University of Michigan Football
All-American, 1903, 1904
Team Captain, 1904
Willie Heston was the third Michigan player to be named to the All-American team and the first to be chosen by Walter Camp. He was also chosen on several All-Time All-American teams. Unequaled at hitting a line, Heston also had one of the fastest starts in football, and reputedly could out run Michigan's Olympic 100 meter gold medalist Archie Hahn over 20 yards.
William Martin Heston was born September 9, 1878 in Galesburg, Illinois. Soon after Willie turned sixteen his family headed west, settling in Grants Pass, Oregon where was a standout student and athlete. Heston first enrolled in college at San Jose Normal in California. Fielding Yost, then head coach at Stanford, did a bit of informal coaching at San Jose on the side and was quickly impressed with Heston's ability. Soon after Yost took the coaching job at Michigan in 1901, Heston followed his tracks to Ann Arbor.
During Heston's four year career, 1901-1904, Yost's "point-a-minute" teams compiled a 43-0-1 record and were credited with four national championships. Heston re-wrote the Michigan record book, his 72 career touchdowns is still tops on the list and his 170 yards rushing in the 1902 tournament of Roses game (the first Rose Bowl) stood for 59 years.
Heston received his degree from the Law Department in 1904 and after coaching stints at Drake and North Carolina, set up law practice in Detroit in 1908. He was a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney from 1911-1916 and later served as Recorders Court judge, 1916-1923. After stepping down from the bench, Heston entered the real estate business and later established a cemetery in Flat Rock, Michigan.
Long a familiar figure at M-Club and athletic events, Heston was both legend and friend to generations of Michigan football players. Heston died in 1963.
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