Today’s post is dedicated to the memory of a Wolverine great named Mervin “Merv” Pregulman. Mr. Pregulman went to rest in peace on this date in 2012. He was ninety years old at the time of his death. I am certain that Merv Pregulman had a rich, full life and few, if any, regrets.
Merv Pregulman was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1922. I think that he, along with Harry Kipke, is one of the two greatest Wolverines ever born in Lansing, Michigan!
Yes, Merv Pregulman came to play football for Michigan and Fritz Crisler in 1940. He put in his time as a freshman and did his best to learn the Michigan Football system. I think he learned his lessons well! After two games in his Sophomore, Pregulman became a starting right guard and never stopped playing until his career ended in 1943.
Mervin “Merv” Pregulman was tough and he was smart. He became Coach Crisler’s most versatile lineman. During his three years on the Michigan varsity he started six games at right guard, ten games at center and six games at right tackle. Oh, by the way, he was also an accurate placekicker too!
Fortunately, Merv Pregulman’s outstanding play was recognized early on as he won the Meyer Morton Award in 1941 as the most improved Wolverine. He continued to play at a high level in 1942 and earned All-Big Ten honors at center. Even though he and his teammates were winning a lot of games they continued to come up short in the conference. After tying for second in 1941, the Wolverines slipped to third place in 1942.
Fortunately, Mervin “Merv” Pregulman’s career ended on a high-note! His stellar play earned him All-American recognition in 1943. More importantly, he also helped the Wolverines give Coach Fritz Crisler his first Big Ten Championship in 1943. Michigan went 8-1 that year and 6-0 in the conference. Their only loss was to the top ranked Fighting Irish in early October.
Pregulman, and his talented teammates, finished the 1943 season with a career record of 21 wins, 5 losses and 1 tie. They won almost eighty-percent of their games (.796) and a Big Ten Championship to boot! In fact, Merv Pregulman and his fellow lineman became known as the “Seven Oak Posts” for their toughness and hard-nosed play.
After his career at Michigan, Mervin “Merv” Pregulman did what most men of his era did. He served his country in World War II as a Navy officer. He returned home and fulfilled his dream of playing professional football. After four years in the “league” he went into the steel business in Tennessee. Merv Pregulman continued to serve his community and the University of Michigan for many, many years.
Despite all of his wonderful accomplishments, Mervin “Merv” Pregulman would not be the subject of today’s post if he wasn’t part of some interesting “firsts” during his time at Michigan. Here are the best ones I could find for Mr. Pregulman:
· Mervin “Merv” Pregulman played in the first ever game against Pittsburgh in 1941.
· Merv Pregulman played in the first ever games against Great Lakes Naval Training Center and Iowa Pre-Flight in 1942.
· Pregulman played in the first, and only, game ever against Camp Grant in 1943.
· Merv Pregulman played on Fritz Crisler’s first Big Ten Co-Championship team in 1943.
Merv Pregulman was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. He earned a place in Michigan’s Hall of Honor in 1988 along with many other noteworthy awards. He was simply a marvelous Michigan Man for his entire life! You can read more about his amazing life in the Wikipedia link below.
Please take a moment to reflect on the life of a true Wolverine legend. Mervin “Merv” Pregulman lived a long and fruitful life. He left his family, friends and admirers on this day five years ago. I am sure he is sorely missed. Thank you Merv Pregulman for your outstanding contributions to Michigan football and for your service to America. Go Blue!