December 21, 2016 – Happy Birthday Quentin Sickels!

Michigan Football Team 1948 | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Quentin Sickels (#62) pictured here with the 1948 National Champion Michigan Wolverines. He is seated in the second row – third man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Wow – today is a great day to wish a very Happy Birthday to Quentin Sickels. He is one of those rare individuals who was on back-to-back national championship teams in 1947 and 1948. However, that isn’t all he did at Michigan. Let’s take a closer look at the interesting career and life of Michigan Man Quentin Brian “Quent” Sickels.

Quentin Sickels was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1926. He was an outstanding high school football player who helped lead his football team to the state championship in 1943. Quentin was also an excellent student.  So, the University of Michigan was where he wanted to continue his education and his football career.

Sickels enrolled at Michigan in 1944 when the “war years” made it hard for some schools to field football teams. So, freshman could play – if they were good enough! Seventeen-year-old Quentin Sickels was good enough to start every game at guard in 1944. Michigan finished the season with a record of 8-2-0. The Wolverines finished second in the conference that year. Quentin earned his first varsity letter that season. And, according to the Wikipedia article linked below, young Sickels was good enough to earn second team All-Conference recognition to boot!

Quentin’s college football career was off to a great start. However, like most men of his generation, duty called. He enlisted in the Coast Guard and served his country from December 1944 until his discharge in the spring of 1946.

Quent was back on the field in the fall of 1946. He was joined by 113 other men on one of the largest Michigan football rosters in the sixty-seven-year history of the program. Fritz Crisler had four to five excellent players at every position. The “experts” picked the Wolverines to win the conference title in 1946. However, the talented Wolverines had to settle for a season record of 6-2-1. Michigan earned their third straight second place finish in the conference (5-1-1). Quentin Sickels only started three games in 1946, but he did earn his second letter. He played a lot of football, but so did a lot of other guys!

The 1947 and 1948 seasons were pretty much the same for Quentin. The bad news was that he played a lot less – mostly on defense. The good news was that he, and Michigan, won a lot more games. In fact, they won all their games for two consecutive seasons. Fritz Crisler’s 1947 team – the “Mad Magicians” rolled through a perfect regular season (9-0-0) and then destroyed Southern California in the Rose Bowl 49-0! For the first time in history, the Associated Press voted after the bowl season and determined that Michigan was their “National Champion!”

1948 Rose Bowl Program | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Quentin Sickels played in the 1948 Rose Bowl. Apparently, he played pretty well on a defense that completely shut down the Southern California offense. Michigan won the game by a score of 49-0. Picture courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Even Fritz Crisler’s retirement couldn’t slow down the Michigan “football machine.” Bennie Oosterbaan and his Wolverines kept on right on winning. Michigan finished the 1948 season with a perfect record of 9-0-0. They could not go to the Rose Bowl because of the conference’s “no repeat rule.” However, Michigan won a second straight national championship.

So, Quentin Sickels had quite a career at Michigan. He started sixteen games and played a ton of football for the Maize and Blue. Quentin earned four varsity letters and some Big Ten honors as a seventeen-year-old freshman. More importantly, he was on two conference championship teams, two national championship teams and a Rose Bowl championship team as well.

Today is absolutely a great day to remember Quentin Sickels. He, and his teammates, helped grow the legend of Michigan football. When Quentin played at Michigan, the Wolverines won just over eighty-eight percent (.882) of their games – wow, what a legacy! Thank you Quentin for your contributions to Michigan football. I hope that you have a very happy ninetieth birthday today – Go Blue!

To learn more about Quentin Sickels, check out the links below:

http://americanfootballdatabase.wikia.com/wiki/Quentin_Sickels

http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1948fbt.htm

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: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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