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May 24, 2017 – Rest in Peace George Ceithaml!

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is a good day to remember another Michigan Wolverine named George Ceithaml who went to rest in peace on this day in 2012. George Frank Ceithaml was born on February 10, 1921 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up to be an excellent athlete and football player at Lindbloom High School in Chicago, Illinois. He earned All-City honors as a quarterback in 1937 and 1938. He decided to continue his education and his football at Michigan.

George Ceithaml arrived in Ann Arbor in the fall of 1939. He spent his freshman year learning the Fritz Crisler Single Wing Offense. Apparently, he learned his lessons well. The young Sophomore earned the back-up quarterback spot behind Forest Evashevski and earned a letter in 1940. George showed great promise that season and was selected as the Meyer Morton Award winner for his excellent performance in spring drills.

Ceithaml took advantage of Evy’s graduation and won the starting quarterback job for the 1941 season. He started eight games that fall and earned his second varsity letter at the end of the season. Michigan posted a record of 6-1-1 in 1941 and won 3 games, lost 1 and tied 1 for second place in the Big Ten.

Captain George Ceithaml 1942 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

George Ceithaml served as the Captain of the 1942 Michigan Wolverine Football Team. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical LIbrary.

George Ceithaml was back for his senior season in 1942. He was the team captain and the quarterback for Michigan’s first ten game season under Coach Crisler. George started all ten games and helped Michigan win 7 games and lose 3. The Wolverines slipped to third in the conference with a final record of 3 wins and 2 losses. Michigan, like every school in the country was starting to lose players to the war effort in 1942. George Ceithaml, along with most of his teammates, played on both sides of the ball and earned the title of “Iron Men” for their gritty play.

Ceithaml started 18 games during his final two season for the Wolverines. Michigan posted a record of 13 wins 4 losses and 1 tie when George Ceithaml played quarterback for Michigan. According to Fritz Crisler Ceithaml was a very smart player who did an excellent job of running Crisler’s complicated Single Win Offense. He was also a tough guy who ran, passed, blocked and tackled for almost sixty minutes every Saturday.

In addition to being an outstanding player, George Ceithaml is also connected to a number of Michigan Football “firsts.” Here are the best ones that I could find:

  • George Ceithaml was one of the first college football players to fly cross-country for Michigan’s first football game ever against California in September 1940. Michigan won by a score of 41-0 on Tom Harmon’s twenty-first birthday!
  • Ceithaml played in the first game ever against Pittsburgh in 1941. Michigan won that one by a score of 40-0.
  • George Ceithaml played in the first games ever against Great Lakes Naval Training Center (Won 9-0) and Iowa Pre-Flight (Lost 14-26) in 1942.

Please enjoy your day today, but take time to remember a wonderful Wolverine named George Ceithaml. Take time to appreciate George’s contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. May George Ceithaml always rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!



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