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His Record

Harry George Kipke
The Michigan Alumnus 1138

HARRY KIPKE; ATHLETE. STUDENT AND MAN


His Record a Proud One for Him and for
 Michigan


When Harry Kipke crossed the
 plate in the eighth inning of the
 second game against Meiji University
 during Commencement Week, driving
 three men in ahead of him on a homerun, 
which certainly traveled as fast as any 
other hit ever made on Ferry Field, he did 
more than end in a blaze of glory a re
markable career as a college athlete. He
 finished a chapter in the athletic history
 of the University, which will stand for all 
time as a lesson to be read by future gen
erations of young men who hope to repre
sent Michigan in some field of sport.


It is not our present intention to review 
in detail Kipke's almost unbeatable record
 in three branches of athletics, since it is
 already familiar to all Michigan men and
 women. There is honor enough in the
 fact that he won nine of the coveted 
"M's", three in football, three in baseball, 
 and three in basketball, that he was se
lected as a member of Walter Camp's
 mythical All-America football team, and 
that a list of his individual exploits on
 gridiron, diamond and "gym" floor would 
require many pages. But there is even
 more credit in the facts that he made just 
as good records as a student and as a man 
as he did as an athlete. 


He came to Michigan with a brilliant 
high-school record, having been for three
 seasons the mainstay of the "big red"
 teams of Lansing High School. He did 
more than fulfill this promise; he scored 
just as brilliant successes, but they did
 not turn his head. He was just as mod
est and unassuming after the home run
 drive, which brought his Varsity career to
 a close as on the first afternoon three
 years ago when he appeared on Fern 
Field as a candidate for the football team. 


His record as a student is as solid an
 achievement in some respects as though he
 had won a Phi Beta Kappa key and other 
honors. He has not been a brilliant stud
ent, of the type, which "gets by" with
 very little effort, and can make a more
 than satisfactory recitation after no more 
than a glance at the text. He had to work hard for the grades he made, and the fact 
that his standing has never been in ques
tion is proof that he did work faithfully
—and that in the teeth of three years of
 almost unbroken training and competition, 
plus the work that he did to pay his was through college. Under such severe con
ditions, many a man to whom class work
 was a far lighter burden would have failed
 utterly.

Nor is his athletic career simply a tale 
of brilliant exploits; it furnishes an ex
ample of personal sacrifice for a common 
cause, which makes it even more enviable. 
In the opinion of THE ALUMNUS, his
 greatest achievements were accomplished
 during the football season of 1923 and the
 basketball season of 1924. In 1922 he 
had been called the best halfback in the
 United States, and it was confidently ex
pected that he would surpass his record 
in the following season. As far as per
sonal prowess, number of touchdowns and
 marvelous runs went, he failed signally 
to do so; and yet he was unquestionably 
the greatest single factor in the year's rec
ord of unbroken victories. He gave dur
ing the year what was certainly the great
est exhibition of long and accurate punt
ing, which any man in any year has ever
 given. By his superb and never-failing
 kicking, he freed Michigan's goal from 
danger times without number, and almost 
as often he put the team in a position to 
score. And during the basketball season that followed (and for that matter the
 first weeks of the baseball season) he
 played hard and brilliantly in every game
 with a knee so badly hurt that he was in
 constant pain. 


Kipke's cleated shoes will never dent
 the turf of Ferry Field again; his name 
has gone into the hall of fame with those
 of Snow, Heston, Bennett, and Craig, Schulz 
and the other great ones. It is true that 
he will be known to Michigan history 
mainly as an athlete, and there are those
 who think such laurels of little value. But
 modern college standards and conditions 
almost demand that a man give such bodily service to his college if it lies in him, 
 and Kipke did it without stint and at the
 same time without that loss of perspective, 
which has been the bane of so many col
lege athletes. 
 He has been a stout and faithful sol
dier, through nine hard campaigns of
 mimic warfare, serving both as private 
in the ranks and leader of the troops, a 
thorough sportsman, a good fellow in the 
real sense of the term, and a man, and 
Michigan is proud of him.