Today is another great day to wish “Happy Birthday” to a Michigan Man named Walt Downing. Walt Downing was born on this day at Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He attended Coatesville High School. By the time he graduated in 1974, he was an outstanding football player, wrestler and track athlete. Downing also distinguished himself in the classroom and he graduated with honors. Walt was a highly coveted player for many college football coaches, but he decided to play for Bo Schembechler and Michigan.
Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Walt Downing
Walt Downing arrived in Ann Arbor in the summer of 1974. He did not play on the varsity that year because freshman didn’t play in those days. Instead, he worked hard in the classroom and on the football field to get himself ready for success in his final three seasons at Michigan.
Downing learned his lessons well and started twelve games at guard in 1975. He did an excellent job replacing team Co-Captain Kirk Lewis who was injured before the season began. Downing’s excellent play helped the Wolverines post a final record of 8-2-2. They finished second in the Big Ten with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss.
Walt Downing returned in 1976, but Bo had different plans for his big Pennsylvania lineman. Schembechler needed someone to play center and Downing fit the bill perfectly. He was smart enough and tough enough to handle the Big Ten’s best defensive linemen. Walt started all twelve games and Michigan improved to 10 wins and 2 losses. More importantly, the Wolverines won a share of the conference championship. Walt Downing earned All-Conference honors and was named an honorable mention All-American.
Downing’s outstanding contributions in 1975 and 1976 did not go unnoticed. He was selected as a Co-Captain of the 1977 Michigan Football team along with Dwight Hicks. Interestingly, Michigan finished the 1977 season with exactly the same results as 1976. However, Downing finished the season as a first team All-American and Big Ten player too.
Yes, Walt Downing had quite a career in Ann Arbor. He started 36 straight games, played on two Big Ten Co-championship team. Bo loved his offensive lineman since he was one. I am certain that appreciated Walt Downing’s great work at Michigan. He finished his career as a Wolverine captain and an All-American. You really can’t do much better than that!
Thanks to Walt Downing for his contributions to the great tradition that is Michigan Football. I hope that Walt Downing has a very Happy Birthday on his special day. Go Blue!
For more information on Walt Downing’s career in the National Football League, check out the link below.
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day: June 10, 2018
Who was the first Wolverine to lead the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons?
Part II. Trivia Answer of the Day June 10, 2018 Dave Raimey
Running back Dave Raimey led Michigan in scoring from 1960 through 1962. He scored 6 touchdowns in 1960 (36 points) and improved in 1961 to a career best 8 touchdowns – good for 48 points. Raimey ended his career with 5 more touchdowns in 1962.
Michigan’s offense had a lot of trouble scoring in the early 1960s, but Dave Raimey was one man who could find the end zone!
Part III. Trivia Question of the Day: June 11, 2018
Who was the first placekicking specialist to lead Michigan in scoring for three seasons?