Today is a new day to remember a Wolverine great named Harry Newman who went to rest in peace on this day in 2000. Harry Lawrence Newman was born on September 9, 1909 in Detroit, Michigan. Newman was an outstanding athlete at Detroit Northern High School.
He came to Ann Arbor in 1929 to play football for Harry Kipke. Like all good freshman in the 1920s, Newman spent his first year on the freshman team. Harry Newman learned the Kipke Football system and took his lumps with the rest of the Wolverine “rookies.”
Sophomore Harry Newman started five of eight games at quarterback during the 1930 season. Michigan finished with a record of 8 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie. Even better, they ended the conference season with a perfect mark of 5-0-0 and won Kipke’s first conference championship. Harry Newman earned his first varsity letter in 1930 and was named to the All-Conference team. So, he was probably happy about that!
Newman came back for his Junior year in 1931 and started three more games at quarterback for Kipke’s Wolverines. He had some injuries in 1931 that limited his playing time, but he played well enough and often enough to earn his second varsity letter and second team All-Conference recognition. Michigan finished the 1931 season with another impressive record of 8 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Kipke’s footballers won a share of the conference title with a record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
Harry Kipke’s Wolverines were favored to win the conference title in 1932, but they did more than that! Harry Newman started all eight games at quarterback and helped lead the Wolverines to a perfect season (8-0-0) and the National Championship. Michigan also earned a share of the conference title with a record of 5-0-0.
In addition to earning his third varsity letter, Harry Newman also earned some other accolades in 1932. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the Wolverine team and in the Big Ten Conference! He earned first team All-conference honors and was named an All-American for his outstanding play in 1932. To top it all off, Harry Newman became Michigan’s first, and only, winner of the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy which went to the most outstanding football player in the country in 1932. The Fairbanks award was the precursor of the Heisman Trophy which did not get awarded until 1935.
To say that Harry Newman finished his Michigan football career on a “high” note is a complete understatement. Hey rocked it! In addition to being an important part of some outstanding Wolverine football teams, Newman was part of some “Michigan Football Firsts.” Here are the best ones I could find for Mr. Newman:
· Played in the first game with electric scoreboards at Michigan Stadium on September 27, 1930 against Denison and Michigan Normal (Eastern Michigan). It was the second time that Michigan played one of Fielding Yost’s famous “doubleheaders” during the Depression Years. Michigan won both games.
· Played on the first three Harry Kipke Big Ten Championship teams (1930, 1931 and 1932).
· Played in front of the first and only four-digit crowd (9,190) in Michigan Stadium History (1931). Yes, this is still the smallest crowd in the history of Michigan Stadium!
· Played on the first Wolverine team to win six Big Ten games in one season (6-0-0) in 1932.
· Played on Harry Kipke’s first National Championship team in 1932.
· Became the first, and only, Michigan Football player to win the Douglas Fairbanks Trophy in 1932.
So, today is a great day to remember a tough and talented Michigan Wolverine named Harry Lawrence Newman. He earned three varsity letters and contributed to three Big Ten Championship teams and one National Championship team in 1932. Michigan posted a record of 24 wins, 1 losses and 2 ties with Harry Newman on the team. He was a “Michigan Man” in every sense of the word. Let’s remember him on the seventeenth-anniversary of his passing. May Harry Newman continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue.