Legends, lists & lore: Bubbles Mitterwallner

Legends, lists & lore: Bubbles Mitterwallner

Merwin 'Bubbles' Mitterwallner

Today marks the 112th anniversary of the birth of Merwin Mitterwallner, an Illini guard who artfully opened holes for the legendary "Red" Grange. Known to his teammates as "Bubbles," he captained the Denver College football team, then later transferred to the Champaign-Urbana campus, where he lettered in 1925 and '27. In recognition of his athletic assistance to The Galloping Ghost in 1925, Mitterwallner earned third-team All-America honors from the International News Service and the Chicago Daily News. He also was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in '25. Mitterwallner and the '27 Illini finished 7-0-1 under coach Bob Zuppke, winning the mythical national championship. He was 30 years old as an Illinois senior. Born in Trumanburg, N.Y., the World War I veteran retired after careers with Ruston Distributors and the Board of Equalization. He died Dec. 1, 1974, at the age of 77.

Illini birthdays

Sunday: Brandon Lloyd, football/track & field (28)

Monday: Kirsten Martin, softball (24)

Tuesday: Mel Blackwell, basketball (65)

Wednesday: Patrick Rouse, football (30)

Thursday: Tim McAvoy, football (50)

Friday: Tim Norman, football/wrestling (50)

Saturday: Jerry Hester, basketball (34)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore and assistant athletic director at Miami (Ohio)