Saturday, February 24, 2007

Brief history of the "Go Blue" banner

The pre-game tradition of the Michigan players racing out of the tunnel and leaping into the air to touch the "Go Blue: M Club Supports You" banner while the Marching Band plays "The Victors" is one of the most recognizable game day traditions at University of Michigan football games. The tradition dates back to 1962 when Bump Elliott was the Head Coach of the Wolverines. Although the graduate "M" club made the permanent banner, it was the undergraduate "M" club that started the tradition with a simple yellow block "M" on a six-foot wide strip of fabric. On the Friday practice before Michigan's 1962 Homecoming game against Illinois, the "M" club assembled all the non-football letterwinners to form two lines as the players ran off the field towards the locker rooms in Yost Field House. The club was given permission by Coach Elliott to form the the flag tunnel before the game the next day, and the rest is history. As an interesting aside, the "Go Blue" banner measures approximately 40 feet long x 4 feet wide and has been stolen twice during its forty-plus year history. It was also "attacked" by the Ohio State football team in 1973. Go Blue!

*Note: Much of the historical information contained in this post came from an article in the M Letterwinners Club's Winter 2003 newsletter (.pdf format).



At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so you know, the tradition was started by Al Renfrew and Marguerite Renfrew. Marge was asked by Al to make two flags to drape over the Yost Football Lockerrooms to cheer on the team. She made two flags, with a neighbor, Mrs. Helmers. The Block M was designed by Bob Hoisington, an Engineering Dean, to make sure it was correct. They handmade the flags, which was not an easy feat at the time. They had the M Club members hang them over the Yost Lockerroom to begin with, later it was moved to the tunnel at the stadium. After the games they came back home to their home and were hung at their house. Later it was changed to a banner. Al still have one of the original flags, with the football on the top of the flagpole.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger mzgoblue said...

Thank you very much for the information. I had no idea about Coach Renfrew's role in the M Go Blue Banner tradition. For those who don't know, Coach Renfrew was the Head Coach of the Wolverine hockey team that won the 1964 National Championship. He also served as the 87th President of the M Club when he served from 2000-2001. Go Blue!

At 7:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment about the go blue banner was left by myself, Judy Renfrew Hart, daughter of Marge and Al Renfrew.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you caught the flawed info, Judy..I was just about to chime in..2 of our sons were honored to help hold the banner when they were on the hockey team as you know our blood runs maize and blue way up here in the north country. So keep on a trucking Wolverines on the green grass and we will tune into BTN. Old go bluers!!!


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