Dworsky, Dan : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Dworsky, Dan

Daniel Dworsky

Dworsky was a terrific fullback and linebacker at Michigan in the mid-1940s, playing on some of the greatest Wolverine teams in history. He was a key member of the Michigans' national championship teams in 1947 and 1948.

After playing pro ball for one year, Dworsky returned to school, completed his architectural studies, and became a very successful architect. In 1967, his 80-person architectural firm, Dworsky & Associates, designed Crisler Arena, Michigan's basketball venue. The Arena is named after the former Michigan head coach Fritz Crisler --who was also Dworksy's football coach in 1947.

Dworsky also worked on Michigan Stadium in the mid-1960s. In 1965, the stadium's wooden benches were replaced with blue fiberglass ones. Dworsky designed a yellow "Block M" for the stands on the eastern side of the stadium, just over the tunnel. He also built the Federal Reserve Bank in Los Angeles and UCLA Drake Stadium for track and field competitions.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. October 4, 1927

Career Highlights:
Dworsky was an important member of the Wolverine's defense for four years during the mid-1940s. In 1947, Dan was named American Football Coaches Association All-America third team and the Wolverines had one of their greatest teams in history. That year, Michigan led the nation in total offense, averaging 412.7 yards a game, and passing (173.9), and posted a record of 9-0-0. In head coach's Fritz Crisler's last game, Michigan crushed USC in the Rose Bowl, 49-0. In those years, the final polls were taken before the bowl games and Michigan finished second behind Notre Dame (who did not play in a bowl). After the Rose Bowl outcome, the Associated Press held a special poll, and Michigan replaced Notre Dame as the national champ by a vote of 226 to 119. To this day, both schools claim the title.

In 1997, the '47 team reunited at the Rose Bowl (in which Michigan was playing) to remember their terrific season. Dworsky, who was selected as a member of the All-Time 50-year Rose Bowl team, said, "I noticed a recent article in Sports Illustrated that focused on the great team Notre Dame had that year. There was only a casual mention of Michigan. But we had such a well-organized team. The system was geared for the players we had."

He added, "It was an intelligent, mature team. So many of the players had been in the service during World War II, so there was no fooling around. It was a very serious group of guys. There was a great intensity and maturity within the team, and that carried us through from week to week...About half of us were 18-year-old kids, and half were veterans. We had guys who were serious and guys who were excitable. Fritz struck a balance, so we never had to be pushed, but we never lost our focus, either."

In 1948, the Wolverines repeated as National Champions, but could not play in the Rose Bowl due to Big Ten rules that prohibited a team from playing in the tournament for two years in a row. That year, Dworsky played in the Blue-Grey All-Star game.

The following year, Dworsky was the first pick of the Los Angeles Dons of the new All-American Football Conference. Inaugurated in 1946, the AAFC held secret college drafts because it needed to get a jump on players, ahead of the more established NFL. The Dons were one of the first franchises to bring major league pro football to the West Coast. In 1949, Dworsky played 11 games for the Dons (4-8-0) and had one interception; it was his only season in professional football. The league folded after the 1949 season, and three of its teams (the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts) merged with the NFL.

Origin:
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Career Dates:
Dworsky played linebacker and center at the University of Michigan from 1945-1948. He then played linebacker and blocking back in the AAFC with the Los Angeles Dons in 1949.

Physical description:
6'0", 211 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the AAFC:
Games: 11
Interceptions: 1
Interception return yards: 3

Kick returns: 1
Kick return yards: 14



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References:
The Encyclopedia of Football, by Roger Treat (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1976 -- 14th Edition)
Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League, edited by Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, and John Thorn (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)


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