February 16, 2018 Happy Birthday Anniversary Donald C. Bracken

1983 Michigan Football team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Don Bracken (#28) is shown above with the 1983 Michigan Wolverine Football team. He is seated in the second row – second man from the right! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today is a great day to remember a Wolverine named Donald C. Bracken on his happy birthday anniversary. Donald Craig “Don” Bracken was born in Coalinga, California on this day in 1962.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day – Donald C. Bracken

According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Bracken’s family moved to Thermopolis, Wyoming while he was a middle schooler. Don Bracken grew up to be a good student and a very good high school punter. He put up NFL numbers in his senior year, averaging 46.7 yards per kick!

Bo knew he had to have the talented Bracken on his team. So, Schembechler recruited “Big Foot” Bracken and convinced him to come to Ann Arbor. Donald C. Bracken arrived on campus in 1980 and he was Bo’s kicker until he left in 1983.

The 1981 Michigan Football Media Guide stated that Bracken “had an outstanding freshman season. He vastly improved Michigan’s kicking game by averaging 42.7 yards per kick. His punt average was second best for freshman and fifteenth nationally.”  Bracken’s outstanding work in 1980 earned him Honorable Mention All-Big Ten by the Associated Press for the 1980 season.

Don Bracken Michigan Football 1983 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Don Bracken kicked his way into the Michigan record book from 1981 to 1983. He was a good one! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Donald C. Bracken was consistent and very effective for four consecutive seasons. He did his job at a very high level and kicked his way into the record books by the time he left Ann Arbor. He was an important part of two Big Ten Championship teams (1980 and 1982). He earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 1981.

Don Bracken was a great punter who really set the bar at a new level when he left Ann Arbor. Take a look at some of his amazing accomplishments.

  • First man to punt a ball 73-yards in the Rose Bowl (still the longest punt in Rose Bowl History!) in January 1981.
  • First man to record over 200 career punts (203) in 1980-1983.
  • First man to punt for over 8,000 yards (8,273) from 1980-1983.
  • First man to average over 56 yards per punt in a game (1981).
  • First man to average over 43 yards per game for a season (1981).
  • First man to average over 40 yards per punt for a career (40.8).

Sadly, Donald C. Bracken died on October 29, 2014 at the age of fifty-two. Please take a moment to remember Don Bracken’s contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. May he always rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!

For more information about Donald C. Bracken, check out the links below.





Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – February 15, 2018

Who was the first, and only, opposing coach to toss a chair into the stands at Michigan Stadium?

Part II. Trivia Question Answer for February 15, 2018 –  Woody Hayes

Yes, even if you didn’t have a clue about the answer to today’s question, Woody Hayes would have been a really good guess. Yes, Wayne Woodrow “Woody” Hayes won a lot of games in his career, but he also had some huge meltdowns when he didn’t win.

Woody is probably more famous in Ann Arbor for his tirade after Thom Darden’s interception in 1971. The controversial play helped seal the deal in Michigan’s 10-7 win over the Buckeyes. Hayes was kicking and throwing down markers and rolling up unsportsmanlike penalties by the dozen. It was a televised game, so it got lots of “air” time in Michigan.

However, Woody really lost it at Michigan Stadium in 1959. Michigan, in the midst of Bump Elliott’s first season, was having a rough campaign. The Maize and Blue footballers entered the game with a record of 3 wins and 5 losses. On the other hand, the Buckeyes rolled into Ann Arbor with 7 wins and 1 loss. Elliott’s Wolverines pulled off a huge upset and won the game by a score of 23-14. As John Borton wrote in his Wolverine Handbook, “By the end of the game, Woody Hayes had been reduced to slamming his coat on the ground and tossing a folding chair into the Michigan Stadium stands.” (Page 82)

Wow, Woody Hayes was a really good coach with a really bad temper. His final tantrum got the best of him in 1978 when he punched a Clemson football player on the sidelines and that was it!

Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – February 16, 2018

When, and where, did the first radio broadcast of a Michigan Football game take place?



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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