Leaders and Best in 50 States: Point a Minute Edition

Submitted by MGoShoe on July 9th, 2010 at 1:49 PM

MGoBlue.com continues its Leaders and Best in 50 States [plus DC and PR] today with the selections that represent Maine, Missouri and Arkansas. 

As predicted yesterday, Ryan Mallett is not the honoree from Arkansas.  While you're checking out my "really out on a limb" prediction there, be sure to check out the information on shot putter Charlie Fonville.  The great thing about this feature is that it gives us all the chance to learn more about the fabulous Wolverine student-athletes that came before us.  Fonville's story is little known, but IME, it's a pretty fabulous one. 

Black kid from the Deep South moves from Alabama to Chicago and then Detroit with the Great Migration.  In one high school track season in Detroit (plus one pretty kick ass YMCA meet) he gets the attention of the University of Michigan's track and field coach.  Without a scholarship he represents Michigan in the most honorable way possible winning multiple Big Ten and NCAA championships and setting the world record in the shot put while wearing the Block M.  Absent a back condition aggravated by his training and competition, he was poised to compete as the favorite in the event in the 1948 Olympic Games.  Instead, he places fourth in the qualifying meet and misses out on that dream.  Picking up the pieces, he returns to Michigan for one more campaign, graduates and gets admitted to Michigan Law.  Earning his JD, he spends the rest of his life practicing law in Detroit and raising his family until he passes away at age 67 in the University of Michigan Hospital.  Charlie Fonville is "Michigan Man" personified.

Now, on with today's honorees.

MAINE: Charles Carter
Charles Carter


• Guard Charles Carter (1902-04) won three national titles with the Wolverines on teams that went a combined 32-0-1 in his three-year career.

Honorable Mention
Zara Saydjari, Field Hockey
Carissa Stewart, Women's Soccer
Anna Willard, Women's Track and Field
MISSOURI: Kellyn Tate
Kellyn Tate (Chesterfield)

• Kellyn Tate (1995-98) was a two-time NFCA All-American and three-time All-Big Ten first team selection as an outfielder, leading U-M to four consecutive WCWS appearances.

Honorable Mention
Brianna Broderick, Women's Golf
Julie Flachs, Field Hockey
Mary Fox, Field Hockey
Carroll Haff, Men's Track and Field
Maggie Viefhaus, Softball
ARKANSAS: James "Jim" Pace
James "Jim" Pace (Little Rock)
Football/Men's Track and Field

• Jim Pace (1955-57), an NFL first-round draft pick in 1958, was a football All-American and Big Ten MVP in 1957. As a trackster, he won the Big Ten 60-yard dash indoor title.

Honorable Mention
Zach Adami, Football
Noel Strauss, Men's Swimming and Diving

Charles "Babe" Carter was Michigan's right guard in the 1902 and 1904 seasons.  While his profile here states he was on the team from 02-04, the Bentley football page for 1903 does not list him as a letter winner or reserve.  Carter is described in this piece written by Fielding Yost for the 1903 Michiganensian as the largest member of the 1902 team and the only one that exceeded 200 pounds.  This Michiganensian profile page indicates that Carter joined the team while enrolled in the Law School and with two seasons of experience on Brown's varsity team.  Carter played ten games for the 1902 National Championship team, a team that outscored its opponents 644-12 including a 199-0 mauling of Michigan Agricultural College (MSU) and an 86-0 beat down of OSU.  

Carter was embroiled in a major controversy after the season regarding Michigan's use of potentially ineligible players.  Apparently, Yost was accused of using three ineligible players (Carter, Paul Jones and George Gregory).  Interestingly, the three were among eight varsity lettermen listed as enrolled in the Law School.  Yost defended Carter by saying that he had left school late in the fall 1902 semester not due to a subterfuge, but because the faculty had suspended him "for a breach of university discipline, which had nothing to do with athletics or scholarship...".  This would not be the last time that Yost's teams used players with shaky eligibility credentials.  See this fine MVictors.com piece on 1909 halfback Joy Miller and his epic fall from grace.

