Michigan Football: Twelve Wondrous Wolverines — #6 — Bennie Oosterbaan — Forever A Wolverine
Bennie Oosterbaan is number six on the list of Twelve Wondrous Wolverines. He has been declared a Michigan football legend by the athletic department. One of only five numbers retired, and the actual first, number 47 was brought out of retirement and is worn by Jake Ryan.
When it comes to honors and decorations, no Wolverine surpasses Bennie Oosterbaan. He had accomplishments that no future Big Ten athlete will likely ever match.
Born in Michigan, Oosterbaan, like many on the list, came to Ann Arbor and pretty much never left. Oosterbaan led the Big Ten in football scoring, basketball scoring, and hitting. Oosterbaan was awarded nine varsity letters. He was a three time All-American, as was Anthony Carter.
Oosterbaan rose to the occasion in big games, such as:
• Played well defensively helping Michigan defeat Red Grange’s Illini 3-0.
• Completed three touchdown passes (yes throwing) against Ohio State in the Michigan Stadium dedication game.
• Recovered a fumble and ran for a touchdown to win the Little Brown jug.
Oosterbaan declined offers to play professional sports. Instead Benny became a Michigan assistant in football and basketball. Eventually, after a very long stint, Oosterbaan succeeded Fritz Crisler. His coaching career started off like a meteor with Michigan winning a national title, a Rose Bowl and several Big Ten Championships. After the fast start the wins and championships slowed down and Bennie resigned in 1958, but worked for the athletic department for many more years.
Another rarity for Bennie Oosterbaan was that he also served as the head basketball coach for several years.
When it comes to versatility and accomplishment over a wide range of athletic experiences, no one beat Bennie Oosterbaan, a true Michigan legend. The chances of leading the Big Ten or any conference in scoring in football and basketball are slim. Add in leading the conference in hitting and slim became ultra-slim.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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