|The Kiski School
|1957 / Round: 2/ Pick 22
|Career highlights and awards
Tom Maentz (born c. 1934) is a former American football player who played end for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1954-1956. Maentz played on offense and defense and also served as the punter for the Michigan football team. Maentz and Ron Kramer became known as Michigan's "touchdown twins." They were the first University of Michigan athletes to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated . Maentz was a second-team All-American in 1955 and captain of the 1956 football team. In 1994, he was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.
A native of Holland, Michigan, Maentz enrolled at Michigan at the same time as Michigan's legendary Hall of Fame end, Ron Kramer. Maentz and Kramer played together as ends on Michigan's freshman team in 1953 and were the starting ends for Michigan from 1954-1956. Though he played in Kramer's shadow, Maentz was also recognized as one of the best ends in the county. Kramer later recalled playing with Maentz on the freshman team, helping the varsity team prepare for the Ohio State game. Kramer noted, "Surprisingly, we started throwing the ball to Tom Maentz and me, and the backs couldn't cover us."
Maentz and Kramer, who became known as Michigan's "touchdown twins," :were the first Michigan football players to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated . In October 1955, Maentz was selected by the Associated Press as for the Lineman of the Week award after scoring two touchdowns in a 33-21 win over Iowa. Michigan Coach Bennie Oosterbaan said of the pair, "They are the two greatest ends in the country." After the Iowa game, Michigan halfback Tony Branoff said, "Tom played one of the greatest games. He's as good as Kramer, and after he caught that touchdown pass Iowa's heads were down." In awarding Maentz Lineman of the Week honors, the Associated Press referred to him as "that other end." It noted
"Little was heard of Maentz when the season started. He was overshadowed by big Ron Kramer, Michigan's other versatile end who himself snagged two passes for 79 yards and a touchdown ... It was Maentz who grabbed five passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including the one that gave Michigan its first lead over the Hawkeyes in the last three minutes of the game."
Despite a back injury that required him to wear a protective plaster shell screwed to his hip pad, Maentz led Michigan in pass receiving yards in 1955 and was selected as an All-Big Ten end.Maentz also excelled as a kicker, punting 15 times in 1955 for 602 yards and an average of 40.1 yards. Maentz was also named a second-team All-American by the United Press for 1955. Detroit News sports writer Watson Spoelstra published a column in 1955 about Maentz in which he wrote:
"Tom Maentz isn't quite as big as Ron Kramer. He can't run as fast, but Maentz stepped up his speed this season ... Oosterbaan marveled aloud about Maentz's spectacular catch just before the half at Minnesota. The play cleared the way to victory. Oosterbaan spoke with admiration of Maentz's catch of a 33-yard pass by Tony Branoff in the end zone against Iowa. 'He had to run like mad to get that ball,' Bennie said. 'Tom never gives up.' ... 'Tom never will be as big as Kramer,' Bennie said. 'But he is well knit.'"
After Maentz was selected as the captain of the 1956 team,residents of his hometown held a "Tom Maentz Night" at the Holland Civic Center attended by 600 area residents. At the time, Maentz called it "the greatest honor I've ever received and I'll never forget it." Michigan ends coach, Matt Patanelli described Maentz as an "ideal athlete," who was a champion in the classroom and on the football field. Patanelli noted that Maentz had demonstrated his toughness, continuing to play football after suffering a broken jaw as a freshman, a neck injury as a sophomore, and a back injury as a junior.
After the 1956 season, Maentz played in the East-West All-Star Shrine Game and was named as a third-team All-American by the United Press, Central Press Association, and Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Kramer and Maentz both graduated in 1957, and professional football teams drafted both. Kramer was drafted by the Green Bay Packers as the fourth pick in the draft, and Maentz was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals as the 22nd pick in the draft. From their freshman year in 1954, Kramer and Maentz remained close friends. In 2001, Sports Illustrated published a profile of the two men, 35 years after their appearance on the magazine's cover. The article noted:
"Kramer, a two-time All-America, and Maentz, team captain in 1956, were two of the finest pass-catching ends in the country. They also played defense and even punted the ball. It seems they've done everything together since coming to Ann Arbor from different sides of the state. Maentz was the quiet kid from western Michigan, the son of a banker; Kramer was the unpolished Detroiter. But, says Kramer, they found a 'common denominator' in football and lived in the same dorms and at the Sigma Chi fraternity house for four years. Both were married in 1957 and fathered boys born a day apart the following July."
Kramer was one of the initial inductees into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1978. Maentz joined him as an inductee in 1994.In 2003, Maentz donated funds to build a new locker room for the Wolverines at Michigan stadium.
Ronald John Kramer was an American professional football player who was an end in the National Football League (NFL), primarily for the Green Bay Packers. A member of two NFL champion teams with the Packers, he was named to the NFL 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Benjamin Oosterbaan was a three-time first team All-American football end for the Michigan Wolverines football team, twice All-American basketball player for the basketball team, and an All-Big Ten Conference baseball player for the baseball team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players in Michigan history. He was selected by Sports Illustrated as the fourth greatest athlete in the history of the U.S. state of Michigan in 2003 and one of the eleven greatest college football players of the first century of the game.
