September 3, 2017 Happy Birthday Anniversary Paul Woodworth!

1892 Michigan Football Team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Paul Woodworth is shown above with the 1892 Michigan Football team. He is standing in the back row – first man on the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today is a good day to celebrate a Happy Birthday Anniversary for a Wolverine named Paul Woodworth. When you talk about Michigan’s Football “pioneers” you have to mention the name of Paul Woodworth. He was born on this date in 1869 and came to Ann Arbor from Pigeon, Michigan.

Woodworth played “end” at Michigan in 1891 and 1892. According to the 1892 team roster, he was weighed in at 165 pounds.

Frank Crawford Michigan Football 1892 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Paul Woodworth played on the first Michigan Football team to have a hired coach in 1892. Frank Crawford, shown above, coached Michigan to a record of 4 wins and 5 losses. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Woodworth’s first team (1891) was also the first Michigan team to be led by a full-time coach – Frank Crawford. Mike Murphy, who was primarily a trainer, is also given credit by some experts as being a “co-coach” with Crawford. Regardless of who was in charge, the team ended the season with a losing record of 4 wins and 5 losses. Frank Crawford and Mike Murphy did not return for the 1892 season.

Woodworth’s second team (1892) fared better under new coach Frank Barbour who led the team to a record of 7 wins and 5 losses.

Although he only played for two years, Paul Woodworth is connected to a number of important Michigan Football “firsts” from 1891 to 1892. Here is a summary of the best ones I could find:

  • Paul Woodworth played on the first team to have a paid coach named Frank Crawford in 1891.
  • Woodworth played on the first Michigan Football team to lose 5 games in 1891.
  • Paul Woodworth played on the first team coached by Frank Barbour in 1892.
  • Woodworth played on the first Michigan team to win 7 games in 1892.
  • Paul Woodworth was on the first Michigan Football team to score over 70 points and win by a 70  point margin in a 74-0 win over the Michigan Athletic Association (MAA) on October 8, 1892. It was also the first game ever against MAA.
  • Woodworth was on the first Michigan Football team to play twelve games in one season.

So, Paul Woodworth was part of the very early Michigan football tradition. After graduation from Michigan’s Law School he became a successful attorney in Michigan’s “thumb” region. I do not know the exact date of his death.

Paul Woodworth helped Michigan win 11 games in two years. As of this writing, the Wolverines now total 936 victories – the most in the history of  college football! Thanks to men like Paul Woodworth, Michigan’s Football  tradition is second to none! Let’s celebrate the memory of Paul Woodworth and his fellow Michigan football “Pigskin Pioneers. May Paul Woodworth continue to Rest in 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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