Today, we celebrate the birthday anniversary of an unsung Michigan Man Frank Maloney. Frank Maloney was born on this date in Chicago, Illinois. He came to Ann Arbor from Chicago Mount Carmel High School, a school with an outstanding football tradition. So, I guess it was only natural, that Frank Maloney wanted to play football at a college with great football tradition. You can’t get better than Michigan when you look at it in those terms!
Frank Maloney arrived on campus in the fall of 1958 to pay football for Michigan legend Bennie Oosterbaan. While Maloney toiled on the freshman team that season, Coach Oosterbaan labored through his worst season at Michigan (2-6-1). Bennie resigned a few weeks after the season ended and Bump Elliott was announced as the new head coach at Michigan.
Frank would play his last three seasons under Coach Elliott. Although he was on the roster for the 1959 and 1960 seasons, he did not earn enough playing time to be included in the team photo for either season. Team photos were limited to” letter winners” so Maloney played a background role during his first two years on the Michigan varsity football team.
Frank’s dedication paid off in 1961 when he earned one start at right guard even though he was listed as a Center on the 1961 Michigan roster. The good news is that #56 was on the field enough in Bump’s third year to earn a Michigan football letter. I am certain that he is as proud of that letter as anything that he did later in his very successful life! (Note: The 1961 Michigan football roster listed one hundred-forty men and only thirty-eight earned a varsity letter.)
Bump Elliott predicted that it would take five years to rebuild Michigan football back into a championship program. Actually, it took six years before the Wolverines won the Big Ten title in 1964. Frank Maloney was part of the early re-building years from 1959 to 1961. Here is how the Wolverines fared in the first three years of Bump’s tenure and Frank’s time on the Michigan varsity football team.
|Year||Overall Record||Big Ten Record/Finish|
|1959||4-5-0||3-4-0 7th Place|
|1960||5-4-0||3-4-0 5th Place|
|1961||6-3-0||3-3-0 6th Place|
As always, I learned a couple of interesting notes about Frank Maloney’s Michigan career while researching this post. First, he was on the freshman team for Bennie’s last team and he was on Bump Elliott’s coaching staff in 1968 for Bump’s last season. Second, he stayed on to coach for Bo Schembechler’s first five teams (1969-1973). Finally, he left Bo’s staff to become Head Coach at Syracuse in 1974. In essence, Frank is connected to the men who led Michigan football for forty-two years! Wow – wouldn’t you like to take Frank to lunch some day and hear his Michigan football stories?
It is only fitting that we remember Frank Maloney on his special day. Thank you for your contributions to the great legacy that is Michigan Football! Happy Birthday Frank and Go Blue!
To learn more about the life and times of Frank Maloney and his strong connection to the Chicago Cubs check out the Wikipedia link below.