Today is a good day to remember another impressive Michigan Wolverine named William Duff who went to rest in peace on this day in 1922. Dr. Duff was sixty-five years old when he died. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, William J. Duff was born on August 17, 1856 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Apparently, his family moved to the Port Huron, Michigan area in 1869. Duff attended prep school in Ann Arbor and later enrolled at The University of Michigan to study medicine.
(Note – William Duff is shown above with the 1884 Michigan Football team. He is seated in the center of the middle row. (Next to the guy in the dark suit who is actually standing in the back row.) Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
William Duff’s name first appeared on a Michigan Football Roster in 1882. However, he did not play a down that year against outside competition because nobody did. Michigan did not schedule any outside games in 1882.
A decision had to be made in 1883 and William Duff made it. Apparently, his medical studies came first and football came second. He sat out the season in 1883. Hopefully, he made the Dean’s list! As for the Wolverines, they ended the season with a final record of 2 wins and 3 losses.
Duff came back in 1884. He is listed as a halfback. William earned his first, and only, letter in his final season. Michigan played two games in 1884. The first one was played in Ann Arbor against Albion on November 15, 1884. Michigan won the game by a score of 18-0. Game number two was also played in the Tree City against the Chicago University Club. The Wolverines scored eighteen points for the second consecutive game, but allowed ten. Final score: Michigan 18 & Chicago University Club 10. So, Michigan finished the 1884 season with a perfect record of 2-0-0.
Today is a good day to remember a true Wolverine Pigskin Pioneer. William Duff went on to graduate from Michigan’s Medical School in 1885. He returned to Port Huron and practice medicine for many years before his death in 1922. So, the ninety-fifth anniversary of his death is a great day to celebrate Dr. William Duff and appreciate his pioneering contributions to Michigan Football. May Dr. William Duff always rest in peace. Go Blue!
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