Today’s post honors the passing of a Wolverine named Maynard Morrison who went to rest in peace on this day in 2006. He was ninety-seven years old when he died. Maynard Davis “Doc” Morrison was born on May 28, 1909. He grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan and became an excellent athlete and a very good football player.
(Maynard Morrison (#57) is shown above with the 1930 Big Ten Champion Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is in the third row – second man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Maynard Morrison came to Ann Arbor in 1928 to play football for Coach Tad Wieman. Like a good freshman in the 1920s, Maynard spent his first year on the freshman team. When Morrison was ready to play for Michigan’s varsity, Coach Wieman was gone.
Maynard Morrison would have to impress new Coach Harry Kipke if he wanted to play at Michigan. Morrison, despite some injury issues, impressed Coach Kipke with his hard running, punishing blocking and ferocious tackling. When he was healthy he started two games at fullback and played a lot of defense for Kipke’s Wolverines. 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. Maynard Morrison earned Coach Kipke’s respect and also earned his first varsity letter in 1929, so, he was probably happy about that!
Maynard Morrison was back in 1930, but Coach Kipke asked him to make a position switch. Kipke needed a smart, tough man to play center and Morrison was the right guy for the job! Since his nickname was “Doc,” I am pretty sure that Morrison was smart and he was definitely tough enough to play center the way it needed to be played. Maynard became a fixture at center 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. Maynard Morrison earned his second letter in 1930 and also earned first team All-Big Ten honors for his stellar play at a new position.
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 Maynard Morrison. 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. Morrison continued to be a force on offense and defense. He started nine games at center and earned his third varsity letter. The talented Morrison also earned first team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season and was named a first team All-American as well.
Maynard Morrison was definitely part of some very good football teams at Michigan. He also experienced a number of “Michigan Football Firsts” while playing for the Wolverines:
· Maynard Morrison played on the first three Harry Kipke teams (1929, 1930 and 1931)
· Morrison played in the first two games in Michigan Stadium history with over 85,000 fans (1929)
· Maynard Morrison played on Harry Kipke’s first Big Ten Championship Team (1930) & the second one too (1931)!
· In his last game, Morrison played in front of the first, and only, four-digit crowd (9,190) in Michigan Stadium History (November 28, 1931). Yes, this is still the smallest crowd in the history of Michigan Stadium! (Note-Michigan defeated Wisconsin 16-0 in that game.)
· Maynard Morrison, the man who switched from fullback to center, became Harry Kipke’s first All-American player in 1931.
So, today is a great day to remember a tough, talented Michigan Wolverine named Maynard Davis “Doc” Morrison. He earned three varsity letters and contributed to two Big Ten Championship teams and earned All-American and All-Conference honors. Michigan posted a record of 21 wins, 4 losses and 3 ties with Maynard Morrison on the varsity roster. He was a “Michigan Man” in every sense of the word. Let’s remember him on the one-hundred and eighth anniversary of his birth. May he always rest in peace. Go Blue.
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