Glen R. C. Failing is another one of the many unknown and unsung heroes of Michigan football. He was born on this date in 1878 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He came to Ann Arbor to play on Fielding Yost’s famous “Point-a-Minute” teams in the early 1900s. Apparently, Glen Failing never played in a Michigan game, but he was listed as one of thirty “reserve” players on the 1903 team roster. Although the1903 Wolverine roster listed sixty-four players only twelve men appeared in the team photo that year which was reserved for varsity letter winners only! Yost was not inclined to play a lot of players and he almost always put the best possible team on the field.
Obviously, a lot of players had trouble cracking Yost’s starting line-up and Glen Failing was one of them. Failing was not listed on the 1902 roster or the 1904 roster either. He was probably a “one and done” player and you really can’t blame him for losing interest in football.
The 1903 team was riding a game twenty-two winning streak in the third year of Fielding Yost’s amazing start at Michigan. They finished with a record of 11 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie and ended the season with an unbeaten string of thirty-four games. The only blemish on that stellar season was a 6-6 tie at Minnesota. Oh yes, they also “lost” a water jug. That little jug is now the centerpiece in the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry and is now called the “Little Brown Jug.”
So, even though he was not a “famous” Wolverine, Glen Failing was a Wolverine nonetheless. He was part of a record-breaking time in Michigan football history. There have been lots of other men who came to Michigan with high hopes of playing football for the Maize and Blue, but you have to give them credit for trying. On the one hundred thirty-eighth anniversary of Glen Failing’s birthday, let’s remember the effort he put forth on the practice field and honor his small, but important, contribution to the Michigan football tradition. Rest in peace Glen Failing!
Check out the 1903 Michigan Football Team Roster: