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February 15, 2017 Rest in Peace Ted Kress

Posted on February 15, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the memory of Ted Kress who went to rest in peace on this day in 2003. Edward S. “Ted” Kress was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 26, 1931. He grew up in the city and became a pretty good football player.

Ted Kress left the Motor City to continue his education and his football career at The University of Michigan in the fall of 1949. Ted was listed on the 1949 Michigan Football Roster as a Freshman halfback. Freshmen were not eligible during this time so Kress learned Bennie Oosterbaan’s Single Wing Offense. Since he was an engineering student, Ted  also hit books too!

Kress was listed as a “Sophomore” on the football rosters for the 1950 and 1951 seasons. He was not credited with any starts during this time and was not pictured with the letter winners in the end of season team photograph. According to his career records, Kress did get into the 1951 Stanford game and threw one incomplete pass.

Ted Kress 1953 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Ted Kress was an excellent all-around player. He became the first man in Michigan Football history to rush for 218 yards against Northwestern in 1952. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Ted Kress worked his way onto the field and started nine games at left halfback in 1952. He played very well and led the team in rushing (623 yards), total offense (1,182 yards) and scoring (36 points on six touchdowns). Ted’s “career best” game occurred at Northwestern when he carried 20 times for 218 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 48-14 victory. It was, at the time, the highest single-game rushing in Michigan football history. Unfortunately, Ted’s excellent play was not enough. Michigan finished with a final record of 5 wins and 4 losses and finished in fourth place in the Big Ten.

Kress came back for his senior and started all nine games. His numbers dropped, just like Michigan’s offensive productivity. The 1952 team scored 207 points, but the 1953 group only put 163 points on the board. Interestingly, Michigan improved on their overall record in 1953 (6-3-0) despite their lack of offense because of an improved defense. Although his offensive productivity was down, his contributions on defense and special teams helped him earn All-Conference honors in 1953.

Ted Kress passed, rushed, caught passes, returned punts and kickoffs for Michigan. He did everything you could do on a football field except kick. Bottom line – Kress did all that Bennie and the coaches asked him to do. Here are some “football firsts” that connect Ted Kress to Michigan football:

  • Was a member of Bennie Oosterbaan’s first losing team at Michigan in 1951 when the Wolverines went 4-5-0.
  • Was the first Oosterbaan running back to gain over 200 yards in one game when he established a new single-game rushing record with 218 yards against Northwestern on October 18, 1952.
  • Was first in team scoring (36 points), rushing (523 yards), and total offense (1,182 yards) in 1952.

So, there you have it! Ted Kress finished his career as an accomplished Wolverine. According to the Wikipedia article below, he was good enough to get drafted in the NFL, but never played after suffering a concussion in practice. Kress went on to a successful business career in Illinois. Please take a moment to reflect on Ted’s contributions to the history of Michigan football. May Ted Kress always rest in peace. Go Blue!



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