Bump Elliott started his football career at Purdue in 1943. He served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and came to Michigan in 1946. Bump was a star among stars on Michigan’s 1947 National Championship Football team. Elliott was the second leading rusher on that great Michigan team. He also led the team in pass receiving and finished second in punt returns too. Chalmers earned All-Conference and All-American honors in 1947. He was named as the Most Valuable Player for the Wolverines and in the Big Ten that season. Yes, he was a great football player!
After graduation in 1948, Bump began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Oregon State in 1948. He jumped at the opportunity to coach with Michigan Man Forest Evashevaski at Iowa in 1952. Bump helped the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships in 1956. Elliott returned in Ann Arbor as a backfield coach for Bennie Oosterbaan in 1957. When Bennie hung up his whistle, Fritz Crisler put Bump Elliott in charge of Michigan Football in 1959.
Pete Elliott was also a very good football player. However, he played in the shadows of some great men from 1945 to 1947. But, he was patient and waited his turn. Pete Elliott’s turn finally came in 1948. Pete knew the Single Wing Offense and he made it work to perfection. He led the Wolverines to a second straight National Championship. Michigan finished with a perfect record of 9-0-0. The Wolverines went undefeated in the Big Ten with a record 6 wins and 0 losses. Pete played well enough to earn All-Conference and All-American honors in 1948. Yes, he was another great football player who brought honor to the Elliott name.
Pete Elliott followed his brother to Oregon State in 1949 where he coached ends for two seasons. Pete moved on to Oklahoma and served as an assistant from 1951 to 1955. He landed the Head Coaching Job at Nebraska in 1956, but only lasted for one season. The Huskers finished the season with a record of 4 wins and 6 losses. Unfortunately, Pete Elliott was finished at Nebraska. However, the likeable Elliott moved on to the head coaching job at California in 1957. Pete remained there for three seasons compiling a record of 10 wins and 21 losses. However, he did lead the Golden Bears to a conference championship and a Rose Bowl berth in 1956. Unfortunately, he lost to Iowa and brother Bump who was an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes. Pete Elliott accepted the Illinois job in 1960. So, he became a Big Ten coach one year after Bump took over at Michigan.
So, that’s how we got to the historic date of November 5, 1960. Coach Pete Elliott brought his Illinois Football team to Ann Arbor for his first Big Ten game against his brother Bump. Neither team was tearing up the league. Michigan entered the game with a record of 3 wins a and 3 losses. Guess what? Illinois was also 3-3-0 heading into the “brother” game. As expected, it was a close game, but big brother Bump prevailed over his younger sibling by a score of 8-7.
Here are the “firsts” that came out of this game and some other interesting facts about the Elliott Brothers:
· Bump and Pete Elliott were the first two brothers to become head coaches in the Big Ten Conference.
· The “Battle of the Brothers” was the first time that two brothers squared off against each other in a Big Ten Conference game.
· If you fast forward, to November 5, 1966, it was the first, and only, time that two brothers faced each other on the same date in their first and last game against each other. Pete finally beat his big brother after six straight losses. Illinois came to Ann Arbor and left with a 21-28 win.
· The Elliott brothers are the first, and only, brothers to win a Big Ten Championship. Pete won his in 1963 and Bump did it the next year.
· Pete and Bump Elliott are also the first, and only, brothers to win a Rose Bowl as players and then as coaches.
So, the Elliott brothers have an unusual legacy as players and coaches. They played on championship teams and coached them too! Of course, both men are members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Bump was inducted in 1989 and Pete was inducted in 1994. Bump and Pete Elliott were a class act who lived up to the Michigan Man standard. Please take a moment today to remember the great Michigan legacy of Bump and Pete Elliott. Go Blue!
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