Today’s post celebrates the life of a Wolverine named Fred Negus who went to rest in peace on this day in 2005 at the age of eighty-one. Frederick Wilson “Fred” Negus was born in Colerain, Ohio on November 7, 1923. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, he grew up in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. When it came time to play college football, Negus enrolled at Wisconsin to play for the Badgers.
Fred Negus was a starting center on the 1942 Wisconsin team, but enlisted in the U.S. Navy V-12 Program after the season was over. Michigan was hosting the V-12 Program in Ann Arbor, so, Negus transferred to U of M in 1942.
Navy trainee Fred Negus was a Wolverine for one season – 1943. He started 8 games at center and earned first team All-Conference honors for his stellar play. Of course, he earned a letter on the best team that Fritz Crisler had at Michigan in his first six years at the helm. Crisler’s 1943 team finished with a final record of 8 wins and 1 loss. It was Fritz Crisler’s best team in his first six years of coaching in Ann Arbor. The only bad news about this season was that the Wolverines lost to #1 ranked Notre Dame by a score of 12-35 at Michigan Stadium. The good news was that the 1943 Maize and Blue footballers gave Coach Crisler his first conference co-championship at Michigan.
Like most men of his generation, Fred W. Negus was called to serve his country in 1944. He became an officer in the United States Navy and served until the war was over. After he was discharged from the Navy, Fred Negus returned to Wisconsin in 1946 to captain the team that he started his college career with.
So, Fred Negus had a short, but very successful, “football career” at Michigan. He only played on one team, but it was a good one! Here are some “firsts” that link Fred Negus to the great history of Michigan Football:
· Fred Negus played on the first, and only, team to play a game against Camp Grant on 9/18/1943. Michigan won the game by a score of 26-0.
· Negus played on the first team to play Notre Dame in a #2 (UM) vs #1 (ND) matchup on 10/09/1943. The Irish won that game by a score of 12-35.
· Fred Negus played on the first Fritz Crisler team to win eight games.
· Negus played on the first Fritz Crisler team to go undefeated (6-0-0) in the conference and win the championship in 1943.
· Fred Negus is the first, and only, man to earn All-Big Ten honors at Michigan and captain a Wisconsin football team.
Fred W. Negus is a man who certainly made the best of his opportunities, that’s for sure. He served his country very well and lived a long and successful life. Today is a great day to remember Fred Negus and appreciate his contributions to Michigan football history. May Fred Negus always rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!