June 12, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department will recognize three of its all-time great football players -- center Gerald Ford and ends Ron Kramer and Bennie Oosterbaan -- with the "Michigan Football Legend" distinction during the 2012 season, announced today (Tuesday, June 12) by Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. The Oosterbaan, Ford and Kramer families fully support returning the famed No. 47, No. 48 and No. 87 jerseys into circulation starting this fall.
Oosterbaan, Ford and Kramer will be honored in perpetuity with their names always affixed to the No. 47, No. 48 and No. 87 jerseys, respectively. A patch over the left upper chest will be affixed to the jersey of all future players donning the jersey numbers. The football staff has not determined which current players will wear the jerseys honoring the former legends.
"The success and acceptance of the Desmond Howard 'Legend' recognition led to conversations with the family members who had retired jerseys, several of whom were never recognized or celebrated in the appropriate manner," said Brandon. "The Ford, Kramer and Oosterbaan families want to see their family member honored in this way. We have yet to have any discussions with the Wistert or Harmon families. This program is about tradition and legacy and this is a unique way to recognize these great Wolverines."
"This is an outstanding way to recognize our former greats," said head coach Brady Hoke. "It speaks to the tradition and success of our program, and it honors those who led the way in the past."
In addition to the permanent patch, Ford, Kramer and Oosterbaan will be featured in a special area to be designed and constructed in the soon-to-be renovated Schembechler Hall. Also, the lockers to be used by No. 47, No. 48 and No. 87 in both the Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium locker rooms will be customized to reflect the fact that Oosterbaan, Ford and Kramer will forever be Michigan Football Legends.
Following are the tentative dates for recognizing legend status for Oosterbaan, Ford and Kramer:
- Bennie Oosterbaan -- Air Force (Sept. 8)
- Ron Kramer -- Massachusetts (Sept. 15)
- Gerald Ford -- Illinois (Oct. 13)
Desmond Howard was the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, honored last year during the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. Howard's No. 21 jersey will be worn by senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) in 2012.
Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423