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 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!