Today I want to send out Happy Birthday greetings to a Michigan Man named John Morrow. John Melville Morrow was born on this day in Port Huron, Michigan. His family moved to Ann Arbor in time for John to attend Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. John was an excellent athlete and he demonstrated the potential to play at the next level. So, going to high school right across the street from Michigan Stadium probably helped John decide to continue his education and his football career at Michigan.
John Morrow enrolled at Michigan in the fall of 1952. He spent his time on the freshman team and learned how to play just about every position on the offensive line except end. Coach Bennie Oosterbaan must have liked the versatile Morrow because he gave him plenty of opportunities to excel once he made the varsity in 1953.
Morrow was a solid contributor in his sophomore year at Michigan. He earned four starts at center on the 1953 team that posted a final record of 6 wins and 3 losses. John played often enough, and well enough, to earn a letter in his first varsity season.
John Morrow came back in his junior year ready and willing to do whatever Coach Oosterbaan needed him to do. As it turned out, Bennie needed some help at right tackle. So, John Morrow started three games at right tackle for the 1954 team. Once again, the Wolverines posted an overall record of 6 wins and 3 losses. Coach Oosterbaan’s footballers finished at 5-2-0 in the conference which was good enough for a second-place tie.
Morrow came back in 1955 for his senior season. He was probably hoping to be a starter in his final year, but that didn’t happen. As it turned out, John didn’t record any starts in his final year. However, he did play wherever and whenever Coach Oosterbaan needed him. I know he played some defense for the Wolverines, but I am not sure if he was a down lineman or a linebacker on defense. Some of the pictures I have viewed online and his first number (#55) indicate that he may have been a linebacker. John Morrow earned his third varsity letter during the 1955 season. He helped the Wolverines finished with a final record of 7 wins and 2 losses. Michigan ended the Big Ten season with a record of 5-2-0 which earned them third place.
John Morrow, and his teammates added nineteen more victories to the Wolverine ledger. Michigan won just over seventy-percent (.703) percent of their games during the “Morrow Years.” They also chalked up thirteen conference wins along the way. So, John Morrow was a pretty good football player on some pretty good Michigan teams.
Mr. Morrow is also associated with three Michigan Football “firsts.” Here they are:
- John Morrow played in the first game in Michigan football history against Washington in 1953.
- Morrow played in the first seven game conference season in 1954.
- John Morrow played in the first game ever against Missouri in 1955.
After graduating from Michigan, John Morrow went on to a successful five-year career in the National Football League. Please take a moment to appreciate John Morrow’s contributions to the history of Michigan football. I hope he has a very Happy Birthday celebration today on his special day. Go Blue!