Today is the Happy Birthday anniversary of Paul White. Mr. White was born on this date in 1921. Paul Grover White came to Ann Arbor from River Rouge where he was an outstanding high school football player.
Paul White arrived on campus in the Fall of 1940. It was the third year of the Fritz Crisler Era and Michigan football was back on the rise. White spent a year on the freshman team learning the Michigan football system, which is what everybody did in those days.
Sophomore Paul White made three starts at right halfback in 1941. He played enough to earn a letter on a team that won six games, lost one and tied one.
Paul White’s Junior year (1942) was his most productive as a Wolverine. He started ten games (9 at right halfback and 1 at left halfback) and scored seven touchdowns. White’s impressive play helped Michigan win seven of ten games.
Michigan was expecting big things from Paul G. White in 1943. He was elected team captain and did his best to set the right example for his teammates. White’s season was off to a very good start. He scored two touchdowns and intercepted one pass in Michigan’s first four games. The second ranked Wolverines were 3-0-0 heading into a battle with number one Notre Dame. Michigan lost to the Fighting Irish by a score of 12-35.
Prior to the Minnesota game on October 23, 1943, Paul White received orders for military duty that would end his captaincy at five games. He played well and so did Michigan. Final Score: Wolverines 49 Gophers 6. Michigan went on to win their last five games and finished with a record of 8 wins 1 loss and 0 ties. More importantly, they finished with a perfect record of 6-0-0 in the Big Ten Conference and won the championship. It was Fritz Crisler’s first conference title after five years of second, third and fourth place finishes.
Paul White served his country honorably and returned to Ann Arbor in the Fall of 1946 to finish his education and his college football career. Michigan was loaded with talent that year. Veterans from previous Michigan teams filled every positon. Crisler had “star” level players that gave him great depth throughout the lineup.
Paul White played a lot of football in 1946 and started three games at right halfback. Michigan finished the season with a record of 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie. They finished second in the conference that year.
Paul G. White finished his Michigan career as a four-year letterman. He was one of few Michigan Men to be called “Captain” even though it was for five games in 1943. In addition to his athletic prowess, Paul White was also a pretty smart guy.
Here are some Michigan Football “firsts” tat connect Paul White to Michigan Football:
· Paul White played in the first ever game against Pittsburgh in 1941. Michigan won the game by a score of 40-0.
· White also played in the first ever games against Great Lakes Naval Training Center (Won 9-0) and Iowa Pre-Flight (Lost 14-26) in 1942.
· In 1943, Paul G. White became the first, and only elected Michigan football captain, to serve his team for five games. He left for military duty after he helped his team defeat Minnesota (49-6) on Homecoming Day.
· Paul G. White is the only Michigan athlete to be a two-time winner of the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor. He earned the award in 1944 and again in 1947.
So, on the ninety-seventh anniversary of his birth, let’s remember Paul G. White. He was a member of America’s “Greatest Generation.” He contributed to the history of Michigan Football and, more importantly, to the safety and freedom of the world. Let’s celebrate his efforts as an athlete, scholar, and soldier. Paul White died on June 3, 1974. May Michigan Man Paul G. White always rest in peace! Go Blue!
To read more about the life of Paul G. White go to the links below: