players of the “past.” I hope you keep reading and enjoying my other posts as well. I have a new book about Bo Schembechler coming out later this month. The title is” The Legend of Bo Schembechler – How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History.” Go Blue!

      Barry Gallagher

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