August 5, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Art Valpey!

1937 Michigan Football Team |
Art Valpey (#11) is pictured above with the 1937 Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is standing in the fourth row – third man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today is a perfect day to remember the Happy Birthday Anniversary of Michigan Man Art Valpey. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Arthur L. “Art” Valpey was born on this date in 1915. Art Valpey grew up in Dayton, Ohio where he became an all-state football player in high school. He is another Buckeye who saw the light and came to Michigan to continue his education and his football.

Art Valpey’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1934. Even though he was a star running back in high school, Freshman Coach Wally Weber thought he would be better at the end position. So, Art Valpey was “destined” to play end at Michigan.

Apparently, young Valpey learned his lessons well in 1934. He made Harry Kipke’s varsity football team and started two games at right end. The good news for Art was that he earned his first letter in 1935. The bad news for Valpey was that Kipke’s Wolverines finished the season with a record of 4 wins and 4 losses. The Maize and Blue footballers finished in a tie for fifth place in the Big Ten with a record of 2-3-0.  

Art Valpey Michigan Football 1937 |

Art Valpey lettered on Harry Kipke’s last three teams from 1935 to 1937. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Art came back to play some more Michigan Football in 1936. I am sure that he was hoping to play more and that Michigan would play better. As it turned out, the 1936 season was a lot like the 1935 season for Art Valpey. He started two games at right end and earned his second letter. Unfortunately, Michigan slipped badly and finished the season with a final record of 1 win and 7 losses. Even worse, Michigan lost all five conference games (0-5-0) and ended the Big Ten season in a tie for eighth place. It was ugly!

Art Valpey’s senior year was pretty much the same as his first two years at Michigan. He started one game and played a lot of football. Valpey earned his third varsity letter in 1937. Fortunately, the Wolverines did post a better record in 1937. Kipke’s footballers won 4 games and lost 4 games. They also broke even in the conference with a record of 3-3-0. Michigan finished in a tie for fourth place in 1937. Of course, this was not a terrible record for most teams, but it wasn’t good enough for Michigan. Harry Kipke was fired after the season was over and a guy named Fritz Crisler was named as his replacement.  

So, Art Valpey played a lot of  football for Michigan from 1935 to 1937. It was not the greatest three-year run in Wolverine Football History, that’s for sure. The good news about Valpey’s playing career was that Michigan won 9 games during his playing days. However, the bad news was that the Wolverines lost 15 games from 1935 to 1937. Of course, I would not be talking about Art Valpey today if he wasn’t part of some Michigan football “firsts.” Here are three for Mr. Valpey:

·         Art Valpey played in the first game in Michigan Football History against Columbia in 1935. The Wolverines won by a score of 19-7.

·         Valpey played on the first Michigan Football team to post a record of 4-4-0 in 1935.

·         Art Valpey was a member of the first and only Michigan football team to finish with a record of 0-5-0 in Big Ten Conference play in 1936. Ugh!

So, on the one-hundred and second anniversary of his birth, let us remember Arthur L. Valpey. He epitomized the spirit of a true, blue Michigan Man. Art Valpey is a part of Michigan Football History. He went to coach for many years and finished his life’s work in business. Art Valpey died on March 12, 2007 at the age of ninety-one. May Art Valpey continue to rest in eternal 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.
  1. Susan Taylor

    Thank you for that wonderful write up!
    Art Valpey was my maternal Grandfather!

    August 31, 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply
    • Barry Gallagher

      Hi Susan,

      Glad you enjoyed my post on Grandpa Valpey! I really enjoy hearing from family members like you when I write about players of the “past.” I hope you keep reading and enjoying my other posts as well. I have a new book about Bo Schembechler coming out later this month. The title is” The Legend of Bo Schembechler – How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History.” Go Blue!

      Barry Gallagher

      September 5, 2017 at 11:32 am - Reply

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