For the Australian politician, see Bob Wiese (politician).
Date of birth: 25 January 1923
Place of birth: Jamestown, North Dakota
Date of death: November 19, 1971(1971-11-19) (aged 48)
Place of death: Lake County, Ohio
Career information
Position(s): Fullback, Quarterback
NFL Draft: 1945 / Round: 5 / Pick: 39

Robert Lee Wiese (25 January 1923 – 19 November 1971) was an American football player. He played college football for Fritz Crisler's University of Michigan Wolverines football teams in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1946—missing the 1945 season due to military service. He also played professional football for the Detroit Lions in 1947 and 1948.[1]

Biography[edit | edit source]

Wiese was born in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1923. He enrolled at the University of Michigan where he joined the football team coached by Fritz Crisler in 1942.[2] In his first year with the team, he started eight games at the fullback position. and was given Meyer Morton Award as the player who showed the greatest development and promise during spring practice.[2]

In 1943, Coach Crisler asked Wiese to assume the quarterback position, and Wiese started five games at the new position as well as three games at his customary fullback position.[3] Wiese was a key player in a Michigan offense that scored 302 points[3]—more points than a Michigan team had scored in 25 years (including the Tom Harmon years). The 1943 Michigan Wolverines football team finished the season with an 8-1 record, outscored its opponents 302 to 73, tied with Purdue for the Big Ten Conference championship, and was ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll.[3] On a team that included stars and Hall of Famers (including Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch and Bill Daley), Wiese was given the award as the team's Most Valuable Player.[3] His teammates also chose him to serve as captain of the 1944 team.

As captain of the 1944 team, Wiese returned to the fullback position, with Joseph Ponsetto taking over as quarterback. Wiese led the team to a 6–1 record in the first seven games of the season, including victories over Big Ten powers Minnesota (28–13), Northwestern (27–0), and Purdue (40–14). However, Wiese was called into active military service on November 1, 1944 and missed the final three games of the season.[4]

After being discharged from the military, Wiese was granted a fourth year of eligibility and returned to the Michigan football team in 1946. Wiese was the starting fullback in six of Michigan's games in the 1946 season.[5] He completed bachelor's and master's degrees in Engineering, was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, and went on to play for the Detroit Lions in the 1947 and 1948 football seasons.[1]

In his later years, Wiese worked as a managing engineer for North American Rockwell Co. (Molded Fiberglass Division) in Ashtabula, Ohio. He married Barbara Ann Piper, a Michigan graduate who he met for the first time in wartime Philippines, and they had four children. He died in a plane crash in November 1971. Wiese and two other Rockwell executives had chartered a twin-engine plane to take them to Detroit for a company meeting and attend the Michigan/Ohio football game. The plane crashed in a field in Lake County, Ohio, killing the three Rockwell executives and the pilot.[6] The Robert L Wiese scholarship is established in his name in the Athletics Department at the University of Michigan.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bob Wiese profile". Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "1942 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "1943 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  4. "1944 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  5. "1946 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved 2010-01-01.
  6. dids=597891202:597891202&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Nov+19,+1971&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune&desc=3+Executives+Killed+in+Plane+Crash+in+Ohio&pqatl=google "3 Executives Killed in Plane Crash in Ohio". Chicago Tribune. Nov 19, 1971. dids=597891202:597891202&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI&type=historic&date=Nov+19,+1971&author=&pub=Chicago+Tribune&desc=3+Executives+Killed+in+Plane+Crash+in+Ohio&pqatl=google.
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