Winningest QB in Michigan History?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on August 7th, 2012 at 7:13 PM

I was reading a piece on colt mccoy being the all-time leader in the NCAA in QB wins. It made me wonder who is Michigan's most winningest starting QB?

I went to Bentley and looked at each year. It shows the number of starts each one has but does not specify which games they started. Could have been a win, loss or tie. So my question is to anyone on here, do you know who the winningest starting QB is in Michigan history?

EDIT: Stupid title fixed.


San Diego Mick

August 8th, 2012 at 1:23 AM ^

and people still seemed unsure, the answer is Leach with 38, take it to the bank.

In fact, before Peyton manning broke his record, Leach was the winningest College Football QB of all time. Kellen Moore is the current holder now, not Colt McCoy.

Leach also held the record for most TD's in College for quite a few years before that was broken


August 7th, 2012 at 7:21 PM ^

Didn't he play 4 years as well?  Probably had a better record but played fewer games per season, though Henne did miss time in 2007 due to injury.

UPDATE: The team was 38-8-2 during Leach's 4 years, but I'm not sure if he missed a start here or there.  Team went 36-14 in Henne's time, and I know he missed a few starts.


August 7th, 2012 at 7:24 PM ^

I thought about Leach too, but Henne only missed 4 starts over four years, and I bet the number of games makes up for that.  So who won more games?  Henne had two Rose Bowl seasons, and a third season where we won 9 games (his last).  It was only that 2005 season where we were that great and won 7 games (right?).

Your update wasn't there when I posted this.  Sounds like Leach for sure then, unless he missed a bunch of starts.  I think all of the starts Henne missed were wins, so his number is probably 32.


August 7th, 2012 at 10:34 PM ^

That was pretty good.  But not as good as the QB he replaced.  From 1972-1974 Dennis Franklin went 30-2-1 losing only to OSU.  In both losses Michigan outplayed the Buckeyes but a combination of goal line stands by the Bucks and missed Field Goals (allegedly) by Michigan robbed us of victory.

That dude gets my vote as the greatest Michigan QB I've ever seen play.  And he never went to a bowl game!  Back then the B1G only sent the conference winner to the Rose Bowl.

Jeff M

August 7th, 2012 at 8:05 PM ^

Navarre: 42 career starts, 31-11

2000: 3-1 (Henson came back starting with the fifth game)

2001: 8-4

2002: 10-3

2003: 10-3


Henne: 45 career starts, 33-12

2004: 9-3

2005: 7-5

2006: 11-2

2007:  6-2 (missed starts against ND, PSU, Minn, ???-I think Wisc. I'm less confident about this year)


Leach: 49 career starts, 38-8-3

1975: 8-2-1 (sat against Baylor)

1976: 10-2

1977: 10-2

1978: 10-2


Honorable mention: Dennis Franklin had a 30-2-1 record over 1971-1974

Sources (not exactly official):……



August 7th, 2012 at 10:20 PM ^

I believe you're right.  1975 was the first year I held my sister's season tickets, and I went to all the games.  I believe they started 0-0-2 with ties to -- if my whiskey and pot-addled brain of 16 years old at that time, shame on me, recalls correctly -- Stanford and Baylor.

Jeff M

August 7th, 2012 at 10:39 PM ^

My only sources arewikipedia and a random blog, as I wasn't born yet in 1975

But according to those, UM opened with a win at Wisc, then tied Stanford, then Leach sat for a tie against Baylor. They started off 8-0-2 before losing to Ohio, then to Oklahoma in the Orange bowl. Maybe I'll check my copy of War As They Knew It tomorrow...


August 7th, 2012 at 11:51 PM ^

Yes, Leach was 8-2-1 in 1975.  He started both losses (OSU and Oklahoma) and one of the two ties.  I don't think he sat against Baylor, but he certainly did not start that game.



August 7th, 2012 at 7:45 PM ^

He was basically a 3.5-year starter between 1989-92.  UM went 38-7-3 over that span.

Edit: after looking into this further, it appears that Grbac's career record as a starter at UM was 32-5-3 (.838).  He started every game from 1990-1992.  In 1989, he entered the Notre Dame game to replace an injured Michael Taylor, and started four games (UCLA, Maryland, Wisconsin, and MSU) thereafter until Taylor returned.  


August 7th, 2012 at 7:59 PM ^

38 wins. He was really durable. Don't remember him missing a start while I was an undergrad. That's why the QB situation was such a shocker in 1979, before Wangler established himself as the man.


August 7th, 2012 at 8:08 PM ^

Rick Leach - 38 wins

Chad Henne - 33 wins (missed 4 games to injury)

John Navarre - 31 wins

Elvis Grbac - 30 wins (missed 2 games to injury)

Dennis Franklin - 28 wins (missed 2 games to injury)

Steve Smith - 25 wins (missed 1 game to injury)