Club History

The University of Michigan Club of Seattle applied for a charter from the General Alumni Association in 1913. Our club was the first outside of the state of Michigan to be so chartered, and only the fourth club in the nation to be recognized in this way.

Over the years the Seattle club has hosted visits from such luminaries as Fielding Yost, Fritz Crisler, Harlan Hatcher, Bennie Oosterbaan and Robben Fleming.

The first visit of the U-M Glee Club to Seattle occurred in 1917.

The Seattle Club Scholarship fund was started in 1943, and would have been started earlier, but club officials were waiting until the aftereffects of the Great Depression of the ’30s had passed.

The first recorded visit of the U-M basketball team to Seattle was in 1936 for a series with the University of Washington, won by Michigan.

The Michigan football team visited our area to play Washington in 1954, and 475 local alums attended a dinner held in the team’s honor.

Starting in 1922, our club began providing a trophy to the annual champion Seattle high school football team. Garfield High School won the first trophy three years running, and so received permanent possession in 1932. The club then provided a second trophy more elaborate than the first. Garfield again won it three times and retired it in the early forties. So the club then invested over $300 in a third silver trophy, but finally got wise and stipulated that this was a perpetual trophy that could only be retained by the winning school during the year or years it is champion. The club did continue handing out the trophy on a rotating basis to the champions of the league until it was eventually terminated in 1991. The reason for ending the trophy program was the competition of the ever-expanding leagues from AAA to AA, A, Independents, 1A, 2A, 1B, 2B, eventually making the scale of the effort unreasonable.

See the attached PDF file for additional details about the club’s history, as prepared by Roby M. Burley, who was a U-M graduate of the class of 1920.

Following are some excerpts from the Seattle Times regarding the history of our club and its football trophies.

The first attached photo is of the club’s original award, which is now located in the Seattle School District archives.

The second attached photo is of the club’s third award, which is in the possession of the U-M Club of Seattle. You may view it (and touch it, if you like) at our annual meeting.

The third attached photo is of an Alumni Association district meeting held in Seattle in 1925. The photographer, Frank H. Nowell, was one of the most celebrated photographers in Seattle and in Alaska in the early part of the 20th century.

Many of our club records are held by the Bentley historical library in Ann Arbor, in a Roby Burley collection.

Trophy Presentation to Franklin High School, Nov 30, 1922

The Franklin High School football team, two times winner of the football championship of the Seattle Interscholastic League, was yesterday presented with a handsome engraving designating it as champions by the Michigan Alumni Association and an assembly held at the school yesterday afternoon. Under the terms of the award the trophy is a three year one, any school getting its name on three times retaining the trophy. The shield is done bronze with the forms of two football players, one punting, the other falling short of blocking the kick, standing out. The presentation was made by Bruce Shorts, a former Michigan captain and coach of the Broadway football team many years ago. Shorts is an attorney here. Captain Speidel accepted the trophy for the Quakers.”

Michigan Trophy presentation award to Garfield, Dec 14, 1932

Harry M. Simmons, President of the University of Michigan Alumni Association of Seattle and his Organization will donate a specially made “Michigan Shield Trophy” to the Seattle High School League champions.

Michigan Trophy Award to Garfield High School, Dec 25, 1932

Garfield High School, first to win the coveted prize three times, is now in the permanent possession of the trophy. The presentation was made by Stan Goulter, co-captain, GN Porter, principle of Garfield, HN Simmons, president of the Michigan Alumni association, and Leon H. Brigham, Garfield coach. (plague is made of bronze)

Garfield Gets Cup, Jan 20, 1937

To the victor belongs the spoils; so tomorrow afternoon Coach Leon Brigham’s Garfield High School football team will be presented with the Michigan Trophy, emblematic of the Seattle High School football championship for 1936.

The Michigan Trophy was donated for competition between Seattle’s high school football teams by University of Michigan Alumni of Seattle. It was originally designed by A.M. Young, Dr. Herbert Coe and Charles Dvorak.

Twice now this particular trophy has been won by Garfield and another football championship for Brigham’s boys will give the school permanent possession of the award.

This particular trophy replaced the Michigan award taken down by Garfield after it’s victory in 1934. Broadway and Garfield tied for the trophy in 1935, and Garfield won a clear title to it last season.

Michigan Club trophies for football championships in the Seattle High School League have been offered now for a decade, but up to date no school other than Garfield has managed to take one down, permanently.

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