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October 15, 2016 – Happy Birthday Michigan Man Greg McMurtry!

Posted on October 15, 2016 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates the birth of Ryan Wendell “Greg” McMurtry who was born on this day in Jackson, Mississippi. He came to Ann Arbor from Brockton, Massachusetts. McMurtry was an outstanding athlete at Brockton High School and turned down a professional baseball contract to play football for Michigan and Bo Schembechler.

Greg McMurtry’s arrival at Michigan in 1986 drew some immediate attention when he was given jersey #1 to wear as a freshman. The #1 jersey had not been worn by a Michigan receiver since the departure of Anthony Carter in 1982. Schembechler must have thought McMurtry was good enough to wear it and that is all that counted.

So, Greg McMurtry probably felt that he had some “big shoes” to fill with #1 on his back. No pressure, right? As it turned out, Greg McMurtry was not a three-time All-American, like Anthony Carter, but he was a very dependable player. He worked his way into five starts as a freshman and just kept getting better every year. He played within Bo’s offense, blocked when he was supposed to block and caught just about everything that the Michigan quarterbacks threw at him. McMurtry wasn’t so good that he saw the ball eight to ten times a game. However, he was good enough to start thirty-nine games in four years and put up some solid numbers along the way.  Check out his numbers at Michigan:

Season

Starts Catches Yards Touchdowns
1986

5

22

508

0

1987

12

21

474

5

1988

10

27

470

3

1989

12

41

711

7

Totals

39

111

2,163

15

The best thing about Greg McMurtry was that he fit perfectly into what Bo needed him to do. As you can see from the numbers above, he was consistent. However, he led the team in receiving stats in 1989 because that’s what Bo and the team needed him to do.

Greg McMurtry’s best game as a Wolverine receiver was against Minnesota in 1989. He caught seven balls that totaled one hundred sixty-five yards. Three of his catches went for touchdowns in a 49-15 Michigan win. He also had a pretty good game against Maryland in 1989. He made five catches for one-hundred twenty-six yards against the Terrapins and helped Michigan secure a 41-21 victory!

Greg McMurtry came in when Bo was the head coach at Michigan and he went out with the legendary Schembechler ater the 1989 season. McMurtry was fortunate to play on some very good teams from 1986 to 1989. The Wolverines posted a record of 38 wins, 10 losses and 1 ties during that period. They won Big Ten titles for Bo, including two in a row at the end (1988 and 1989). Greg McMurtry also played in two winning bowl games (1988 & 1989) where he had three catches, but no touchdowns.

I enjoyed watching Greg McMurtry play at Michigan − that’s for sure! I hope that he has a “Spectacular Saturday” on his special day today! Thank you Greg for your contributions to the great history of Michigan football. You stayed, you played and you left as a champion! Congratulations and Go Blue!

Check out the highlight video on Greg and read more about him and his NFL career go to the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_McMurtry

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c5Pd923GOw

 

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The Legend of Bo Schembechler by Barry Gallagher