Friday, June 1, 2012

Legends Patch Nominees: William Cunningham

Since Desmond Howard became the first Michigan player to receive a Legends Patch, there has been much debate surrounding which players deserve the award as well.  In an effort to settle some of the debate, we will be breaking down a former Michigan football player that we believe should be analyzed as a nominee for a Legends Patch.    This does not mean our writers believe they should be formally nominated in some way, but only that their credentials should be reviewed.  This series of posts does not represent a nominated order for these players to receive their awards, but simply chosen at random. If you have an opinion please comment or contact our writers via Twitter.

Nominee: William Cunningham*
"Michigan's first All-American, chosen by Caspar Whitney, who actually started the All-American selections, preceding Walter Camp. Recommended by Amos Alonzo Stagg after his great performance in the Chicago game of 1898, won by Michigan, 12-11. It was this contest that inspired Louis Elbel to write The Victors, greatest of all college marching songs." - Bentley Historical Library

Does William Cunningham Deserve A Legends Patch?

Thomas Beindit - Yes
To me, Cunningham is about as amazing a player as you're going to find at the school, especially in the school's early days and before college football really became mainstream.  Not only was he the school's first All-American and really one of the first All-Americans outside of the Ivy League schools, but he inspired the school's fight song.  All awards and stats aside, how can a player do more for a school than inspire the school's fight song?  Even look at some of Michigan's past legends like Yost, Crisler, and Bo.  All did an amazing job for the school and changed a lot, but Cunningham has something that none of them have and that's the fight song.  When a player has something linked to the university so unique that the university's most prestigious coaches don't even have that award, you know that player is pretty special.  Cunningham has the eternal tie to "The Victors" and the university, but he also was an outstanding football player and deserves the recognition.

Kyle Curtiss - No
Cunningham can be well recognized for his contributions to Michigan, and the "The Victors". However, I do not believe he should be awarded a Legends Patch.   I know football players of yesteryear do not receive the recognition that they should, or that they've earned, but I'd want the patch to go to a player who is synonymous with Michigan football. Brady, Thomas, Terrell, Harmon, Yost, Crisler, Schembechler, Hart, Long; these are just a small sampling of the names that when are mentioned, are directly tied to Michigan football. I'm not disparaging the memory of Cunningham, and I know it was over a 100 years ago, but awarding a patch to a person who's major contribution to Michigan history is not his play or coaching on the field? Not for me.

Tyler Fenwick -  Yes
When Rich Rodriguez went down the drain and everyone was talking about getting a "Michigan Man", they were talking about guys like William Cunningham. To me, you can't do much more from an individual standpoint that inspire your school's fight song and win its first All-American award. It can't be done. He especially stands out because of the tremendous 1898 team that went 10-0, won the Western Conference (now the Big Ten), and outscored its opponents 205-26 all season. That kind of a team performance is what sparks individual accolades. For me, the answer is pretty simple: yes. Cunningham deserves this recognition with the Legends Patch.


All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity. Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with  their thoughts


* - Cunningham had no known jersey number as they were not used actively during his tenure.  Regardless, the staff wanted to debate his merits regarding this award. He obviously cannot be awarded, but he should at least be recognized for his contributions.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely NOT....I have never heard of this guy before this article, and neither have probably atleast 90% of the fan cant give a legends patch to someone obscure....the dedication of the victors is enough recognition, and no need to detract from that recognition through a superfluous patch.