The main purpose of today’s post is to remember the Happy Birthday Anniversary of a Michigan Man named Howard J. Auer. However, before we learn more about Mr. Auer, we will answer yesterday’s trivia question and pose the question for today. Here we go!
Who was the first man to play the linebacker position in college football history?
Adolph “Germany” Schulz played for Fielding Yost and Michigan from 1904 to 1908. He is credited with inventing the linebacker position in 1905. At 6 feet 2inches and 215 pounds, Schulz was a very big man. Even more amazing was the fact heat he could really move*. He decided that he could be more effective on defense if he ‘backed up” line by playing about five yards off the line of scrimmage. He actually surprised his legendary coach, Fielding Yost, when he “experimented” with this new approach in an actual game – without telling Yost in advance. Of course, Schulz’s new approach to playing defense worked, so, Coach Yost liked the idea.
Schulz went on to earn All-American honors in 1907. He also captained the 1908 Michigan Football team. Adolph Schulz is also credited with “inventing” the spiral snap. He was inducted into the inaugural class of the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Yes, he is one of the best of his generation and a true Michigan Football legend.
*Note: Other articles have listed Schulz as about 6 feet 5 inches and 285 pounds. So, he was a mountain of a man in an era when very few men weighed in at over 200 pounds.
Who scored the winning point in Michigan’s dramatic win over Chicago in the championship victory in 1898?
Today’s post is an opportunity to celebrate a Happy Birthday Anniversary for a Michigan Wolverine named Howard J. Auer. Howard Joseph “Howie” Auer was born on this date in 1908 in Detroit, Michigan. He came to Ann Arbor in 1928 to play football for Coach Tad Wieman. Like a good freshman in the 1920s, Howie spent his first year on the freshman team. When Auer was ready to play for Michigan’s varsity, Coach Wieman was gone.
Sophomore Howard J. Auer impressed new Coach Harry Kipke enough to start seven of nine games at tackle during the 1929 season. Michigan finished with a record of 5 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie. Unfortunately, they went 1-3-1 in the conference with was only good for an eighth-place tie. Howie Auer earned his first varsity letter in 1929, so, he was probably happy about that!
Howie Auer had some injuries in 1930 that limited his playing time. He still started four games (3 at left tackle and 1 at right tackle) for the undefeated Wolverines. Michigan finished the 1930 season with a record of 8 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie. Kipke’s footballers also won the conference title with a perfect record of 5-0-0. Howie Auer earned his second letter in 1930.
Harry Kipke’s Wolverines were favored to win the conference title in 1931 and that’s exactly what they did! Kipke had plenty of returning stars, including Howie Auer. Michigan posted a record of 8 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. They tied for the conference title with a record of 5-1-0. Howard J. Auer continued to be a strong lineman. He started eight of nine games and earned his third varsity letter. The talented Auer also earned second-team All-Big Ten player honors form the United Press.
So, today is a great day to remember a tough, talented Michigan Wolverine named Howard J. Auer. He earned three varsity letters and contributed to two Big Ten Championship teams. Michigan posted a record of 21 wins, 4 losses and 3 ties with Howie Auer on the varsity roster. He was a “Michigan Man” in every sense of the word. Let’s remember him on the one-hundredth-ninth anniversary of his birth. Howard J. Auer died in 1985 at the age of 77. May he continue to rest in peace. Go Blue.