Bill Pritula
Date of birth: (1922-03-10)March 10, 1922
Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of death: January 24, 2006(2006-01-24) (aged 83)
Place of death: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Career information
Position(s): Tackle
College: Michigan
 As player:
1941–1942, 1946–1947 Michigan

William "Bill" Pritula (March 10, 1922 – January 24, 2006) was an American football player. He played college football as the starting right tackle for Fritz Crisler's Michigan Wolverines football teams in 1942, 1946, and 1947. He was one of Michigan's "Seven Oak Posts" line in 1942, made famous for their durability and two-way playing, and was also a key blocker for the 1947 offensive unit known as the "Mad Magicians."

Pritula was born in 1922 at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but moved with his parents to Detroit as a child. His father, Ivan Prytula, immigrated from Austria in 1911. Pritula attended Chadsey High School in Detroit.[1] He enrolled at the University of Michigan and played at the right tackle position for the Michigan Wolverines football team from 1941–1942 and 1946–1947. After serving as a backup center in 1941,[1] Pritula started all ten games at right tackle for the 1942 team.[2] With the roster depleted due to the war, Pritula was one of several 60-minute men on the 1942 team who played all ten games with little or no substitution.[3] Michigan's 1942 line, which included Pritula, Julius Franks, Elmer Madar, Merv Pregulman, Albert Wistert, and Robert Kolesar, became known as the "Seven Oak Posts.[4][3]

Pritula missed three years at Michigan while serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps engineers in the Philippines during World War II. He returned to Michigan in 1946 and resumed his position as the Wolverines starting right tackle.[5] As a senior, he started nine of ten games at right tackle for the undefeated 1947 Michigan Wolverines football team.[6] His final game for Michigan was the 1948 Rose Bowl in which Michigan defeated the USC Trojans, 49-0.[7] During his three years as a starter at Michigan, the team compiled a record of 23-5-1 and were ranked No. 9, No. 6 and No. 1 in the AP Polls.[2][5][6] He was selected by the Associated Press as a second-team All-Big Nine Conference player in 1947.[8] He was also invited to play in the 1948 Chicago College All-Star Game against the Chicago Cardinals.[9] Pritula was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Tau Beta Pi national engineering society at Michigan.[10]

In June 1948, Pritula was hired as the line coach at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.[11] After retiring from football, Pritula worked for many years as an engineer for General Motors.[12] He received a master of arts degree from Michigan in 1967. He died in January 2006.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "1941 Football Roster". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "1942 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lyle E. Nelson. "Crisler's '42 Ironmen". College Football Historical Society Newsletter.
  4. Jim Cnockaert (2004). Michigan Where Have You Gone?. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-58261-771-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "1946 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "1947 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  7. "Records Smashed in 49-to-0 Victory: Michigan, in Bid for National Honors, Gains 491 Yards and Sets Modern Scoring Record; Brieske Kicks 7 Points; Southern California Defense Futile Against Chappuis and Weisenburger". The New York Times. January 2, 1948.
  8. "Four Wolverines, Three Illini Named on All-Conference Team". The New York Times. November 25, 1947.
  9. "10 Michigan Gridders Bid To All-Star Tilt". St. Petersburg Times (AP story). June 15, 1948.,5296764&dq=bill-pritula+michigan&hl=en.
  10. 1947 Michiganensian, pp. 65 and 267.
  11. "Sports in Short". The Milwaukee Journal. June 28, 1948.,6492557&dq=bill-pritula+michigan&hl=en.
  12. "It'll be golden day for past, present Michigan gridders". The Argus-Pres. November 25, 1997.,2254423&dq=bill-pritula+michigan&hl=en.

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