Wow, today is a great day to wish a very happy birthday to Michigan Man George Hoey. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, George William Hoey was born on this day in Gaffney, South Carolina. George’s family moved to Flint, Michigan when he was thirteen. George grew up to be an outstanding athlete at Flint Central High School. He was an All-State performer in football and track. Needless to say, he was recruited by many schools, but he chose Michigan.
The only “promise” Coach Bump Elliott made to George Hoey was that he would have the opportunity to compete for a spot on the team. And, more importantly, he would have the opportunity to earn a degree from The University of Michigan. George was a very smart young man who made the best of his opportunities in Ann Arbor. He had to wait his turn, but things worked out just fine for George Hoey at Michigan.
Like all freshman in 1965, George did not play a down on the varsity in 1965. Instead, he spent his time learning the Bump Elliott Football System and getting off to a good start in the classroom. George was recruited to play halfback, but Elliott also recruited a guy named Ron Johnson in the Class of 1968. To make matters worse, Michigan already had some pretty good halfbacks named Jim Detwiler, Carl Ward and John Rowser. It didn’t appear that George would be a big running star at Michigan, but he worked hard to compete for playing time. Unfortunately, he didn’t start any games in 1966 and did not earn a letter in his Sophomore year. The good news was that George was doing well on the track team and improving his speed for football.
George came back for his Junior year in 1967. The bad news was that he did not beat out Ron Johnson for the starting running back position. However, the good news was that Hoey was tough enough and fast enough to play in the defensive backfield and star on special teams. He made the most of his opportunities and earned important roles on Bump Elliott’s football team. George played a lot of football for the Wolverines in 1967. He made 16 tackles (10 solo and 6 assists), broke up 5 passes and forced one fumble. More importantly, he became a record-setting punt returner who made his presence felt on the football field. George earned his first letter on a team that finished with a final record of 4 wins and 6 losses.
Hoey returned for his Senior year in 1968. He continued to play at a high level in Michigan’s defensive backfield and did outstanding work as a kickoff and punt returner. George Hoey earned All-Conference honors for his strong play in 1968. He was one of the reasons that the Wolverines rebounded with a final record of 8 wins and 2 losses. They finished second in the Big Ten with a final record of 6-1-0.
So, George Hoey came to Michigan with some BIG goals. He didn’t become the starting running back at Michigan, but he did just about everything else he probably set out to do. He earned two varsity letters, All-Conference honors, and set some records in football and track. Yes, he left Ann Arbor with his head held high!
George Hoey is connected to some interesting Michigan Football “firsts.” Here they are:
· According to the Wikipedia article linked below, George Hoey was the first African-American athlete from Flint, Michigan to earn a University of Michigan scholarship.
· George Hoey was the first, and only, man to record 140 yards in punt returns in one game in 1967.
· Hoey became the first man to average over 24 yards per return (24.2) for a season. However, Michigan does not list this accomplishment because they require 15 returns in a season for this record.
· George Hoey is the first, and only man, to average 49.5 yards per return in one game. He returned 2 punts for 99-yards against Navy in 1968.
· Hoey is also the first, and only, Michigan Man to average over 17 yards on each punt return (17.1) for a career.
· In 1978, George Hoey was hired by Michigan Athletic Director to be the first dedicated Academic Advisor in the University of Michigan Athletic Department.
Yes, George Hoey is a Michigan Man to celebrate today. George made a very good name for himself, and his family, at Michigan. He was a record-setting punt returner in football and a record-setting sprinter on the track team. Thanks to George Hoey for his contributions to Michigan’s winning traditions on the football field and the running track. I hope that George Hoey has a very Happy Birthday today. Go Blue!
Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – November 13, 2018:
What is the largest margin of victory that Michigan ever posted against Indiana
Part II. Trivia Answer of the Day – November 13, 2018:
Fielding Yost’s 1925 team posted the biggest Wolverine win ever against Indiana. Michigan blasted the Hoosiers 63-0 at Ferry Field. They scored early, and often, and it got ugly very quickly.
Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – November 14, 2018
What is the longest winning streak in the Michigan vs Indiana football series?