Attention Wolverine fans – today is the day to remember the happy birthday anniversary of Michigan Man Wally Weber. Walter J. “Wally” Weber was born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan on this day in 1903. Weber graduated from Mt. Clemens High School and headed to Ann Arbor to continue his studies and his football career.
Wally Weber’s name first appeared on a Michigan Football Roster in 1924. He was listed as a “Reserve” Back. Weber did his best to learn the Yost Football System in his first year at Michigan. He must have learned his lessons well since he was able to earn two letters from Fielding Yost in 1925 and 1926. As I have often stated, this was not easy to do.
Wally Weber started one game at right halfback in 1925 and three at fullback in 1926. He was good enough to play a lot of football on Yost’s last two football teams. The Wolverines went 14-2-0 for the “Old Man” and won the conference championship both years.
(Note – Wally Weber is shown above with the 1926 Big Ten Champion Michigan Football Team. Weber is in the third – third man from the right. The Wolverines won their second straight Big Ten Championship in what was the last season for Coach Fielding Yost. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.
Interestingly, Wally Weber played on the last two teams that Yost coached and he also played during the last two seasons of football at Ferry Field.
Wally Weber is also connected to some interesting “football firsts” at Michigan. Check these out!
· Wally Weber played in the first and only game in Michigan football history where the Wolverines lost by a score of 2-3 (vs Northwestern) in 1925.
· The Northwestern game of 1925 was Michigan’s first, and only, game at Soldier Field. (Actually, it was more like a swamp that day as the playing surface was a muddy mess. Michigan didn’t do anything on offense except fumble and make a lot of mistakes.)
· Wally Weber played in front of the first crowd of 48,000 people in Ferry Field on October 16, 1926. (Note – this was 3,000 more than the listed capacity of Ferry Field. Yes, it was time for a bigger stadium at Michigan!)
· Weber became part of Michigan Football history when he played in two games against the same Big Ten team in one season. The Wolverines beat Minnesota in Minneapolis by a score of 13-0 in October and ended the season with a narrow victory (7-6) in Ann Arbor to win the Brown Jug twice in the same season. Never happened before and will never happen again!
So, Wally Weber was a two-year letterman at Michigan. He gave everything he had to his coaches and his teammates. He became a highly successful high school football coach in Benton Harbor, Michigan from 1927-1930. In 1931, Harry Kipke made Weber an offer that he could not refuse. Walter J. Weber headed back to Ann Arbor to become an assistant football coach.
Once he returned to Ann Arbor, Wally Weber never left! He worked as an assistant coach for 28 years and served under Harry Kipke, Fritz Crisler, and his teammate and friend, Bennie Oosterbaan. After he retired from coaching in 1958, he stayed on at Michigan as a public relations specialist who did a lot of recruiting for the Maize and Blue. Weber was a legend who loved Michigan more than anything.
Today is a great day to celebrate the memory of this dedicated Michigan Man. During his lifetime, Wally Weber made significant contributions to Michigan as a player, coach and public relations man. He also added a lot of “color” to the radio broadcasts with Bob Ufer. Wow, those two men could call a football game!
Wally Weber left his left his family, friends and teammates on April 14, 1984 at the age of eighty-one. May Wally Weber always rest in peace. Go Blue!
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