August 17, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary William J. Duff!

1884 Michigan Wolverine Football Team |
William J. Duff is shown above with the 1884 Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is seated in the center of the middle row. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today is a good day to remember another impressive Michigan Wolverine named William J. Duff  who was born on this day in 1856. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, William J. Duff was born at Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Apparently, his family moved to the Port Huron, Michigan area in 1869. Duff went to prep school in Ann Arbor and later enrolled at Michigan to study medicine.

William J. Duff’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1882. However, he did not play a down that year against outside competition because nobody did. Michigan did not schedule any outside games in 1882. His medical studies may have prevented him from playing on the 1883 team since he sat out the season.

William J. Duff Michigan Football |

William J. Duff played on two Michigan Football teams in 1882 and 1884. He lettered in 1884 and then went on to become a family physician in Port Huron, Michigan. Photo courtesy of the WIkipedia Foundation.

Duff came back in 1884 and is listed as a halfback. He earned his first, and only, letter in 1884. Michigan played two games in 1884. The first one was played in Ann Arbor against Albion on November 15, 1884. Michigan won the game by a score of 18-0. Game number two was also played in the Tree City against the Chicago University Club. The Wolverines scored eighteen points for the second consecutive game, but allowed ten. Final score: Michigan 18 & Chicago University Club 10. So, Michigan finished the 1884 season with a perfect record of 2-0-0.

William J. Duff is connected to a few Michigan football “firsts.” Here they are:

·         William J. Duff was a member of the first “organized” Michigan football team not to play an “outside” schedule after starting competition in 1879.

·         Duff played in the first games in Michigan Football history against Albion and the University Club of Chicago in 1884.

Today is a good day to remember a true Wolverine Pigskin Pioneer. William J. Duff went on to graduate from Michigan’s Medical School in 1885. He returned to Port Huron where he practiced medicine for many years before his death in 1922. So, the one hundred and sixty-first anniversary of his birth, let’s appreciate William Duff’s pioneering contributions to Michigan Football. May Dr. William J. Duff continue to Rest in Peace. Go Blue!

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: You can also follow him on Social Media.
0 Comment

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published.