March 8, 2018 Rest in Peace John W. Hollister!

MichgianFootball team 1895 |
John W. Hollister is shown above with the 1895 Michigan Football team. He is standing in the back row – second man from the left. Photo courtesy of he Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today’s post celebrates the memory of John W. Hollister who went to rest in peace on this day in 1950 at the age of eighty. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, John Willis Hollister was born on October 21, 1869 in North Pawlet, Vermont. He arrived in Ann Arbor in 1893 to study law and play football for the Michigan Wolverines. John W. Hollister is another one of those beloved “Pigskin Pioneers” that helped build the winningest program in college football history!

Part I. Wolverine of the Day – John W. Hollister

John Hollister is listed as a halfback on the 1893 Michigan Football Roster. He was described as a “varsity” player with a height of 5’ 8” and a weight of 163 pounds. Hollister’s hometown was listed as Beloit, Wisconsin. He lettered on the 1893 team and earned a spot in the team photograph which meant that he probably did just fine on a team that won 7 games and lost 3 times.

Apparently, John W. Hollister took a leave from his football and his studies to be the first football coach at Beloit College. His efforts were rewarded many years later when he was posthumously inducted into the Beloit College Hall of Honor in 1980 for starting the athletic tradition at Beloit. John Hollister returned to Michigan in the Fall of 1895 to finish his football and his legal studies.

John Hollister earned another letter on the 1895 Michigan football team that won 8 games and lost only 1 contest. It was the fourth straight season that Michigan won at least seven games. The Wolverines were becoming a very strong football program in the mid-1890s. They joined the Western Conference in 1896 and, as they say, “the rest is history.”

John W. Hollister Michigan Footall 1895 |

John W. Hollister is another Michigan Wolverine “Pigskin Pioneer” who helped build a great football tradition in Ann Arbor. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

So, halfback John W. Hollister was an important player in his two years of Michigan football. He scored three touchdowns in a 42-0 win over the Detroit Athletic Club and played a lot of good football for the Wolverines.

John W. Hollister did some coaching after he graduated from the Michigan Law School in 1896. He finished his career doing legal work in the publishing industry in Chicago. Hollister died in 1950. Today is a great day to remember a “Michigan Man” who made excellent contributions to the early history of Michigan Football. May John W. Hollister continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!

Part II. Trivia Question of the Day – March 7, 2018

Michigan has only had one “winless” season in one-hundred and thirty-eight years of football. What year did the Wolverines lose every game?

Part II. Trivia Answer of the Day – March 7, 2018 – 1881  

The third season of Michigan Football certainly wasn’t a “charm” for the Wolverines. Team Captain Walter Horton decided that Michigan needed to take on the best teams if they wanted to be the best team in the west. So, Horton arranged a three-game schedule that had three of the best teams in the East.

Yes, the Wolverines played at Harvard, Yale and Princeton in the span of five days. None of the games were really blowouts, but Michigan did lose all three contests. The Wolverines failed to score in the first two (0-4 at Harvard and 0-11 at Yale). Michigan did manage to score, but lost the final game to Princeton (4-13).

So, that’s the short story about Michigan’s only winless season. It was also the only season that every game was played on the road. The good news is − our Wolverines have been pretty good since that tough season in 1881. Go Blue!

Part III. Trivia Question of the Day – March 8, 2018

When did Michigan play their first Homecoming game?

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: You can also follow him on Social Media.
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