Small School U-M used to cheer for?

Submitted by uniqenam on August 20th, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Hey MGoBloggers, I have a question:

My parents (both alumni of UM) said that at the games in the 70's their was a certain D-II (or D-III?) team that had their score announced during every game, and students at U-M would cheer for them. Does anyone know anything about that tradition, when and why it started, and why did it stop? Thanks...



August 20th, 2009 at 2:38 PM ^

Canham was a genius... had them play at the big House... also had a band day during half time of the game... my little brother was on Saline's band...


August 20th, 2009 at 4:01 PM ^

William D. Revelli, Director of Bands at the time, claimed to have been the inventor of the idea for Band Day. He claimed he was driving his car with one hand on top of the wheel, and one of his fingers was bandaged. In his mind he kept repeating the word "Band-Aid, Band-Aid, Band-Aid," and then the Eureka! moment came: Band Day!

He also claimed to have been inspired to create Band-o-rama from a billboard in California advertising a panorama. But that's another story.

I was never sure how serious he was with these stories. He was very old when I met him, so I certainly didn't know him in his prime.


August 20th, 2009 at 2:40 PM ^

Slippery rock played against someone back at the big house in the 60s I want to say. It was probably the most anyone ever watched that team played and demonstrated the ability of Michigan stadium to bring in fans. I'm probably off with the details here, but I also believe it was on a weekend when M was away so Canham rented the Big House out.

Thanks John Bacon.

Frank Drebin

August 20th, 2009 at 2:41 PM ^

Story from

•The announcement of Slippery Rock's football scores is a tradition at University of Michigan
University of Michigan football games, begun in the 1950s by Michigan Stadium's public address announcer. Slippery Rock was so popular with UM fans that on Sept. 29, 1979, Slippery Rock played in-state rival Shippensburg at Michigan Stadium, in front of 61,143 fans, a record for a Division II football game (Shippensburg won, 45-14). Slippery Rock played a second game at "The Big House" in 1981, attracting 36,719 fans in a 14-13 loss to Wayne State.


August 20th, 2009 at 3:03 PM ^

Yes...the Wayne State thing.

When Michigan invited 2 Pennsylvania schools to play in the stadium, the GLIAC schools in the state whined about the lack of support for their schools. Wayne State was promptly invited for the next season, but the novelty was gone and few people were interested. The game was clearly an afterthought, and was just intended as an effort to appease the local schools, possibly as a result of some legislative pressure.


August 20th, 2009 at 2:57 PM ^

When they played in Michigan Stadium in the 1980s, there was an article about the origins of the Slippery Rock tradition.

My recollection is that way back in the day (perhaps the 1950s or even earlier), the announcer was reading out-of-town scores. At the time, these scores came in on a "ticker" as a long list of scores, without distinction between big games and small college games. The announcer had to decide which scores to read. Of course, just like today, each score was received with cheers or boos.

As he was reading a list of scores one afternoon, a Slippery Rock score accidentally was read, because Slippery Rock was playing a school called California University of Pennsylvania. The announcer saw the "California" and started reading before he realized it wasn't that California. The fans in attendance cheered sarcastically, pretending that they cared about the game. So he kept updating the Slippery Rock score in response to the crowd's reaction, and a tradition was born.

By the 1970s, stadium announcer Howard King had turned the reading of the Slippery Rock score into an art. He would wait until the very end of the list of scores he had, and intone, "...and from Central Pennsylvania (pause) in the third quarter (pause) Slippery Rock 10 (long pause) Kutztown State 3." He would even announce a score of 0-0 in the first quarter if he couldn't find the actual score.

Slippery Rock was invited to play their rival (Shippensburg University) at Michigan Stadium in 1979, and 61,143 attended.

Unfortunately, the tradition died away when the ticker stopped reporting Division II and III scores in the late '80s or early '90s. A lapsed tradition that needs to be resurrected...


August 20th, 2009 at 3:19 PM ^

We still announce the Slippery Rock score during the homecoming game. Now it slyly sneaks its way in during the score updates.

I remember the Daily, one year when I was on campus, putting Slippery Rock in its preseason top 25 with the comment: "Watch your step."


August 20th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

I went to the Slippery Rock game versus Ship. State when I was 11 years old. I remember thinking how odd the Big House looked with only 60,000 fans (only!). I was so used to seeing it overflowing with 100,000+. I also remember that it was very hot and sunny, so it must have been early fall.

My understanding is that there is more to the tradition (I read this somewhere a long time ago so can't verify it's voracity!?).

A long time ago, an AP or UPI sports writter (remember those?) once cast a ballot for Slippery Rock as number one. When asked, we had a long convoluted chain of linked victories from that weekend which justified his vote (e.g., Slippery Rock beat joe-blow, joe-blow beat so-and-so, so-and-so beat whosy-what's-it, whosy-what's-it beat Northeastern, Northeastern beat Northwestern, Northwestern beat Illinois, Illinois beat OSU and OSU was ranked number one...ergo...Slippery Rock basically beat #1)

(team names changed to protect the if i could remember them correctly anyways).


August 20th, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

Here's an additional account of the game from Shippensburg University's magazine:

Of note, ESPN picked up the game for tv.

Also, I distinctly recall former P.A. announcer Howard King saying "and a score from Western Pennsylvania..." when announcing the Slippery Rock score, not central PA (as was noted above).

This really is a tradition that needs to be picked back up. With or without a ticker, I'm sure something can be done to get the score of the Slippery Rock game. Maybe I'll investigate further...


August 20th, 2009 at 4:48 PM ^

From Pittsburgh Live, Slippery Rock's football schedule this year is:
Sat., Aug 29 Bowie State 7:00 PM
Sat., Sep 5 Millersville TBA
Thu., Sep 10 at Kutztown 7:05 PM
Sat., Sep 19 at Edinboro 6:00 PM
Sat., Oct 24 California (Pa.) 1:00 PM
Sat., Nov 7 at East Stroudsburg 1:00 PM

We won't get to hear a Slippery Rock score for the first couple of games b/c their game starts after ours ends. Their Oct 24th tilt against California (not that California) is the same day as we host Penn State (game time still TBA), making announcement of a Slippery Rock score all the more apropos.

Anyone remember the last year the Slippery Rock score was announced at the Big House? Seems to me it's been a couple years. Someone should email Grapentine and ask him about it.

Snidely Doo Rash

August 21st, 2009 at 12:29 AM ^

ray rayner? had a early morning comedy show on WGN (chicago) for many years when I was a kid and he wrote sports scores and weather info on a chalk board every morning. He also "posted" slippery rock scores along with daily sports scores of interest. Bozo made an appearance most days as well as Chauncy the duck and it made me want to get on the school bus. GoBLUE, Can I get a witness?