May 20, 2017 – Happy Birthday Stan Edwards!

Michigan Football Team 1979 | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Stan Edwards (#32) is shown above with the 1981 Michigan Football Team. He is seated in the first row-sixth man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

The purpose of today’s post is to wish a very Happy Birthday to a Wolverine named Stan Edwards. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Stanley J. “Stan” Edwards was born on this day in Detroit, Michigan. Stan grew up in Detroit and attended Kettering High School. He became a four-sport star, but football was his best sport. Bo Schembechler offered young Edwards a scholarship to play for Michigan and Edwards was smart enough to take it!

Stan Edwards arrived at Michigan in 1977 and he did something that a lot of running backs couldn’t do for Bo Schembechler. He played as a freshman and played very well. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry and scored one touchdown. Stan started the 1978 Rose Bowl and ran for 74-yards on 15 carries which averaged out to 4.9 yards per carry. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and Michigan lost another bowl game by the score of 20-27. Bo liked the hard-running Edwards and probably had BIG plans for him in 1978.

Stan Edwards Michigan Football 1981 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Stan Edwards was a four-year letterman for Bo Schembechler at tailback and fullback. He was a hammer! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan in life, or in football. Stan Edwards suffered a serious ankle injury prior to the 1978 season and he missed the entire campaign. The good news was that Edwards returned to action in 1979 and started the first seven games of the season at tailback. As luck (bad luck) would have it, Stan was injured in the Illinois game and only had seven carries for the rest of the season. Stan was on track for a really big year in 1979, but he still totaled 633-yards and continued to average 4.7 yards per carry. He also scored 4 touchdowns before his injury. Michigan ended the season with a record of 8 wins and 4 losses, but nobody was happy about it, especially Bo!

Stan Edwards came back in 1980 to have a healthy season and help Michigan win more games. As it turned out Bo had a plan to achieve both objectives. He switched Edwards to fullback and Stan went on to gain more yards in his third season (901) than he had earned in the first two (859). Yes, it was a breakout year for Edwards and he earned second team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts. Michigan finished the year with a record of 10 wins and 2 losses. More importantly, they won the Big Ten title with a perfect record of 8-0-0. Of course, the best news was that Stan Edwards, and his teammates, gave Bo his   first bowl win with a victory over Washington 23-6.

Bo Schembechler knew one thing for sure in 1981. He had one of the best fullbacks in the country in his backfield. Stan Edwards earned Honorable Mention All-American honors in 1980 and he was back to finish his outstanding Michigan career. Edwards performed well during Spring Drills and earned the Meyer Morton Award for showing the most development and promise for the upcoming season. Although his productivity went down in his final season, his importance to the team did not. He continued to run hard when called upon (446-yards), caught passes when needed (7 receptions for 2 TDs) and averaged 15.3 yards on kickoff returns. More importantly, he was a punishing lead blocker for Butch Woolfolk who earned All-American and All-Conference honors in 1981. Edwards earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 1981.

Stan Edwards vs Kansas 1979 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Stan Edwards had his first 100-yard rushing game against Kansas in 1979. He also scored a career best two touchdowns in that win over the Jayhawks. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Stan Edwards had an outstanding career at Michigan, He earned four varsity letters, helped win 37-games, played on three Big Ten Championship teams and earned the respect of his coaches and teammates. He also became part of some interesting Michigan Football “firsts.” Here are the ones I found for Stan Edwards:

  • Played on the first Schembechler coached Michigan team to lose four games in one season in 1979.
  • Played in the first game in Michigan football history where player names were put on the back of their jerseys in the Gator Bowl on December 28, 1979. (Thanks to Greg Dooley of MVictors.com for this information)
  • Played in the first game ever against South Carolina in 1980.
  • Played on Bo’s first 8-0-0 Big Ten season in the 1980s.
  • Played on Bo’s first bowl game winner on January 1, 1981 (23-6 over Washington).
  • Edwards was the first, and only, former Michigan player to send an All-American son (Braylon) to Michigan in 2004.

So, Stanley J. Edwards had quite a career at Michigan. He did just about everything a Wolverine can do on the football field. He went to a successful six-year career in the National Football League. Congratulations Stan Edwards on your outstanding Michigan football career. Thank you for your contributions to the great history of Michigan Football. I hope you have a very happy birthday on your special day! Go Blue!

For more information about Stan Edwards go to the following links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Edwards

http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/fbteam/1981fbt.htm

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: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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