University of Michigan Football Coaches

Bennie G. Oosterbaan

1948 - 1958

Bennie Oosterbaan

One of the greatest athletes ever to wear a Michigan uniform, Oosterbaan dedicated a great part of his life to the Michigan football program. After taking over as head coach in 1948, he guided the Wolverines to a 9-0 mark and the national championship. For his efforts in that first season, Oosterbaan was named National Coach of the Year. Oosterbaan utilized the traditional singlewing and T-formations on offense to capture the BigTen title three times. His intelligent approach to the defensive side of the ball enabled the Wolverines to lead the league in total defense in five of his 11 seasons as head coach. During his playing days, Oosterbaan became the first player in school history to earn All-America honors three times. He won nine varsity letters at Michigan in football, basketball and basebal - one of the few student - athletes ever to achieve this honor. Following his graduation in 1928, he turned down contracts from professional baseball and football organizations in order to join the Michigan coaching staff. Under Fritz Crisler, Oosterbaan tutored the Michigan backfield, ends, and eventually was promoted to first assistant.