By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief
Dave Brandon giveth, Jim Hackett taketh away.
Michigan announced Tuesday that the Legends jerseys will be re-retired prior to the Wolverines’ matchup with Ohio State Nov. 28.
The Legends program, created by former athletic director Brandon, began before the Wolverines’ first night game in 2011. Desmond Howard’s 21 jersey was the first number to be honored, and soon the numbers 11 (Wistert Brothers), 47 (Bennie Oosterbaan), 48 (Gerald Ford), 87 (Ron Kramer) and 98 (Tom Harmon) followed suit.
Howard’s 21, the lone number in the program not retired before its inception, is set to be enshrined with the other five during the pre-game ceremony.
“During the search process for our new football coach, I had a meeting with the Michigan football team, and they expressed their feelings associated with wearing these legendary jerseys,” said Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett in a release. “At one end of the spectrum they are awed by the legacy of the men that wore them, and at the other end of the spectrum, and as part of a team sport, they wondered why we would call attention to one of our team members.”
Hackett spoke to first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh regarding the Legends program, who agreed a review was necessary, per the release.
“I then talked to the families of these great Michigan players,” Hackett said. “I called them directly and laid out the paradox of seeing players as a team and the due respect to these individual great players.”
The jerseys will continue to be displayed in Schembechler Hall’s Towsley Museum.
“Because we don’t have the display area inside the stadium, we have found a high profile area on the concourse where fans can see and honor these retired jerseys,” Hackett said.
Last season, Michigan had three Legends jerseys issued: 47 (Jake Ryan), 48 (Desmond Morgan) and 98 (Devin Garder). Morgan has one year of eligibility remaining and is expected to switch to a new number in 2015.