Today is another great day to make a Happy Birthday wish to Michigan Man named Dieter Heren. According to the 1986 Michigan Football Media Guide, Dieter Heren was born on this day in Connecticut. However, his family moved and he attended Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Heren became an outstanding athlete in high school (football and track). Dieter was an All-Indiana football player at three different positions (defensive back, linebacker and tight-end). Bo must have liked his versatility since he offered Dieter a scholarship to play at Michigan in 1982.
(Note – Dieter Heren (#35) was a key member of the 1986 Michigan Wolverine Big Ten Championship football team. He is seated in the front row of this photograph – second man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Dieter Heren came to Ann Arbor in the summer of 1982. He did not see any game action that season and burned his red-shirt. Fortunately, Heren saw plenty of action on special teams in 1983 and played enough to earn his first varsity letter.
The 1984 Michigan football season started out great with an upset win over top-ranked Miami. Dieter made a season high 4 tackles in that game. He earned one start at strong safety and recorded a tackle in six games (12 solo and 4 assists). The good news is that Heren played well enough, and often enough, to letter for the second time. However, the bad news is that the Wolverines finished the season with a final record of 6 wins and 6 losses – the worst of the Schembechler Era.
The biggest room in the Michigan Football facilities was the room for improvement in 1985. Bo had a healthy squad that included a quarterback named Jim Harbaugh. Michigan started fast and finished strong. The Wolverines posted a final record of 10 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. They ended the season as the second ranked team in the country in both the AP and UPI polls.
Dieter Heren added some weight in 1985 and was up to 219 pounds. He started one game at outside linebacker. He made at least one tackle in nine games and posted 13 for the season. Dieter earned his third varsity letter, but there was still something missing. The Wolverines failed to win, or tie, for the Big Ten Championship for the third straight season. All the seniors and fifth year players knew what they had to do in 1986.
The dedicated Heren started 11 games in 1986 at outside linebacker. He recorded a career high 64 tackles and also broke up 5 passes, forced 1 fumble, recovered a loose ball and intercepted 1 pass. Dieter’s excellent play earned him the Dick Katcher Award for the 1986 season. More importantly, he helped the Wolverines win a share of the conference championship for the first time since 1982.
Dieter Heren finished his career as a four-year letterman and a Big Ten Champion. He helped Michigan win thirty-six games. Thanks to Dieter for his dedication and hard work. Dieter Heren is one more reason why Michigan Football is the winningest program in the history of college football. Happy Birthday Dieter and Go Blue!
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