Raeder's Raiders Spirit Award

College football in the 1950s was played much differently than it is today.  There were 2 units that played - offense and defense - comprised exclusively of upperclassmen.  During the 1959 Michigan football season, Coach Bump Elliot created a third unit of sophomores led by J. Paul Raeder and collectively known as "Raeder's Raiders".  They quickly became favorites of fans, teammates, and coaches because of their hard-nosed, inspired play.  Time and time again, the Raiders provided a valuable spark to the entire team while coming off the bench.  Their philosophy was Be Prepared, Have a Great Attitude, Have Fun and Seize your Moment, and decades later that still resonates in college sports.
The Raeder's Raiders Spirit Award was established in 2005 by the Raeder family to commemorate J. Paul Raeder (Football, 1957-1961), who passed away in 2004.  This award is presented annually by the Letterwinners M Club to the University of Michigan student-athlete who demonstrates character, teamwork, dedication, perseverance, and intensity in athletic performance while coming off the bench.  Student-athletes from all sports who have earned a varsity letter are eligible to be nominated for the Raeder’s Raiders Spirit Award by their head coach or appointed representative of the program.  The nominees are voted on by the board of directors of the Letterwinners M Club.

2020 Raeder's Raiders Award Winner

This year's recipient, Max Wagner (Beverly Hills, MI), perfectly embodies the Raiders philosophy of Be Prepared, Have a Great Attitude, Have Fun and Seize your Moment.  A senior on the Men's Track and Field team specializing in the High Jump, Max was a walk-on his freshman year.  He chose the University of Michigan for its academics, and inquired about the track program "on a whim".  

Max improved his career best jump from 6'4" in high school to 6'11.75" this past indoor season.  If you can imagine launching your entire body over a bar at any height, then you can imagine how difficult each inch gets as the bar moves higher.  An improvement of over 7" in a collegiate career is nearly unheard of.  

After not making the Big Ten Championship roster his first 2 seasons, Max made both the Indoor and Outdoor rosters in 2019.  He scored points at the 2019 Outdoor Championship and qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Championship.  Max's PR came at his last collegiate meet, the 2020 Indoor Big Ten Championships where he placed 8th, scoring more team points.  

From Coach Jenni Ashcroft:  "Max is one of the most respectful and coachable student-athletes I have worked with.  There are certain student-athletes that you share their stories to encourage future teams. Max will definitely be someone I talk about to inspire student-athletes down the road. He is a testimony of someone that bought-in, committed himself to developing his craft and was always willing to extend his best effort for the team."

Even while putting in all the hard work on the track, Max carried a 3.93 GPA in Neuroscience with an eye on becoming a neurosurgeon.  Read more about that pursuit HERE.

Raeder's Raiders Award Winners
2020    Max Wagner, Men's Track & Field
2019    Maddy Abbott, Volleyball and Isiah Livers, Men's Basketball
2018    Sam Piazza, Ice Hockey
2017    Ally Davis, Volleyball
2016    Nick Renberg, Men's Cross Country
2015    Carly Warner, Volleyball
2014    Spike Albrecht, Men's Basketball
2013    April Newberry, Women's Crew
2012    Michelle McMahon, Volleyball
2011    Shawn Hunwick, Ice Hockey
2010    Courtney Boylan, Women's Basketball
2009    C.J. Lee, Men's Basketball
2008    Vanessa Sekhon, Field Hockey
2007    Katie Bohard, Women's Soccer
2006    Candace Gay, Volleyball

Only head coaches and their designees may nominate student-athletes for consideration of the Raeder's Raiders Award.  All submissions must be made using the the official nomination form, found HERE, and received no later than March 31, 2021.  

Please direct any questions to the Nominations & Awards Committee of the Letterwinners M Club via email at letterwinnersmclub@umich.edu.