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June 29, 2017 Happy Birthday Dan Dierdorf!

Posted on June 29, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a great day to wish happy birthday to a Michigan Wolverine great named Dan Dierdorf. According to the 1967 Michigan Football Media Guide, Daniel Lee “Dan” Dierdorf was born on this day in Canton, Ohio. Dan grew up to be a pretty big buy and a pretty good football player at Glenwood High School. He was good enough to be recruited by a number of schools and he chose Michigan.

Dan Dierdorf Michigan Football 1970 } bigbluefootballhistory.com

Dan Dierdorf was one of the best lineman to ever play at Michigan and in the NFL. He is one of the few Wolverines to be into the College Football Hall of Fame and the NFL Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

One interesting thing about Dierdorf is that he is probably the first, and only, player ever to sneak out the back door when a man named Bo Schembechler showed up for an in-home recruiting visit. Bo was coaching at Miami of Ohio and he wanted Dierdorf’s talents at Miami. Obviously, the “visit” didn’t go well since, Dierdorf opted to leave before talking to the young coach of the Redskins.

As fate would have it, Bo never forgot that incident. After he became the head coach at Michigan Schembechler encounted Dierdorf on campus. Dierdorf apparently extended his hand to welcome Bo to Michigan. He was totally shocked when Bo grabbed his midsection and said something like, “Dierdorf, you’re fat and you’re mine.” Oh my, what must have been going through Dan’s mind after that “meeting?”

So, that’s a little background about Bo and Dan Dierdorf. As it turned out, Dan Dierdorf became one of Bo’s favorites and one of the best linemen ever to play at Michigan.

Dan started 27 games for the Wolverines from 1968 to 1970. He earned first team All-Big Ten honors in 1969 and 1970. He was a second team All-American in 1969 and a first team All-American in 1970. Dierdorf helped Michigan win 25 games during his playing days and played on Bo’s first Big Ten Co-Championship team in 1969.

Let’s look at some “firsts” that connect Dan Dierdorf to Bo and to Michigan football.

  • Dan Dierdorf survived Bo’s first “Spring Drills” program and played on the first Bo Schembechler team in 1969.
  • Dierdorf played in Bo’s first Big Ten game/winning game against Purdue in on October 11, 1969.
  • Dan played in Bo’s first rival game/loss against Michigan State on October 18, 1969. (MSU won 12-23)
  • Dierdorf also played in Bo’s first rival game/win against Minnesota (35-9) on October 25, 1969.
  • Dan Dierdorf played in Bo’s first Homecoming game/win against Wisconsin (35-7) on November 1, 1969.
  • Dierdorf was on the first Bo Schembechler team to beat a Number #1 ranked opponent in 1969 when Big Blue stuffed Woody’s Buckeyes 24-12 in 1969.
  • Dan played on Bo’s first Big Ten Championship team in 1969.
  • Dan Dierdorf played in Bo’s first win over Michigan State (34-20) on October 17, 1970.
Dan dierdorf Michigan All-American 1970 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Dan Dierdorf played his way out of Bo’s “Dog House” and became an All-Big Ten and All-American at Michigan in 1970. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Dan Dierdorf finished his Michigan career with twenty-seven starts, three varsity letters, a Big Ten Co-Championship and a ton of memories. Of course, he also had a life-long friend named Bo Schembechler. Dierdorf, and his teammates on the 1969 team, raised the bar for all Michigan Men who followed. Today is a wonderful day to celebrate the dedication of Dan Dierdorf and appreciate his contributions to the great legacy that is Michigan Football. I hope that Dan Dierdorf has a great day today. Happy Birthday Dan and Go Blue!

To learn more about Dan Dierdorf check out the links below:




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