Today’s post celebrates the memory of George W. Gregory who went to rest in peace on this day in 1946. He was sixty-seven years old when he died. George W. Gregory was born on April 19, 1879 in California. Yes, the story of this Wolverine “Pigskin Pioneer” goes way back to the Nineteenth Century!
According to the Wikipedia article linked below, George Gregory enrolled at Stanford University in 1900. He wanted to study law and play football. His coach was a young vagabond named Fielding H. Yost. Yost was coaching his fourth different team in four years. It seemed like he couldn’t keep a job, but he had an excellent record.
Yost’s team posted a record of 7 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie in 1900. However, it wasn’t good enough. After the season, the athletic board decided that only Stanford graduates would coach at Stanford. So, Yost was looking for a job, for the fifth straight season. As it turned out, he landed at Michigan. The rest, as they say, is history!
George Gregory probably liked playing for Coach Yost since he followed him to Ann Arbor for the 1901 season. Maybe Gregory knew something that nobody else knew.
Gregory was on Yost’s first team in Ann Arbor and it was a good one! In fact, it was one of the greatest teams in college football history. Gregory started all eleven games of Michigan’s first perfect season of 11-0-0. The Wolverines also won the Western Conference Championship and were declared National Champions. In an ironic turn of events, Yost, Gregory and the rest of the Michigan Football team returned to California to play in the first Rose Bowl game against Stanford. Of course, Michigan won the game by a score of 49-0 and it wasn’t even that close.
George W. Gregory’s next two seasons in Ann Arbor were almost exactly the same as his first. Michigan continued to win, and win BIG. By the time he finished law school, George Gregory was a member of some of the greatest teams in Michigan Football History. The Wolverines posted a record of 33 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie during the time that Gregory played at Michigan. He started thirty-two games and became a fixture on Yost’s offensive and defensive lines.
George Gregory earned three varsity letters during his time at Michigan. He was a three-time conference and national champion. Yes, he played on some great teams. In addition to being an excellent player, George W. Gregory is also connected to some interesting football “firsts” at Michigan.
- George W. Gregory was a member of the first team that Fielding Yost coached at Michigan in 1901.
- Gregory played in the first Rose Bowl game against his old team, Stanford, in January 1902.
- George Gregory was a member of the first team in Michigan Football history to win 11 games and claim a National Championships.
- Gregory was a member of the first Michigan team to play games against Drake, Ferris State, and Ohio Northern in 1903 and Michigan won them all. This was also the first ten game “Home” game season in Michigan Football history.
- George W. Gregory was also on the team for the first ever games against Nebraska and Vanderbilt in 1905 and Michigan won them both.
George Gregory earned the nickname “Dad” while he played for the Wolverines since he was 22-years old when he arrived in Ann Arbor. Of course, he earned the respect of the younger players and helped lead them to three straight undefeated seasons.
Today is a great day to appreciate the contributions of men like George W. “Dad” Gregory to the great history of Michigan Football. He is still an important part of a great legacy. May George W. Gregory continue to rest in eternal peace! Go Blue!