Michigan Wolverines football
Fritz Crisler (1942–1968)
Don Canham (1968–1988)
10 year, 51–42–2 (.547)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Maize and Blue
The History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Elliott years covers the history of the University of Michigan Wolverines football program during the period from the promotion of Bump Elliott as head coach in 1959 through his resignation after the 1968 season. Michigan was a member of the Big Ten Conference and played its home games at Michigan Stadium during the Elliott years. During the 10 years in which Elliott served as head football coach, Michigan compiled a record of 51–42–2 (.547) and claimed one Big Ten championship, one Rose Bowl victory, and two Chicago Tribune Silver Football awards for the most valuable player in the Big Ten. However, the Wolverines finished higher than third place in the Big Ten only twice.
The 1964 team compiled a 9–1 record, won the Big Ten championship, defeated Oregon State in the 1965 Rose Bowl, and finished the season ranked No. 4 in both the AP and UPI polls. Quarterback Bob Timberlake was selected as an All-American and won the 1964 Chicago Tribune Silver Football award. After losing to Michigan by a 34–7 score in the Rose Bowl, Oregon State coach Tommy Prothro opined that the 1964 Wolverines were “the greatest football team he has ever seen.”
In Elliott’s final year as head coach, the 1968 team compiled an 8–2 record (6–1 Big Ten) and was ranked No. 12 in the final AP Poll. Running back Ron Johnson won the Chicago Tribune Silver Football award and broke Michigan’s single-game and single-season rushing records. Johnson’s 347-yard rushing performance against Wisconsin still stands as Michigan’s single-game record. The 1968 team also included a core of young players who became stars in the early years of the Schembechler era.
Four Michigan football players from the Elliott years have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. They are Tom Curtis (halfback and defensive back, 1967–1969), Dan Dierdorf (offensive tackle, 1968–1970), Ron Johnson (halfback, 1966–1968), and Jim Mandich (tight end, 1967–1969). Dierdorf and a fifth player, Tom Mack (tackle, 1963–1965), have been in