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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Tales from the old-timer

Issue Date: December 19, 2012

Earl Jug Girard

I had the privilege of being on the same football field as Earl Jug Girard, Marinette High School 1944. As a Peshtigo High School football safety man, I played in a game against Marinette High School in which Marinette easily beat us 39-19. Some folks never heard of him.

I watched him play basketball in the days of the Peshtigo Rockets semi-pro team with men like Jack Dashner, Frannie Steffen, and Jim Behnke.

Four or five men would jump for a rebound, and Jug would jump with them. The rest would come back down, but Jug seemed to be still hanging up there in the air, to grab the ball. He was no giant, maybe 6 feet one or so, but he was a giant performance-wise.

He was a carefree, witty guy. I watched the Jugger, as a Wisconsin Badger, make two long punt returns for the Badgers against Iowa in his Freshman year under Coach Harry Stuldreiyer in a 46-14 Badger victory. He turned pro right after that, first with the Green Bay Packers and then with Detroit for the 1952-1956 seasons.

After the end of his career he ran a bar called The Lions’ Den. He was an All-American in his college days, beginning with the 1944 season, after which he served a stint in the US Army. He was named to the All America Team by Look Magazine for his exploits in that 1944 season.

After serving in the Army he returned to the University of Wisconsin and established school records, most punt-return yards at 158 and set a receiving yardage record that still stands - 130 yards against New York in one game. He was traded to Detroit, where he played from 1952-1956. He also played baseball for the Cleveland Indians.

Girard died of throat cancer in 1992 in his home in Rochester Hills, MI at age 69. He had worked as a Manufacturer’s Representative after leaving the bar business.

He was no giant in size, only about a six footer, but Earl Jug Girard was a giant in any sport he participated in.


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