Today is a good day to celebrate the Happy Birthday Anniversary of Tommy Hughitt. Unfortunately, it is also the day to remember him on the day he died in 1961.
Ernest Fredrick “Tommy” Hughitt was born on this day in 1892. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, he was born in Genoa, British Columbia. However, he grew up in Escanaba, Michigan. He left his family and friends on December 27, 1961 at the age of sixty-nine. It is most unusual for a man to die on the day he was born, but Tommy Hughitt is one of those rare men who did it!
Tommy Hughitt squeezed a lot of life into his sixty-nine-year time on this planet. He had a relatively uneventful high school football career, but blossomed at Michigan under legendary Coach, Fielding H. Yost.
Hughitt enrolled at Michigan in 1911 and spent his freshman year going to class and learning how to play football the “Michigan Way.” Apparently, he learned his lessons well. Tommy earned three starts at halfback and a letter as a sophomore which was not an easy thing to do for Coach Yost. The 1912 Wolverine football team finished with a record of 5 wins and 2 losses. They didn’t play any conference games that year because they left the Western Conference in 1907. They were the Michigan “Independents” from 1907 to 1916.
Tommy played well enough in 1912 to convince Coach Yost that he was ready for a bigger role in 1913. He earned the starting quarterback job in fall camp and kept the coveted title until the end of his Michigan career in 1914.
Tommy Hughitt was not a big man (5’ 8” tall and 159 pounds), but he played bigger than his size! He proved to be a very capable passer and an effective runner. Huggitt was also a punter and place kicker – he could do it all and he did! He led the Michigan offense to the end zone in every game, but one. Michigan was shutout (0-7) by Harvard on October 31, 1914.
Michigan won 12 games and lost 4 during the Hughitt Years. Remember, these were the “independent” years at Michigan and they played their biggest games against Eastern powers like Harvard, Syracuse, Pennsylvania and Cornell.
Hughitt led Michigan to a record of 6-1-0 in 1913. The only loss was quite upsetting. The Wolverines lost to the Aggies from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) by a score of 7-12. It was the first Michigan loss to the farmers from East Lansing – ugh! Hughitt ran the offense effectively in 1913 and scored four touchdowns. Coach Yost thought highly enough of Hughitt’s play to put him on the 1913 Yost All-American Team. Hughitt’s honor from Coach Yost is not recognized by the Michigan athletic department as a “legitimate” All-American award, but it was still well-deserved.
Senior Tommy Hughitt returned to lead the Wolverines in 1914. Expectations were high, but Michigan didn’t quite live up to the challenge of a nine-game season. Michigan won the first five games of the season against regional competition. They also avenged the defeat to MAC. However, things got tougher in late October when they lost two straight to Syracuse and Harvard.
Hughitt became the first and only Michigan quarterback to lead his team to back-to-back wins over Pennsylvania in 1914. He followed up a 13-0 win in 1913 with a 34-3 victory on November 7, 1914. Michigan played Pennsylvania twelve times from 1906 to 1917 and posted a record of 4 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties against the Quakers. Hughitt finished at 2-0-0 as a Michigan quarterback. Well done Tommy!
Tommy Hughitt and his Wolverines finished with a record of 6 wins and 3 defeats in 1914. He earned the Heston-Schultz Trophy for being the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1914. Tommy Hughitt was a successful football player at Michigan. He went on to play professionally and coach as well. To read more about Tommy Hughitt check out the links below.
So, it is most appropriate to remember a true-blue Michigan Man today. Tommy Hughitt played on three Michigan teams that won seventeen games for the Maize and Blue. He has been an important part of Michigan football for one-hundred and six years! Let’s remember Tommy Hughitt today and appreciate his contributions to the great history of Michigan football! May Ernest Fredrick “Tommy” Hughitt always rest in peace. Go Blue!