64 Days: A Look Back At QB Jack Wheeler

With 64 days until the 2016 Michigan Football season, we look back at Jack Wheeler. He was a Michigan native born in Bay City on October 31, 1908.  Wheeler gained athletic recognition playing at halfback and quarterback for Bay City Central High School from 1924 to 1926.

After graduating high school, he enrolled at the University of Michigan  with his achievements and highlights below:

  • As a sophomore in 1928, Wheeler started three games at the halfback position.
  • As a junior in 1929, he started two games at the fullback position.
  • His best season was in 1930 as a 155 pound, 5-foot-8 senior, when he played three backfield positions (quarterback, halfback and fullback) for the undefeated 1930 team that compiled a record of 8-0-1.
  • In the 1930 season opener, Wheeler was the Wolverines’ starting quarterback and scored two touchdowns in a 33–0 victory over Denison College.
  • His performance in the fourth game of the 1930 season helped secure his game winning reputation. Michigan trailed Purdue 13–0 at the end of the first quarter. Wheeler and sophomore quarterback Harry Newman were sent into the game in the second quarter and led Michigan to a come-from-behind victory and a final score of 14–13. Wheeler did most of the ball carrying on the drive that resulted in Michigan’s winning touchdown. Wheeler scored the winning touchdown with an eight-yard run on “the old 83 play.”
  • The following week, Wheeler was Michigan’s leading rusher in a 13–0 win over Ohio State. He also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Harry Newman in a 15–7 win over Illinois.
  • In the seventh week of the 1930 season, Wheeler scored the only touchdown in Michigan’s 7–0 win over Minnesota in the annual competition for the Little Brown Jug.
  • Wheeler scored 30 of the 111 points scored by Michigan in 1930 and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player by Claire Burcky of the Newspaper Editors Association.

In February 6, 1990, Wheeler passed away at age 81 and was a resident of Midland, Michigan at the time.

David Noe