Today is a great day to celebrate the happy birthday anniversary of a Michigan legend named John Maulbetsch. John F. “Johnny” Maulbetsch was born on this day in 1890 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, John Maulbetsch graduated from Ann Arbor High School in 1910. He starred on the football team and helped win two consecutive state football championships in 1908 and 1909. At 5 feet 7 inches and 155 pounds, John Maulbetsch was one of the hardest-running halfbacks who ever played college football!
For a variety of reasons, Maulbetsch did not start his college career until he was twenty-one years old. He began his studies and his college football at Adrian College in 1911 where he helped his team post a perfect record of 8 wins and 0 losses. One of those wins was against Michigan’s freshman team (15-0) and Maulbetsch caught the eye of a man named Fielding Yost. The persuasive Yost was able to talk Maulbetsch into returning to his hometown to play for The University of Michigan.
John Maulbetsch transferred to Michigan, but his name did not show up on a Michigan Football Roster until 1913. Like most first year players, Maulbetsch practiced, but did not play on the Wolverine varsity in 1913.
The talented Maulbetsch was ready to contribute to Yost’s football team in 1914. He was the leading scorer and ground-gainer on the 1914 squad. He helped Michigan post a record of 6 wins and 3 losses. Since Michigan was out of the Big Ten during this team, the Wolverines played a lot of Eastern teams. Maulbetsch played one of his greatest games in a loss to Harvard (0-7) which earned a lot of attention from the east coast college football writers. He was named a first team All-American at the end of the season.
Maulbetsch had a bout of appendicitis in 1915 and the resulting surgery really slowed him down. He lost weight and struggled all season to return to his “All-American” form. Michigan posted a record of 4 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie during John’s second year on the Wolverine varsity. Despite his subpar season, the Michigan team elected John Maulbetsch to be the captain of the 1916 football team.
John Maulbetsch worked hard in the off-season so that he would be ready for another successful year. His hard work paid off for him and the Wolverines. Michigan posted a record of 7 wins and 2 losses. Their only two losses came against Eastern powers (Cornell 20-23) and Penn (7-10).
Overall, John Maulbetsch had an outstanding football career at Michigan.
So, on the 129th anniversary of his birth, let us remember another True-Blue Michigan Man. John Maulbetsch played a lot of good football for Michigan. He lettered on three Fielding Yost teams and earned the reputation as one of the hardest running players in the history of Michigan Football.
John Maulbetsch went on to enjoy a successful college football coaching career before he entered the world of business. Please take a moment today, to honor his memory and celebrate his accomplishments. John Maulbetsch died on September 14, 1950 at the age of sixty. May he always rest in peace. Go Blue!
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