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John Pingel


John Spencer Pingel

Inducted 1968

Date of Birth



Mount Clemens, MI


Michigan State University (1936-1938)


For much of its early football history Michigan State was considered a minor player. That all changed during the playing days of John Pingel. In 1937, the long-legged MSU halfback was on the way to directing his team to an 8-1-0 regular season record and the first Michigan State bowl bid. Although Auburn would halt the Spartans in the Orange Bowl that season, Pingel's disappointment would be eased by All-America recognition and selection as MSU's top scholar athlete. Pingel completed his amazing career as a triple-threat tailback the following season, leaving incredible statistics for the MSU record books, He had not missed a game in three years, averaged 5.1 yards per carry, completed 54 per cent of his passes and led the nation in punting. Following graduation, Pingel joined the Detroit Lions and promptly led the National Football League in punting. He went on to earn the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart while advancing to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S .Army during World War II and later became president of a Detroit advertising agency. Michigan State had a 20-6-2 record in Pingel's three years. The Spartans also beat rival Michigan two out of three games. Pingel received many honors in later life, including awards for service with the Boy Scouts of America and Detroit charities. He was a trustee for Michigan State University.


Height 6'0

Weight 175

Career Highlights

  • 1938 First Team All-America
  • 1937 Led nation in punting
  • 1937 Second Team All-America
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