Rest in Peace Matthew L. Patanelli. Today’s post celebrates the day that Matt Patanelli went to rest in peace in 1992. Matthew Lewis “Matt” Patanelli was seventy-seven years old when he died. Patanelli was born on July 13, 1914 in Elkhart, Indiana. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Matt Patanelli graduated from Elkhart High School in 1933 after an outstanding athletic career. He lettered twelve times in football, basketball and track and field. He also captained the football and basketball teams and earned first team All-State honors in football in 1931 and 1932.
(Note – Captain Matthew L. Patanelli (#67) is shown above with the 1936 Michigan Football team. He is seated in the second row – holding the ball. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Matthew L. Patanelli came to Ann Arbor in 1933 to continue his education and be the best athlete he could be for the Wolverines. Matt did what everybody else did in the mid-1930s. He spent his time on the freshman team and did his best to learn Harry Kipke’s “Michigan Football System.”
Apparently, Matt Patanelli learned his lessons well in 1933 because he started 7 games (6 at left end and 1 at right end) in 1934. The good news was that he made Harry Kipke’s varsity team and earned his first letter that season. He was also named the winner of the Meyer Morton Award for his outstanding performance in Spring Drills. The bad news was that Kipke’s Wolverines finished the season with a record of 1 win and 7 losses. They were even worse in the conference at 0 wins and 6 losses.
Patanelli came back in 1935 hoping that he would play better. Of course, the Wolverines needed to be a lot better in 1935. He started all eight games at left end and earned his second letter. Patanelli also earned first team All-Conference honors for his excellent play. The Wolverines did post a better record in 1935. They won 4 games and lost 4 games. Michigan finished in a tie for fifth place in the conference with a record of 2-3-0.
Matthew L. Patanelli received a great honor when he was named the captain of the 1936 Michigan football team. He did his best to lead his team despite playing with an injured ankle for the entire season. To be blunt, he was the best player on a pretty bad team. He started all eight games at left end and played as hard as he could. Unfortunately, the Wolverines only won a single game that season and finished with another record of 1 win and 7 losses. Once again, Michigan lost every conference game and finished in a tie for eighth place at 0 5-0.
The highly respected Patanelli was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1936 Michigan Football team. He ended his career with 22 starts and earned 3 varsity letters. He left Ann Arbor in 1937 with the respect of his coaches and his teammates.
So, on the twenty-seventh anniversary of his death, let us remember Matthew L. Patanelli. He epitomized the spirit of a true, blue Michigan Man. May Matt Patanelli continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!
The Legend of Bo Schembechler is a football love story. Millions of Michigan football fans loved Bo Schembechler almost as much as he loved The University of Michigan. This insightful book details how “Bo Who” simply became “Bo” to Wolverine Nation and to college football fans across the country and around the world. It details Bo’s twenty-one-year journey to bring Michigan Football back to national prominence and how he kept it there!
Click below to order your copy!