WXMI — University of Michigan and Northwestern football are honoring the first black player in the Big Ten conference – who played for both schools – by establishing a new trophy for their rivalry game.
The award will be named for George Jewett, who played half-back, full-back and kicker for U of M from 1890-1892 before transferring to Northwestern and playing there while earning his medical degree.
“I think it’s just phenomenal,” said U of M head football Coach Jim Harbaugh.
Jewett’s impressive academic and athletic career began at Ann Arbor High School, where he graduated as a football standout and valedictorian.
Harbaugh has a personal connection to the Jewett family. As a student at Tappan High School in Ann Arbor, Coleman Jewett, George’s grandson, was Harbaugh’s vice principal.
“I wasn’t doing too well in Spanish class,” said Harbaugh. “Coleman Jewett called me in and Mr. Jewett said ‘you know, a great athlete who’s a poor student – who doesn’t get good grades – they become a hometown hero because they don’t have the grades to become more.’ That always really stuck with me.”
George Jewett would eventually go on to practice medicine in Chicago before returning to Michigan to coach at Michigan Agricultural College, later Olivet.
The inaugural George Jewett trophy will be awarded on October 23rd, when Michigan squares off against Northwestern in Ann Arbor at the Big House.
To read more about George Jewett, click here.