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October 23, 1943 – Bill Daley – A Historic Little Brown Jug Day!

Posted on October 23, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post celebrates Bill Daley and a historic Little Brown Jug day in 1943. William Edward “Bill” Daly was born on September 16, 1919. He passed away on October 19, 2015 at age ninety-six.

At just over 200 pounds, Bill “Bullet” Daly was a pretty big guy for the time he played, especially for a running back/fullback. Apparently, he was also very fast (maybe as fast as a bullet?). Thus, the nickname “Bullet.” Mr. Daley was also a powerful runner. So, he was a tough man to bring down, even if you could catch him!

Bill Daly is unique in Michigan Football history (and Minnesota’s too) because he is the only man in Little Brown Jug history to play on winning teams for each school in back-to-back seasons.

Bill “Bullet” Daly started his football career at Minnesota in 1940. He lettered on three Gopher teams and was part of national championship teams in 1940 and 1941. Daley also played on three straight Little Brown Jug winners in his first three years at Minnesota.

According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Daly enlisted in the United States Navy after the 1942 football season. He became part of the Navy’s V-12 College Training Program. He was transferred to Michigan because there was a V-12 program in Ann Arbor. Fritz Crisler persuaded the talented Daley to use his final season of eligibility at Michigan.

Bill Daley Michigan Football 1943 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Bill Daley only played one season at Michigan, but he made it memorable. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Bill Daley only played one season at Michigan, but he made it count! Daley put up some incredible numbers during his short stay in Ann Arbor. The talented Mr. Daley, who was called to active duty on November 1, 1943, only played six of Michigan’s nine games in 1943. However, he gained 817 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. Daley also did some placekicking for the Wolverines. He finished with 51 points in his six games.

The best way to highlight Bill “Bullet” Daley’s achievements as Michigan is to look at some very important “firsts” that he achieved at Michigan in just six games!

  • Bill Daley was the first Michigan running back to rush for 216 yards in one game against Northwestern. He also scored two touchdowns and helped Michigan defeat the Wildcats by a score of 21-7. (Note-he broke Tom Harmon’s single game rushing record from 1939 which was 206 yards. Daley’s record stood until 1952 when it was broken by Ted Kress who went for 218 yards against, you guessed it, Northwestern).
  • Daley became the first, and only, man to play, and win, Little Brown Jug games on both sides of the ball. He played on three Gopher winners from 1940-1942 and helped Michigan win the “Jug” for the first time in nine years in 1943. Daley scored two touchdowns in the game and also kicked two points after touchdown. Michigan won in a rout 49-6.
  • Bill Daley broke another Harmon record when he became the first man to average 6.81 yards per carry in 1943. (Harmon averaged 6.80 in 1939)
  • Daley became the first, and only, Michigan Football player to earn All-American and All-Conference honors despite only playing six games (three of six conference games).
  • Bill Daley was an important part of Fritz Crisler’s first Big Ten Championship football team in 1943.

Bill Daley left Ann Arbor with a very short, but impressive resume. The V-12 transfer from Minnesota was as good as advertised – actually better! He really made his six games count for the ages and helped Michigan win the Little Brown Jug that had eluded them for nine seasons. May Bill Daley continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!

You can learn more about Bill “Bullet” Daley by checking out the links below.





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