The purpose of today’s post is simple – Happy Birthday Jake Sweeney! According to the 1983 Michigan Football Media Guide, Lawrence “Jake” Sweeney was born on this day in Bay City, Michigan. He played center at Alma High School in Alma, Michigan. In fact, he played so well that he was a Prep-All-American and an All-State performer. Yes, he was a good one and Bo offered young Sweeney a chance to continue his education and his football career at Michigan.
Jake Sweeney arrived in Ann Arbor in the late summer of 1980. Although he wasn’t good enough to take away any starts from All-American center George Lilja, he was good enough to play and earn a letter. Michigan ended the season with a record of 10 wins and 2 losses in 1980 and won the conference championship with a record of 8-0-0.
The departure of Lilja left a void at center and Sweeney battled Tom Dixon for the starting job. Unfortunately for Larry, he finished second to Dixon. He backed up Dixon for the next three seasons (1981-1983). Tom Dixon earned All-American honors in 1983 and I think Sweeney had something to do with that. Dixon knew that Sweeney was right there and if he didn’t play well, every game, he might be watching instead of playing.
As it turned out, Larry Sweeney carved out an important, but unsung, role on his final three Michigan Football teams. Sweeney became the “long snapper” before it was considered an important position in the kicking game. Larry Sweeney took his job seriously and improvements in Michigan’s kicking game can be tracked to his steady play.
Larry Sweeney is not a “famous” Wolverine, but he played an important role for Bo and the Wolverines. He is a proud member of the Alma High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Sweeney loves to talk about and teach the game of football – especially the role of the long snapper! Check out the links below.
Yes, today is a good day to remember another Michigan Man who did everything that Bo asked him to do. Jake Sweeney left Ann Arbor with his degree, two Big Ten Championship rings and four varsity letters. Yes, he also has a ton of memories about Bo and his teammates from the early 1980s.
Thanks to Jake Sweeney for his contributions to the great history of Michigan football. I hope he has a very Happy Birthday today on his special day. Go Blue!
Who is the only freshman quarterback in Michigan Football History to throw 25 touchdowns in one season?
Young Chad Henne really lit it up in his freshman year at Michigan. Coach Lloyd Carr pretty much turned him loose in 2004. Henne responded to Coach Carr’s confidence and threw 25 touchdown passes as “rookie” quarterback. When Henne was healthy, he was a very productive quarterback for the Wolverines.
Who was the first man in Michigan Football History to be named team MVP for two consecutive seasons?