Today is a great day to remember a Wolverine named Howard Felver on his happy birthday anniversary. Howard C. Felver was born on this day in 1877. Yes, was a real Michigan “Pigskin Pioneer!” Felver’s family settled in Batavia, Illinois. Howard made his way from Batavia to Ann Arbor in 1896 to matriculate at Michigan and play some football.
The 1896 Michigan Football Roster listed Howard Felver as a Quarterback. He may have started some games for first year coach William Ward, or, maybe not. However, he did play enough to earn a letter in his first year on the varsity. Ward’s first, and only, Michigan team finished with an excellent record of 9 wins and 1 loss.
Despite his success, William Ward was asked to leave after the 1896 season. Michigan decided that they wanted to have an alumni coach the team and Gustave Ferbert, who starred for Ward, was the top choice to replace Ward.
Gustave Ferbert led the Wolverines to another successful season in 1897. Michigan finished the year with a record of 6 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. Once again, it appeared that Howard Felver played a lot of good football for the Wolverines. He earned his second Michigan football letter at the end of the season.
So, Howard Felver finished his Wolverine career with two varsity letters and 15 wins in 18 games. The Wolverines won just over eighty-six percent (.861) of their games during this period which was very impressive!
Of course, Howard C. Felver would not be the subject of today’s post if he wasn’t associated with some Michigan “football firsts.” Here are the ones that I could find:
· First man from Batavia, Illinois to play for Michigan.
· Played in the first, and only, season of the Coach William Ward Era in 1896.
· Played on the first team to compete for the Western Conference championship in 1896. (Michigan finished in second place with a record of 2-1-0.
· Played in the first game in Michigan football history against Michigan Normal (now EMU) on October 3, 1896. (UM won 18-0)
· Played in the first, and only, game in Michigan Football History against Grand Rapids High School on October 10, 1896. (UM won 44-0)
· Played in the first game against P & S Chicago on October 15, 1896. (UM won 28-0)
· Played in the first game against Lehigh on October 31, 1896. (UM won 40-0)
· Played in the first indoor game in Michigan Football History against Chicago in the Chicago Coliseum on 11/26/1896. (UM lost 12-21)
· Played in the first Homecoming game in Michigan football history against a talented group of alumni on October 30, 1897. (UM lost 0-15)
Wow, that was a lot of firsts for Howard Felver. He played an important role in building a winning tradition at Michigan. Today is a great day to remember a “Michigan Man” who contributed to the great history that is Michigan football! May Howard C. Felver always rest in peace. Go Blue!