History and Football

When Herman J. Muller, S. J. left this world in 2007, at the age of 98, he had been a devoted and much admired Jesuit priest for over 65 years.  He left a distinguished legacy which included a devotion to history, teaching, student development, and the Detroit Titans Athletic teams.  It was this devotion that urged him to write what has become the official history of the University of Detroit since 1877, and we are proud to include his work in our digital archives.

Father Muller’s books about the history of the university are well worth exploring.  This history is not just dry fact-based information about the institution, but more a flowing timeline from the perspective of someone who was there through most of the University’s existence.  His perspective adds a human dimension to a time of expansion in the history of Detroit.

And as a reader travels through the story of this time with the University itself as main character, he or she will come upon the history of Football at U of D as well.  From its humble beginnings, through the purchase of land for the McNichols campus, the clearing of land, the construction of buildings, and the arrival of students football always had a place in the journey.  Encouraging students along the way — body, mind, and soul — the natural focus was on learning, prayer, and athletics.  Football (and athletics) seems to have always had a place in this path.

This ended with a shocking announcement on November 20, 1964, that football would no longer be offered at the University of Detroit.

An except on the history of football at the University of Detroit from Father Muller’s book, The University of Detroit 1877-1977 A Centennial History is included in the Football Collection in our Digital Archives.  After reading this it’s likely that you’ll want to spend some time in both the Football Collection as well as the University Histories collection.