November 27, 2016 Happy Birthday Anniversary William H. Mace!

Michigan Football 1883 |
There is no known photograph of the 1882 Michigan Football team. So this picture of the 1883 team is the closest I could get to go along with this post. William H. Mace was not on the 1883 team, but he practiced with 7 of the men in this picture in 1882. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today’s post celebrates the Happy Birthday Anniversary of William H. Mace. Actually, William Harrison Mace was born near Lexington, Indiana in 1852. Yes, that was a very, very, very long time ago. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Mace left the family farm to attend the Indiana State Normal School. He graduated in 1876 with his teaching credentials.

William Mace taught for a number of years in Indiana, but got the urge to return to school. He enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1881. After being on campus for one year, he decided to give the game of “football” a try.  So, at thirty years of age, he joined the Wolverine football team. I doubt that he was the youngest man on the team so maybe his nickname was “pops” or Grandpa for taking up the game at a later age!

The 1882 team was captained by William J. Olcott. The Bentley Historical Library lists a starting lineup of  nine players and a full roster of thirteen for the 1882 team. I don’t know if the Wolverines did not have enough players to compete with outside teams in 1882 or if they just couldn’t schedule any games. Whatever the reason, the Michigan Wolverine varsity did not play any other teams in 1882 for the first and only time in their football history.

Even though the 1882 football team played no outside games, eleven men were awarded varsity letters and William H. Mace was one of them. Mace was listed as a rusher so he could mix it up at the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, he played the same position as Michigan football legend, Horace G. Prettyman, who was also a rusher on the 1882 football team.

William Mace |

William H. Mace was on the 1882 Michigan football team. He went on to a distinguished career as an educator, school administrator and university professor. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

After graduating from Michigan in 1883, Mace went on to become a superintendent of schools in Iowa. He left his duties as school superintendent in 1885 to join the faculty of DePauw University Normal School where he served as a professor of history. He continued to work in a variety of positions at the university level until his retirement in 1916. William H. Mace authored a number of books and articles about history during his distinguished career. William H. Mace died on August 11, 1938 at the age of eighty-five.

So, today is a good day to remember another man who contributed to the great history of the University of Michigan’s football program. May William Harrison Mace rest in peace on the one-hundred sixty-fifth anniversary of his birth. Go Blue!

To read more about this fascinating Michigan Man check out the links below.


Just in case you’re wondering, I saw the game yesterday, every single minute, including the painful ones in the fourth quarter that seemed way too long, and, of course, the overtime which ended too soon! The 2016 version of “The Game” lived up to all the hype and then some. It was a great game for college football, just not for Michigan. We had way too many BIG mistakes to win in Columbus. It never should have never gone to overtime. Michigan should have been on the bus heading back to Ann Arbor by the time Buckeye Nation started celebrating another win over our beloved Wolverines. The good news is that we didn’t get blown out like last year (42-13) so we are back to where we wanted to be – even with the Buckeyes. Now, it would be nice if we could beat them. Losing to the scarlet and gray is getting old, but we will have to wait until next year to get that done! Time to move on and hope that the Wolverines can get victory number eleven before this season is done! Go Blue!


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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