Today is a great day to wish Happy Birthday to Michigan Man Mike Gillette. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Mike Gillette was born on this day in western Michigan. Gillette grew up in St. Joseph, Michigan where he grew up to be an outstanding athlete at St. Joseph High School. He was an All-State football player as a quarterback, punter and placekicker. He was also an excellent baseball player as a catcher.
Mike Gillette arrived in Ann Arbor in 1985. Even as a freshman, he was determined to be Bo Shembechler’s kicker. Gillette won the starting job and became the first Michigan placekicker to make 16 field goals in one season. Mike led the team in scoring with 78 points on 16 field goals and 30 extra points.
In 1986, Gillette came back ready to do more for the Wolverines. Mike continued to kick and kick well for Michigan during his Sophomore season. He was perfect on his PAT kicks and became the first Wolverine placekicker to kick a 53-yard field goal against Iowa on October 15, 1986. He also kicked the game-winning field goal on the last play of that amazing game to push Michigan (#4) to a win over the (#8) Hawkeyes 20-17. Gillette led Michigan in scoring for the second consecutive season with 59 points (11 field goals and 26 extra points).
The 1987 season was another successful season for Michigan Man Mike Gillette. He made 80 percent of his field goal attempts and made four kicks of over 40-yards. Gillette continued to be a consistent kicker for the Wolverines. He lost his “leading scorer” title in 1987 to Jamie Morris who scored 15 touchdowns and racked up 90 points.
Mike Gillette’s senior year was his best season at Michigan. Not only was he the placekicker, but Bo decided to add punting duties too. Bo thought Gillette could handle it all so that’s what happened. Gillette broke his own record of most field goals made in one season (16) by making 18 kicks in 1988. Mike became the first kicker in Michigan football history to make five field goals in one game on November 8, 1988 in a 22-7 win over Minnesota. Mike also became the first Michigan placekicker to make a 56-yard field goal and he did it at the Horseshoe in a 34-31 win over the Buckeyes. It doesn’t get any better than that! Mike also set another record before he was done kicking for Michigan. Mike booted a 49-yard field goal against USC in Michigan’s 22-14 Rose Bowl win in January 1989. It is still the longest field goal in Michigan bowl history. Mike finished his career as an All-Big Ten kicker for the 1988 season.
Michigan Man Mike Gillette ended his Michigan career with his head held high. Like all kickers, he didn’t make all of his kicks. Nobody does. He had his “ups” and “downs” as a kicker at Michigan, but he definitely had more “ups!” Bottom line – Mike Gillette’s did his job at a very high level and kicked his way into the record books by the time he left Ann Arbor. He was a key part of two Big Ten Championship teams (1986 and 1988) and helped put 38-wins on the board for Michigan Football.
So, today is a good day to remember the accomplishments of Michigan Man Mike Gillette. His name is still all over the record book and many of his accomplishments are still at the top of the list. Mike Gillette is one more reason that Michigan football is the winningest program in college football. Happy Birthday Michigan Man Mike Gillette! Go Blue!
For more information about Mike Gillette, check out the links below.
Oh, by the way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!
Who is the only Michigan running back to total more than 1,000 career carries?
Mike Hart started for four years at Michigan from 2004 to 2007. He left his name on just about every rushing record in the Michigan Football Record Book. When his career was over, Hart had logged a total of 1,015 carries. This broke the old record of 924 by Anthony Thomas.
Mike Hart’s career carries record still stands today along with his career rushing yard record of 5,040. Yes, Mike Hart was one of the best running backs to ever carry the “rock” for the Wolverines!
Who holds the Michigan record for average yards per receptions in one season?