Today is a good day to remember a Michigan Man named Cecil Gooding who continues to rest in peace on this day. Cecil Gooding was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and seemed destined to be a Michigan Wolverine. He was an excellent football player at Ann Arbor High School. Cecil enrolled at Michigan in fall of 1901 and signed up to play football for a new coach named Fielding Yost.
Initially, Cecil Gooding was a reserve player on the 1901 and 1902 Wolverine teams that were dominating college football. The Wolverines posted back-to-back eleven win seasons. And, Michigan was on a twenty-two-game winning streak after Coach Yost’s first two seasons. All this winning earned the Wolverines two straight Big Ten Championships and two national championships as well. Although Cecil did not letter in his first two seasons, Coach Yost liked what he saw in young Gooding.
Cecil Gooding came back ready and eager for his junior year. The 1903 season turned out to be another undefeated season for the Wolverines (they tied one game vs Minnesota 6-6 and lost a jug in the process). Fielding Yost’s footballers finished his third season with a record of 11 wins 0 losses and 1 tie. Although Michigan’s winning streak was halted at twenty-nine games, the Wolverines remained undefeated in thirty-four straight games at the end of the 1903 season.
Junior Cecil Gooding had his best season in 1903. He became the first man in Michigan football history to start twelve straight games at right guard in the same season. Of course, he earned his first letter in that memorable season. Sadly, Cecil Gooding became the first Michigan football player to die while still a student at Michigan. Apparently, Cecil Gooding drank some bad water during the trip to Chicago in November 1903. He was very ill for about five weeks before he died of typhoid fever on January 5, 1904. Cecil Gooding was only twenty years old at the time of his death.
Even though he died tragically, Cecil Gooding had many good things associated with his time at Michigan. He was a member of Fielding Yost’s first three teams. He was a member of Michigan’s first three national championship teams. Gooding was also on the first three Michigan teams to win eleven games.
I believe that Cecil Gooding was a strong candidate for All-American honors if he had lived to play the 1904 season. He was that good! So, today is a good day to remember Cecil Gooding and his contributions to the great history of Michigan football. May he always rest in peace! Go Blue!