Today is a great day to wish happy birthday to a Michigan Wolverine named Mark Bihl. According to the 2005 Michigan Football Media Guide, Mark J. Bihl was born on this day in Washington Courthouse, Ohio. He grew up to be an outstanding football player at Washington Courthouse High School. As a lineman, Bihl was big enough, and good enough, to earn scholarship offers from many colleges and universities. Fortunately, he was also smart enough to accept Lloyd Carr’s offer to play for the Michigan Wolverines!
(Note – Mark Bihl (#54) is shown above with the 2006 Michigan Football Team. He is seated in the first row – seventh man from the left (next to Coach Carr). Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Micigan.)
Mark Bihl enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 2002. Although he was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 265 pounds, Mark was not ready for Big Ten Football. Lloyd Carr decided to red-shirt Mark and get him in the weight room with Mike Gittleson.
A bigger and stronger Mark Bihl reported for fall camp in 2003. Now he weighed in at 294 pounds. He didn’t start any games in his second year, but he played in eleven games and earned his first varsity letter. Mark was part of a Big Ten Championship team in 2003. The Wolverines finished the season with an overall record of 10 wins and 3 losses. They won seven of eight conference games. Mark Bihl’s career was off to a solid start!
Mark continued to work hard during the off-season. He was hoping to win a starting spot on the offensive line in 2004. As it turned out, he played in all twelve games and did start the last four games of the season. He earned his second varsity letter and became a Big Ten Champion for the second consecutive season. Michigan finished the 2004 season with a record of 9-3-0 and went 7-1-0 in the conference.
Bihl returned to the Wolverine team in 2005 with hopes of starting every game. Once again, he couldn’t nail down a starting job. However, he did play in every game. Mark started four games at center and earned his third varsity letter. Unfortunately, the Wolverines slipped to a record of 7 wins and 5 losses. It was the worst season of Coach Lloyd Carr’s tenure. Michigan tied for third place in the conference that season with a record of 5 wins and 3 losses. It was not a year to remember for Mark Bihl, or his teammates.
Mark Bihl’s hard work and dedication finally paid off in 2006. He was named the starting center at the beginning of the season and he started all thirteen games. BihBihl played an important role on the 2006 team that won eleven straight games before losing the last two. Michigan finished the season with a record of 11 wins and 2 losses in 2006. The Wolverines ended the conference season with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss in the conference which earned them a second-place finish.
Mark Bihl is a great story. He played a lot of good football for Michigan. Bihl started twenty-one games for the Wolverines. He earned four varsity letters and played on two Big Ten Championship teams. Yes, Mark left Ann Arbor with his head held high.
So, thanks to Mark Bihl for his part in the long, long Maize and Blue line that dates back to 1879. I hope that Michigan Man Mark Bihl has a great day on his special day today. Go Blue!
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