Northwestern-Michigan game to honor B10’s 1st Black player

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The Big Ten is adding a 16th trophy game in football to honor the first Black man to play in the conference.

Northwestern and Michigan will meet for the George Jewett Trophy beginning in October, the schools announced Thursday. Jewett played football at both schools in the 1890s.

”This is a historic moment in major college football history,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said. ”We are proud to partner with our peer institution, Northwestern, to recognize and honor an African-American pioneer in George Jewett. George achieved at a high level as an athlete and doctor. His hard work and effort led to success not only for himself, but for those who would follow a similar path after him.”

Jewett was a standout high school athlete in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and went on to play for the Wolverines in the 1890 and 1892 seasons. He starred as a fullback and halfback and also was the team’s main kicker.

He left Michigan for Northwestern in 1893 to finish his medical degree. He lettered and starred in football for the Wildcats for two seasons.

Jewett became a physician in Chicago before returning to Ann Arbor in 1899. He coached briefly at Michigan Agricultural College and Olivet, and later started a dry cleaning and pressing business. He died in 1908 at age 38.

”This is a deserved and exciting acknowledgement of Dr. George Jewett, a landmark figure for both Northwestern and Michigan,” said Northwestern interim athletic director Janna Blais. ”Every future meeting will stand as an opportunity to educate, communicate and inspire our communities in Dr. Jewett’s memory.”

The first meeting between Michigan and Northwestern for the George Jewett Trophy is set for Oct. 23 in Ann Arbor.

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