Today’s post celebrates the memory of a famous Michigan Man named Kip Taylor who went to rest in peace on this day in 2002. He was ninety-four years of age when he died. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Laverne H. “Kip” Taylor was born in 1909 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kip Taylor grew up in Ann Arbor. Michigan where he became an outstanding athlete at Ann Arbor High School. He earned all-state honors in basketball and football. After graduating from high school, Kip decided to continue his education and his athletic career at The University of Michigan.
(Note-Kip Taylor is listed as a letter winner in 1927, but he is not pictured with the lettermen in the official 1927 team photo. I know he is in this pre-season photo that was taken at Ferry Field. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Kip Taylor’s name appears on the 1927 Michigan Football Roster. He is listed as jersey #31 who played end on the Michigan varsity. The roster also shows that he weighed 180 pounds. According to the Bentley Historical Library link below, Taylor started one game at right end in 1927. Kip Taylor became famous in Michigan Football History for one single play on October 1, 1927. It was the first game in Michigan Stadium history against Ohio Weslayan. The speedy Taylor caught a pass from Louis Gilbert and raced 28-yards into the end zone for the first touchdown in the history of Michigan Stadium. Michigan scored four more touchdowns that day, but none of them were as “famous” as Kip Taylor’s score. Michigan won the game by a final score of 33-0.
Kip Taylor’s career was off to a good start and so was the coaching career of Tad Wieman. Michigan’s newest coach led the Wolverines to victories over Weslayan and Michigan State. Then, Michigan traveled to Wisconsin to play game number three against the Badgers. The good news was that the Wolverines won the game by a score of 14-0. The bad news was that they lost Kip Taylor who was injured during the game. As it turned out, Taylor suffered a neck injury that ended his promising career. Michigan finished the season with a record of 6 wins and 2 losses. They earned third place in the Big Ten Conference with a record of 3 wins and 2 losses.
Taylor continued his education and graduated from Michigan with a degree in education in 1931. He still loved football and he decided to stay involved in the game through coaching. Kip Taylor worked as an assistant coach at Syracuse. His boss was former Michigan coach, Biggie Munn. When Munn became Michigan State’s Head Football Coach, Kip Taylor was invited to coach ends at Michigan State. Taylor coached for Biggie Munn’s Spartans from 1947 to 1948. He left East Lansing to become the Head Coach at Oregon State. Taylor coached the Beavers for six years and compiled a record of 20 wins and 36 losses.
Unfortunately, LaVerne H. “Kip” Taylor had one of the shortest careers in Michigan Football History. However, he will always be connected to Michigan Football because of some interesting “firsts.” Check them out!
o Kip Taylor played on the first team to be coached by Elton “Tad” Wieman in 1927.
o Taylor played in the first game in Michigan Stadium history on October 1, 1927.
o Kip Taylor scored the first touchdown in Michigan Stadium history on October 1, 1927.
o Taylor played in the first victory in Michigan Stadium history on October 1, 1927.
Kip Taylor left coaching after the 1954 season. After managing a golf course in Portland. Oregon, he returned to Ann Arbor. Kip Taylor managed Michigan’s golf course until his retirement in 1972.
Today is a great day to remember a Wolverine named Kip Taylor. He had one of the shortest careers in Michigan Football History. However, he will always be remembered for his famous “first” touchdown at Michigan Stadium. May Kip Taylor continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!
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