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March 31, 2019 Happy Birthday Mike Bass
Today’s post celebrates a Happy Birthday wish for a Wolverine named Mike Bass. Michael Thomas “Mike” Bass was born on this day in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He grew up to be an excellent high school athlete at Ypsilanti High School in Ypsilanti. He starred in football, basketball and track and field from 1959 to 1963. After graduation, he chose to accept a scholarship offer to play football for Bump Elliott’s Michigan Wolverines.
(Note-Mike Bass (#15) is shown above with the 1966 Michigan Football Team. He is seated in the second row and is the fifth man from the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.)
Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Mike Bass
A Slow Start in Ann Arbor
Mike Bass is listed on the 1963 Michigan Football Roster as a halfback. He didn’t play as a freshman because nobody played as a freshman in the Sixties. Mike spent his first year learning the Bump Elliott football system and working hard in the classroom.
1964 – A Championship Season
Bass made the varsity in 1964. He didn’t start any games, but he played enough to earn a letter on Michigan’s Big Ten Championship team that year. The 1964 season was the one that Bump Elliott, and Michigan fans, had been waiting for since 1950. The Wolverines won their first three games before losing a heart breaker to Purdue (20-21). Michigan ran the table and finished the regular season with a record of 8 wins and 1 loss. Finally, the Wolverines were Big Ten champions (6-1-0) as Bump Elliott had predicted. Michigan rolled over Oregon State (34-7) to finish with a final record of 9 wins and 1 loss.
Mike Bass came to Michigan as a running back, but left as a very good defensive back. Good enough to play a long time in the NFL! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.
From Running Back to Defensive Back
Mike Bass returned as a champion in 1965. He, and his teammates, were hoping to make another run for the Big Ten trophy in his junior season. Unfortunately, a big mid-season slump of four straight losses, put them in a bad spot. The Wolverines snapped the losing streak with two straight wins, but ended the year on a low note with two consecutive losses. Michigan finished the 1965 season with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses. The posted 2 victories and 5 defeats in conference play and ended up in a tie for seventh place. Bass, who played mostly on defense, earned his second varsity letter for Michigan in 1965.
The 1966 season turned out better for Mike Bass and Michigan, but it was not a championship campaign. The Wolverines won 6 and lost 4. They finished with a record of 4-3-0 in the conference which tied them for third place. Mike continued to star as a defensive back and earn his third varsity letter and that was it for Mike Bass at Michigan
Michigan Man Mike Bass and Some Wolverine Football “Firsts”
Mike Bass has a solid career at Michigan. Although he didn’t earn any team or conference awards, he was good enough to get drafted and enjoy a long NFL career. Here are some “firsts” that connect Mike Bass to Michigan football:
· Mike Bass played in the first game ever played against Air Force in 1964. (Michigan won by a score of 24-7.
· Bass played on Bump Elliott’s first, and only, Big Ten Conference Championship team in 1964.
· Played on the 1964 team that became the first, and only, Big Ten team to win at least one conference title in all eight decades of conference play!
· Mike Bass played on Bump Elliott’s first, and only, Rose Bowl Championship team in January 1965. (Note-this win made Bump Elliott the first, and only, Michigan Man to win the Rose Bowl as a player and a coach)
· Bass played in the first game ever played against North Carolina in 1965. The Wolverines lost by a score of 7-21.
Mike Bass helped Michigan win their first Big Ten championship since 1950. It was a long wait, but it was great for Bump Elliott and his players. Again, Bass went on to a successful professional career in the National Football League. Congratulations Mike Bass on an excellent Michigan football career and thank you for your contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. I hope you have a very happy birthday on your special day! Go Blue!
Part II. March 31, 2019 National Day Calendar Update