December 5, 2016 Happy Birthday Aaron Shea!

Michigan Football Team 1999 |
Aaron Shea (#36) is shown here with his teammates from the 1999 Michigan Football team. He is the second man from the right in the first row. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today’s post celebrates the birthday of Michigan Man and National Champion Aaron Shea. The talented Shea came to Ann Arbor from Ottawa, Illinois. He was an All-State football player at Ottawa High School. Although he was recruited to play fullback, Shea’s high school resume indicated that he could do just about anything on the football field except kick. According to the 1995 Michigan Football Media Guide, Aaron Shea played the following positions in high school: fullback, tailback, quarterback, linebacker, tight end and split end. He was also rated as the sixth best strong-side defensive end in the nation by the National Recruiting Advisor. That’s impressive!

Aaron Shea came to play football for Gary Moeller, but he ended up playing for Lloyd Carr. The versatile Shea enrolled at Michigan in 1995. He redshirted as a fullback, but converted to tight end. He did not see any game action in the 1995 season.

Shea started two games at tight end in his first two playing seasons (1996 and 1997). He played in twenty-four games on special teams and as a tight end. He made his first career start against Penn State on November 16, 1996 and caught a twenty-five yard touchdown pass. Aaron’s second start came at Michigan State on October 25, 1997 in that big win over the Spartans.

I think the highlight play of his career came in the Ohio State game on November 22, 1997. That was the game where a Buckeye blocked a point-after-touchdown attempt and another Ohio State player recovered it and took off for the Michigan end-zone and a two-point conversion. The hulking Shea (all 6 feet 5inches and 251 pounds of him) ran about seventy-yards and tackled the dastardly Buckeye. He saved two BIG points for the Maize and Blue. It was one of the greatest “hustle” plays I have ever seen at Michigan stadium. That play epitomized the championship mentality of that 1997 Michigan team. Go Blue!

Aaron Shea’s best season came in 1998 when the Michigan coaches decided to switch him back to fullback. He started six games at fullback that season and earned his third varsity letter. He rushed sixteen times for seventy-three yards and threw a ton of bone-crunching blocks for his teammates. More importantly, his tight end skills allowed him to record sixteen catches for one-hundred- fifty-four yards and one touchdown. His versatility and strong play earned him All-Big Ten honorable mention honors from the coaches and the media for the 1998 season.

Aaron Shea |

Aaron Shea (#36) touches the banner (Check out the “U”)before the Rice game in 1999. It was a fun game for Shea and the Wolverines – final score: Michigan 37 Rice 7. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

The seasoned Shea came back to have another strong season in 1999. He earned eleven starts at fullback and continued to run hard, block harder and catch whatever was thrown his way.

So, Aaron Shea proved to be a talented player that accomplished some impressive things at Michigan. He played in a ton of games and started eighteen games as a Wolverine. He played an important role on the 1997 National Championship team and was a two-time Big Ten champion (1997 & 1998). Aaron Shea proved himself to be an outstanding Michigan Man. He left Ann Arbor with his head held high.

I hope that Aaron Shea has a great time celebrating his special day today. Happy Birthday Aaron and thanks for the memories! Go Blue!

To read more about the life of Aaron Shea go to the links below:

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.
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