Today is a great day to celebrate the happy birthday anniversary of Garvie Craw. Garvie was born on this date in 1948. Sadly, this true-blue Michigan Man died on July 27, 2007. I am writing about Garvie Craw today for a number of reasons.
First, Garvie Craw played two seasons for Bump Elliott, but the hard-nosed Craw played in the first season of the Bo Schembechler Era at Michigan. Second, Garvie was one of the survivors of Bo’s first “Wolverine Basic Training Camp” in the spring of 1969. He saw Bo’s crazy sign that promised “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.” Craw became a “believer” when he played on Bo’s first co-Big Ten Championship team. Finally, Garvie did something very special during his senior year, but you will have to wait till the end of this post to find out! (Don’t peek – just read on!)
Garvie Craw came to Michigan from Montclair, New Jersey. He arrived in Ann Arbor in the fall of 1966. Garvie spent his first season learning Bump Elliott’s system and adjusting to life at the big “U.”
Craw was tough enough and good enough to earn three starts and a letter in 1967. He continued to contribute and play a lot in 1968. He started nine games at fullback and proved himself to be a selfless player who did the dirty work so that others could get the credit.
Garvie Craw probably loved playing for the likeable Bump Elliott, but new Michigan’s new Athletic Director, Don Canham, was looking to the future. Unfortunately, Bump Elliott was done coaching at Michigan after the 1968 season. Elliott was “bumped” into an assistant athletic director’s job (pun intended) to make way for a new guy named Schembechler.
Spring football in April 1969 was pure torture for the Michigan Football team. Bo scared them all and ran off the ones who were not ready to commit to his system. Garvie stayed, and played, and became a champion when the Wolverines upset the hated Buckeyes in November 1969.
Garvie Craw was exactly the kind of player that Bo Schembechler wanted in a fullback. He was tough, determined and committed to the run game. Garvie excelled in Schembechler’s system. He threw a ton of blocks to spring the tailbacks and got the tough yards when needed. I am sure that Bo loved having Garvie on his first Michigan team!
Speaking of firsts, let’s look at the “firsts” that connect Garvie Craw and Michigan football.
· Garvie was on the first Bo Schembechler team in 1969.
· Craw was Bo’s first starting fullback at Michigan and this is very important if you know how much Schembechler loved a good fullback!
· Garvie scored the first touchdown in the Bo Era on a short dive off right-tackle on September 20, 1969 against Vanderbilt.
· Craw scored the first (and second) Michigan touchdown(s) against Ohio State in 1969 to help secure the 24-12 victory!
· Garvie played on Bo’s first Big Ten Championship team in 1969.
So, Garvie Craw finished his Michigan career with twenty-two starts, three varsity letters, a Big Ten Co-Championship and a ton of memories. Craw, and his teammates on the 1969 team, raised the bar for Michigan Men who followed. Today is a wonderful day to celebrate the memory of Garvie Craw and appreciate his contributions to the great legacy that is Michigan Football. May Garvie Craw always rest in peace. Go Blue!
A tip of the cap to the Wolverine Historian for the great video of Bo’s first game against Vanderbilt. Garvie (#48) scores late in the first quarter and then the dam broke in on the Commodores!