Terry Albert Barr was an American football player. He played professional football for nine seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the Detroit Lions from 1957 to 1965. He began his NFL career as a defensive back and return specialist and later became one of the best pass receivers in the NFL. He played in the Pro Bowl in both 1963 and 1964, led the NFL with 13 touchdown receptions in 1963, and was among the NFL leaders with 1,086 receiving yards in 1963 and 1,030 receiving yards in 1964. Over his nine-year NFL career, Barr appeared in 102 games and caught 227 passes for 3,810 yards and 35 touchdowns.
The 1948 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan during the 1948 Big Nine Conference football season. In its first year under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan compiled a 9–0 record, defeated six ranked opponents by a combined score of 122–17, won the Big Nine Conference and repeated as national champions. In the final AP Poll, Michigan received 192 first place votes, twice as many as second-place Notre Dame which garnered 97 first place votes. This remained the last unanimous national title won by the Wolverines until 2023.
Louis Granville Baldacci is a former American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan from 1953 to 1955 and was the starting quarterback for the 1953 and 1954 Michigan Wolverines football teams. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1956 NFL Draft and played ten games as a halfback in the 1956 NFL season.
Eugene Peter "Gene" Knutson was an American football player. He played college football as an offensive and defensive end for the University of Michigan (1951–1953) and professional football as a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers (1954–1956). As a senior at Michigan, Knutson was selected to play in the Hula Bowl College All-Star Game.
Bill Putich was an American football player who played quarterback and halfback for the University of Michigan Wolverines football teams from 1949 to 1951.
The 1961 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1961 Big Ten Conference football season. In its third year under head coach Bump Elliott, Michigan compiled a 6–3 record, finished in sixth place in the Big Ten, and outscored opponents by a combined total of 212 to 163.
The 1956 Michigan Wolverines football team was an American football team that represented the University of Michigan in the 1956 Big Ten Conference football season. In their ninth year under head coach was Bennie Oosterbaan, the Wolverines compiled a 7–2 record, outscored opponents 233 to 123, and finished the season in second place in the Big Ten Conference and ranked No. 7 in the final 1956 AP poll. The team played five of its nine games against ranked opponents, losing to No. 2 Michigan State by a 9–0 score and No. 15 Minnesota by a 20–7 score, but defeating No. 15 Army by a 48–14 score, No. 7 Iowa by a 17–14 score, and No. 12 Ohio State by a 19–0 score.
The 1955 Michigan Wolverines football team was an American football team that represented the University of Michigan in the 1955 Big Ten Conference football season. In their eighth season under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, the Wolverines finished in third place in the Big Ten Conference, compiled a 7–2 record, and were ranked No. 12 and No. 13 in the final AP and UPI Polls.
The 1954 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1954 Big Ten Conference football season. In its seventh year under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan compiled a 6–3 record, tied for second place in the Big Ten, outscored opponents by a combined total of 139 to 87, and was ranked No. 15 in the final AP and Coaches Polls.
The 1953 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1953 Big Ten Conference football season. In its sixth year under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan, Michigan compiled a 6–3 record, tied for fifth place in the Big Ten, outscored opponents by a combined total of 163 to 101, and was ranked No. 20 in the final AP Poll and No. 19 in the Coaches Polls.
The 1935 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1935 college football season. In their seventh season under head coach Harry Kipke, the Wolverines compiled a 4–4 record, and were outscored by opponents by a combined total of 131 to 68. The team had a 4–1 record after five games, but was shut out in its final three games. Michigan's 40–0 loss to 1935 consensus national champion Minnesota in the annual Little Brown Jug game was the worst defeat suffered by a Michigan Wolverines football team since 1892.
Anthonios "Tony" Branoff was an American football player. He played at the halfback position for the University of Michigan from 1952 to 1955. He was chosen as the Most Valuable Player on the 1953 Michigan Wolverines football team. He was the first sophomore to win the award. He also led the Wolverines in rushing in both 1953 and 1955.
Matthew Lewis Patanelli was an American football, baseball and basketball player and coach. He played and coached all three sports at the University of Michigan and was selected as the Most Valuable Player on the 1936 Michigan Wolverines football team. He was also the first University of Michigan football player to be selected in an NFL Draft. He was an assistant football coach at Western Michigan University and the University of Michigan (1953–1958).
James Andrew 'Mad Dog' Maddock was an American football player. He played at the quarterback position for the University of Michigan from 1954 to 1956. He appeared in all 127 games for the Wolverines during his sophomore, junior and senior years, and led the teams to final Associated Press rankings of No. 15 in 1954, No. 12 in 1955, and No. 19 in 1956.
Eugene Robert Topp was an American football player. He played college football for the University of Michigan from 1952 to 1953 under head coach Bennie Oosterbaan. In 1953, he was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten Conference end by both the Associated Press and the United Press. He played professional football for the New York Giants in 1954 and 1956.
The History of Michigan Wolverines football in the Oosterbaan years covers the history of the University of Michigan Wolverines football program during the period from the promotion of Bennie Oosterbaan as head coach in 1948 through his firing after the 1958 season. Michigan was a member of the Big Ten Conference during the Oosterbaan years and played its home games at Michigan Stadium.
The 1956 Big Ten Conference football season was the 61st season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference and was a part of the 1956 NCAA University Division football season.
The 1955 Big Ten Conference football season was the 60th season of college football played by the member schools of the Big Ten Conference and was a part of the 1955 college football season.