University of Michigan Football Coaches

Herbert 0. (Fritz) Crisler


Fritz Crisler

In the ten seasons Crisler was coach, Michigan's fate on the football field was in good hands. Cnisler's teams consistently excelled in conference play, finishing lower than second only twice. His style of coaching was offensive-oriented, using innovative formations to pile up yardage. In 1943, the Wolverines won their first Big Ten title in ten years with a 8-1 record. His .805 winning percentage ranks him second in school history behind only Fielding Yost (minimurn 50 games coached). He climaxed his career by directing Michigan to a 49-0 rout of SouthernCalifornia in the 1948 Rose Bowl. At the culmination of the 1947 season, members of the Associated Press voted the Wolverines as the mythical national champions and Crisler the National Coach of the Year.

Crisler graduated as an honor student from the University of Chicago where played football under legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. He is one of two men in Chicago history ever to earn nine letters in three sports (football, basketball, baseball).

Upon receiving his diploma in 1922, Crisler became an assistant coach to Stagg, remaining there eight years. In 1930 Crisler was named the athletic director and head football coach at the University of Minnesota, where he remained for two seasons before accepting the head coaching position at Princeton University. In his six years at Princeton the Tigers compiled a 35-9-1 record.

Perhaps Crisler's greatest contribution to the history of Wolverine football was implementation of the Michigan winged helmet in 1938. Initially designed to aid quarterbacks in distinguishing receivers, the winged design has become a longstanding symbol of the University.