Albion Football 1961: A Magical Season
The 1961 Albion football team, whose 8-0 record included victories over future Mid-American Conference member Eastern Michigan, posted the school's first undefeated football season since 1928. The Britons, who outscored opponents 186-55, were the only undefeated team in the state. It was the first undefeated team for Coach Morley Fraser and it was the second of his five MIAA football championships with the Britons. "Morley Fraser taught his players to love one another both on and off the field," Darwin Christiansen, '63, reflected. "The players from the 1961 championship team have taken his teaching to the highest level as we remain close to each other in times of joy and sadness."
In addition to the fine team performance, many honors were bestowed upon individual members. End Gary Methner, guard Joe Shurmur, quarterback Frank Gould, halfback Ray Hoag, and fullback J.B. Elzy all were selected as All-MIAA offensive team members. The All-MIAA defensive squad included Shurmur, guard Milt Moore, tackle Terry Methner and safety Bob Porritt.
The Michigan small college All-State Team also included Gould, Elzy, Hoag, Shurmur, and Gary Methner. Elzy was selected to the Methodist All-American team. Shurmur was voted Most Valuable Player in the MIAA and was named to the small college All-American second team. Dale Springer became the first small-college student ever to receive the Red Blaik Fellowship award.
While the record is impressive, the team's legacy is what the men accomplished after graduating from Albion including successful careers in business, education, the ministry, law, scientific research, and medicine.