Today’s blog celebrates the life of Hercules Renda who was born on this date in 1917. The roster for the 1939 Wolverine football team shows that Renda was born in Jochin, West Virginia. Hercules attended East Bank High School where, despite his diminutive stature (5’ 4” and 163 pounds), he became an outstanding football player.
(Note – Hercules Renda (#85) is seated on the left of the front row of the above photo. He is just in front of Coach Fritz Crisler. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Attention readers! Now that the season is underway, I am starting a new section to my daily blog. The second section of each post (Part II.) will now reflect on a Michigan victory from years gone by. Today marks the anniversary of Michigan’s first ever win on September 5th. Check out the details in Part II.)
Hercules Renda came to Ann Arbor via West Virginia because he was recruited by two Michigan alumni who happened to live in that beautiful state. I believe he had one of the greatest names in the history of Michigan Football. Let’s take a closeer look at what Renda achieved while he played for the Wolverines.
Renda starred on the Michigan Freshman team in 1936 and moved up to play on Harry Kipke’s last team in 1937. Renda started three games at right halfback on Kipke’s final team that won 4 games and lost 4 games. He played the last two years of his career under Fritz Crisler. The 1938 team was the first team to wear the famed winged helmet that Crisler created for Michigan. Crisler’s inaugural team finished with a record of 6 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie and shared second place in the conference standings at the end of the season. Renda did not start any games that season because a guy named Harmon was playing pretty well as a Sophomore.
Hercules Renda started one game during the 1939 season, but saw his fair share of playing time at left halfback. His team finished with another fine record (6-2-0) although they dropped to fourth place in the conference standings.
After graduation, Renda worked for Fritz Crisler as an assistant coach for the 1940 and 1941 seasons. He went on to coach football and other sports in Flint, Michigan and Pontiac, Michigan. His outstanding work with young people earned him a place in the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame! Hercules Renda died on October 12, 2005 at the age of eighty-eight. Rest in Peace Wolverine! Thanks for the memories.
For more information on this outstanding Wolverine player and Michigan Man check out the following links:
The University of Michigan Wolverines have only played two games on September 5th in their long and successful history. The first one in 1998 was a 20-36 loss at South Bend. The good news is that Michigan defeated the WMU Broncos in the second game ever played on this date. This game was played in Michigan Stadium and the Wolverines prevailed by a score of 31-7. It was the season opener for the second year of the Rich Rodriguez Era at Michigan. Quarterback Tate Forcier completed 13 of 20 passes for over 200 yards and three touchdown passes. Carlos Brown led the Wolverines with 54-yards rushing on 10 carries. The good news was that the Wolverines won the next three games before finishing with a final record of 5 wins and 7 losses – ugh!
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