Carter returned for the 1904 season (again listed as a member of the Law School), and again helped the team earn a National Championship.  The team outscored its opponents 567-18 including a 130-0 shellacking of West Virginia.  While still listed as the right guard, Carter apparently played some fullback as well as he was credited for six touchdowns and 30 points (imagine what the team point totals would have been if touchdowns were worth 6 points vice 5) and according to this page in the 1905 Michiganensian, some defensive tackle as well.  This page shows Carter's somewhat awkward technique for slicing through the line.

Jim Pace was an All-American halfback in his senior year (1957) who played one season with the San Francisco 49ers and later with the Hamilton Tigercats of the CFL. 

Originally from Grand Rapids...Jimmy's career was replete with thrilling runs with All-American honors. [In 1957 he led] Big Ten scoring with 10 touchdowns, topped ballcarriers with a 5.84 yard average, and further proved his great speed by winning the Big Ten 60-yard indoor dash title.

After completing her eligibility with the Wolverines and graduating in 1998, Kellyn Tate played for two seasons in the Women's Professional Softball League with the Orlando Wahoos and the Akron Racers.  Subsequently she started a sussessful college softball coaching career.  She's had stints as assistant coach with Penn State, Texas Tech, Miami (NTM) and her present team, Portland State.  Here's an excerpt from her Portland State bio:

As a player at Michigan, Tate helped lead the Wolverines to three Big Ten regular season titles, four Big Ten Tournament Championships, and to the Women's College World Series all four years. She was a two-time NFCA All-American, and a three-time All-Great Lakes Region and All-Big Ten Conference honoree.  Tate earned her bachelor's degree in sports management and communications from Michigan in 1998, where she was honored with Michigan's athletic achievement award for having consecutive grade-point averages of 3.0. Tate then earned her master's degree in higher education from Texas Tech in 2003.

Congratulations to the honorees.



July 9th, 2010 at 3:16 PM ^

from wiki:

"The Yost affair"

In October 1896, after his team lost three times to Lafayette in home games played on three different fields over the course of three days,[2][3] Yost became a remarkable personification of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." He transferred in mid-season to join Coach Parke H. Davis' national championship team at Lafayette. Just a week after playing against Davis in West Virginia, Yost was playing for Davis in Lafayette's historic 6–4 win over the Quakers.[3]

The fortuitous timing of Yost's appearance on the Lafayette roster did not go unnoticed by Penn officials. They called it "the Yost affair." The Philadelphia Ledger quoted Yost as saying that he came to Lafayette only to play football. The fact that Yost appeared in a Lafayette uniform only once... in the Penn game[4]... and that he returned to West Virginia within two weeks of the contest... did not help appearances. He assured all concerned that he would return to Lafayette for at least three years of study.[5] But 1897 found him no longer a student or a player, but a coach.

Too be honest, despite all the MSM riffing on the "unprecedented" stain of Practicegate, "Michigan Man" didn't always mean "irreproachable," at least not to Yost or Kipke.


July 9th, 2010 at 7:18 PM ^

...pushed to the edge of the envelope (and beyond) in his approach to getting "experienced" players on his teams.  It was a much more freewheeling time in all sports and the way Yost approached his job didn't sit well with many in academia, including significantly Michigan's own President Angell.  The conflict over the nature of college football would have a significant impact on Michigan's place in college football as it precipitated U-M's withdrawal from the Western Conference for ten years and the creation of fixture games with Ohio State and Michigan State.  Like the Kipke story, Greg Dooley of MVictors.com (writing for GBW) has already provided us with the story.

It's fascinating stuff.

James Burrill Angell

July 9th, 2010 at 3:39 PM ^

Interesting we haven't had a significant football or basketball player to at least make honorable mention from Missouri.

Also, too bad they don't add Canadian provinces (hockey players).

Zone Left

July 9th, 2010 at 11:48 PM ^

Fonville's story is fantastic.  It makes me feel good that my state was progressive enough to support worthy kids who were denied opportunities elsewhere in the US.

I say my state because MSU was a noted pipeline from the deep South for sports and academics in the 50s and 60s.  Easily their finest hour.