February 14, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Frank Allen

Michigan Football Team 1880 | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Frank Allen with the 1880 Michigan Football team. He is seated in the middle row – third from the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today’s post is an opportunity to remember Frank Allen on his Happy Birthday Anniversary. Frank Gates Allen was born on this date in 1858 in Illinois. So, that makes him another one of my favorite Michigan Wolverine “Pigskin Pioneers.”

Frank Allen grew up in Aurora, Illinois. He arrived at The University of Michigan in 1878, just in time to play on the first football team in Michigan athletic history. Allen’s name shows up on the first two Michigan Football rosters in 1879 and 1880. He is listed as a “forward” and was a letter winner for both teams even though he is not pictured with the 1879 team.

Apparently, Frank Allen did not play in the first game in Michigan Football history against Racine College in May 1879. He was listed a starter against Toronto in November. That game ended in a scoreless tie.

Frank Allen came back to play on the 1880 team which only played one game. Once again, it was against Toronto and Michigan won the game by a score of 13-6.

Here is a summary of the “firsts” that connect Frank Allen and Michigan football:

·         He was the first man from Illinois ever to play football at Michigan (November 1879).

·         Frank Allen was the first Michigan Wolverine football player to be born on Valentine’s Day (1858)!

·         Allen was one of the first six men to play two seasons of football at Michigan in 1879 and 1880.

·         He played in the first Michigan football game in a foreign country (Canada) in November 1880.

·         Allen played in the first tie (0-0) in Michigan football history against Toronto in November 1879.

So, today is a good day to honor the memory of a Michigan Man and appreciate his contributions to Michigan football. Frank Allen was a proud member of Team #1. He was a true “pigskin pioneer.” Allen helped get Michigan football established in Ann Arbor and now, one-hundred and thirty-seven years later, it is still going STRONG! Frank Allen went on to a successful business career that you can read about in the Wikipedia article below. Allen died on August 30, 1940 at the age of eighty-two. So, on the one-hundred fifty-ninth anniversary of his birth, let us remember the contributions of Frank Allen to Michigan Football. May he always 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: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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