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February 1, 2018 Rest in Peace Paul P. Magoffin

Posted on February 1, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

The purpose of today’s blog is to remember another Pigskin Pioneer named Paul P. Magoffin. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Paul Parker “Maggie” Magoffin died on this day in 1956. Before we learn about Magoffin’s Wolverine career, we will look at today’s “trivial matters.”

Part I. Trivia Question of the Day – January 31, 2018

Who was the first man to “captain” a Michigan Football team?

Part I. Trivia Question Answer for January 31, 2018 – David N. DeTar

David DeTar was studying to become a doctor at Michigan in 1878 when he joined what I call the “Pigskin Pioneers.” Racine College in Racine, Wisconsin had issued a challenge to Michigan’s Football Association in October of 1878, but Michigan didn’t really have an organized team at that point. The proposed contest between Racine and Michigan would be in Chicago.

The members of Michigan’s Football Association voted to accept Racine’s challenge on the condition that the game be played in the spring of 1879. This would allow the association sufficient time to organize and train a competitive team. DeTar played a key role in recruiting and training the candidates for Team #1. He also became the first man to captain a Michigan football team. Lots of details had to be worked out before the actual game was played, but it did happen on that historic day – May 30, 1879.

Dave DeTar Michigan Football 1879 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

David DeTar was the first man to captain a Michigan Football team. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michgian.

In May 1979, Captain David DeTar took his team to Chicago for Michigan’s first intercollegiate football game. The Chicago Daily Tribune called it the “first rugby-football game… west of the Alleghenies.” The Michigan “footballers” left Chicago with their first victory in their first intercollegiate game. Final score: Wolverines 1 and Purple Stockings 0. Scoring was a lot different in those days, but Captain DeTar made a successful place kick and Michigan had the point they needed for the win.

Captain David DeTar led his men to a tie in the second game of the season in November 1879. So, his Wolverines finished the first season in Michigan Football History with a final record of 1 win,  0 losses and 1 tie. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, today is a good day to honor the memory of a Michigan Man and appreciate his contributions to Michigan football. Dr. David DeTar was there for the start of Michigan’s long, and successful, football history. May Dr. David N. DeTar always rest in peace. Go Blue!

To read more about the 1879 football season check out the links below.



Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – February 1, 2018

What Michigan team was the first one to win eleven games in one season?

Part III. Wolverine of the Day – Paul P. Magoffin

Paul P. Magoffin came to Ann Arbor to play for Fielding Yost in 1904. Magoffin had played at Marietta College in Ohio for one season before he landed on Yost’s roster. The speedy Magoffin was a talented halfback who earned some playing time in 1904, but not a varsity letter.

Yost liked Magoffin enough to start him in 4 games in 1905. Michigan won 12 games and lost 1 in the final season of the “Point-a-Minute” years. The Wolverines outscored their opponents by a margin of 495 points to 2! Yes, Coach Yost’s Wolverines dominated college football from 1901 to 1905!

After playing 13 games in 1905, Michigan, because of pressure from the Western Conference, cut back the 1906 schedule to only 5 games. The Wolverines won 4 and lost 1 that season. Interestingly, the Wolverines finished with a perfect record of 1-0-0 in the Western Conference. It was the first, and only, time that Michigan ever won the conference championship with only one victory. Magoffin started all five games and played up to the expectations of his demanding coach. Paul Magoffin was honored by his teammates at the end of the 1906. He was selected as the captain for the 1907 season.

Captain Paul P. Magoffin started five more games in 1907 and helped lead Michigan to a final record of 5 wins, 1 loss and 0 ties. The Wolverines won their only game in conference play and claimed the championship. Yes, it was the first, and only, time that Michigan won a Western Conference Championship with only one victory.

Paul P. Magoffin Michigan Football Captain 1907 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Paul Magoffin lettered on 3 Fielding Yost teams from 1905 to 1907. He was the captain of the 1907 squad. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Paul Magoffin finished his Wolverine career with 14 starts and helped Michigan post and 3exceptional record of 21 wins, 3 losses and 0 ties during his three seasons as a full-time player. Paul graduated from Michigan and began a career in coaching. After he left coaching, he continued to officiate the game that he loved for over thirty years.

So, today is a perfect day to remember the contributions of another Michigan Man named Paul Magoffin. He is another good reason that the Wolverines are the winningest team in the history of college football. May Paul P. Magoffin continue to rest in peace. Go Blue!



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