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Herbert Orin "Fritz" Crisler (January 12, 1899 near Earlville, Illinoismarker – August 19, 1982) was a head football coach, best known for his tenure at the University of Michiganmarker from 1938 to 1947. He also coached at the University of Minnesotamarker (1930-1931) and Princeton Universitymarker (1932-1937). Before this, he played football at the University of Chicagomarker under Amos Alonzo Stagg, who nicknamed him Fritz after violinist Fritz Kreisler.

During his head coaching career, which lasted 18 seasons (1930-47), Crisler posted a career record of 116 victories, 32 losses and 9 ties, for a winning percentage of .768. At Michigan, Crisler won 71 games, lost 16, and tied 3 for a winning percentage of .806. Known for his innovative strategies, Crisler is credited with inventing the current two-platoon system, in which separate units of players were used for offense and defense. At Michigan, Crisler is also well-known for the distinctive winged football helmet he introduced in 1938. The Michigan football team has worn a version of his design ever since. Crisler had first introduced the winged helmet design at Princeton in 1935; while Princeton abandoned the design when he left, it resumed using it in 1998.

Crisler's 1947 team, dubbed the "Mad Magicians," had an undefeated campaign, capping it off with a 49-0 triumph over Southern California in the 1948 Rose Bowl. Afterwards, the team was selected the national champion by the Associated Press in an unprecedented post-bowl vote. After retiring from coaching, he served as the university's athletic director.

Crisler Arenamarker, home of the Michigan men's and women's basketball teams, was named for Crisler. In addition, one "extra" seat in Michigan Stadium was added to honor Crisler for his special place in the history of Michigan football. However, its location is unknown.

Head coaching record

See also


  1. After 61 years, "Tiger" helmet returns to Princeton. Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW), September 9, 1998

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