Today’s post celebrates the memory of Mike Shatusky who went to rest in peace on this day in 2013. Michael “Mike” Shatusky was the pride of Menominee, Michigan. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War. When he returned home, Shatusky went to Ann Arbor to use his G.I Bill education benefits and play football for Coach Bennie Oosterbaan.
Mike Shatusky’s name first showed up on the 1954 Michigan Football Roster. He was listed as a freshman halfback, but did not have a number that season. Like other freshman in the 1950’s, he would spend his time hitting the books and getting hit on the freshman squad.
Mike’s name showed up again on the 1955 team roster. He came back for more, but only played a “reserve” role on the seventy-sixth team in Michigan football history. Shatusky did not earn a letter in his second year at Michigan.
Shatusky’s hard work and dedication finally paid off in 1956. He didn’t start any games that season, but he got on the field and showed Coach Oosterbaan what he could do. Mike scored two crucial touchdowns in Michigan’s narrow victory (17-14) at Iowa. The Wolverines finished the 1956 season with a record of 7 wins and 2 losses. They posted 5 wins and 2 losses in the Big Ten which earned them a second-place finish. The best news for Mike Shatusky was that he played enough football to earn his first varsity letter at Michigan!
Mike Shatusky’s senior year was his best season even though Michigan did not win as many games as expected in 1957. Mike started six games at right halfback and earned his second letter. Unfortunately, the Wolverines slipped to a record of 5 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie. They finished sixth in the Big Ten that year with a record of 3-3-1.
There are two final things of note about Mike Shatusky. First, Mike Shatusky played in the first game in the history of Michigan Football with over one-hundred-thousand people (101,001) in Michigan Stadium on October 6, 1956. Michigan State won that game by a score of 9-0. So, it was not a good day for Wolverine Nation. Second, Mike Shatusky was one of the best athletes to come out of the Upper Peninsula. He was a five-sport letterman at Menominee High School (football, basketball, tennis, golf and track). He earned all-state honors in football. Mike’s impressive athletic accomplishments in high school, and at Michigan, earned him a place in the Michigan Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1982.
So, today is a good day to remember another Michigan Man named Mike Shatusky. He earned two varsity letters and helped Michigan win twenty-five games during his four-year association with Wolverine football. His service to our country during the Korean War and his service to the Ann Arbor community were equally impressive. Fortunately, Mike Shatusky was on this earth for eighty-two years. As you will see from the articles linked below, he did a lot of “living” in those years. Thanks to Mike Shatusky for showing people how a true “Michigan Man” lives his life! May he always rest in peace. Go Blue!