Today’s post celebrates the birth of Michigan Man Stanfield Wells. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Stanfield McNeil Wells was born on this day in 1889. Wells grew up to become an outstanding athlete at Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio. Somehow, he escaped Ohio and enrolled at Michigan in 1908.
Stanfield Wells is listed as a reserve fullback on the 1908 Michigan Football Roster. I am sure he worked hard to learn Fielding Yost’s football system. He played on the freshman team and focused on getting ready to play for Michigan in 1909.
The 1909 season was the third straight season that Michigan played as an “independent.” Stanfield Wells accepted a challenge from coach Yost and switched from fullback to the offensive line. He started seven games at right tackle and earned his first varsity letter. Michigan ended the season with a final record of 6 wins and 1 loss.
Stanfield came back in 1910 for his second season on Yost’s varsity. Once again, Wells demonstrated that he was a superb team player. Mr. Yost needed someone to play right tackle and right end. So, guess what happened? Yes, Stanfield started 3 games at right tackle and 3 games at right end. Wells played both positions as well as he could, but he earned All-American honors for his excellent work on the outside.
Wells probably earned his All-American honors with his stellar play in the final game against undefeated Minnesota. It was the first time that Michigan played the Gophers for the “Little Brown Jug” that was left in Minneapolis in 1903. In the fourth quarter, with the scored tied at 0-0, Stanfield Wells went to work. He threw two long passes to Stan Borleske to get Michigan close to the Minnesota goal-line with minutes remaining. Then, Wells made three hard runs at the stout Minnesota defense. He was stopped on his first two tries. However, Stanfield drove hard on his third carry of the final drive and scored the only points of the game. Michigan won the game, and the “Jug,” by a final score of 6-0. Michigan finished the 1910 season with a final record of 3 wins, 0 losses and 3 ties.
Stanfield Wells returned for his senior year in 1911. Once again, he continued to do whatever he could do to help Michigan win football games. Wells started 4 games at right end and 3 games at right halfback. He earned his third varsity letter and helped Michigan post another winning season. The Wolverines ended the 1911 season with a final record of 5 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties.
Fielding Yost would probably say that Stanfield Wells was one of the most versatile and talented players who ever played for him at Michigan. Wells did what Coach Yost asked him to do and he did it well. He played in the “independent” years and helped Michigan post a record of 14 wins, 2 losses and 5 ties from 1909 to 1911. Wells earned All-American honors during his playing days and left Ann Arbor with 3 varsity letters.
Stanfield Wells was a winner at Michigan. He is also connected to some interesting Wolverine “football” firsts. Here are the ones I could find:
- Stanfield Wells played in the first ever game against Marquette (a 6-5 win) in 1909.
- Wells also played in the first game that Michigan ever lost to Notre Dame (3-11) in 1909.
- Stanfield Wells played a major role in one of the first Michigan wins that can be attributed to the forward pass in a win over Minnesota in 1910.
After graduating from Michigan in 1912, Stanfield Wells enjoyed a successful career in the insurance business. He passed away on August 17, 1967 at the age of seventy-eight. Wells epitomized the spirit of a true, blue Michigan Man. May Stanfield Wells continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!