Coach Chester Brewer liked to take his dog Laddie to work. Photo in 1911 MAC Yearbook courtesy of MSU Archives.
The biggest event covered in the Lansing Michigan paper on November 23, 1910 was a banquet held the night before Thanksgiving at the Hotel Downey to honor outgoing Michigan Agricultural College football, baseball and basketball coach Chester Brewer. Brewer coached the MAC Aggies from 1903-1910, never losing a home game on the gridiron. He returned to MAC from 1917-1920. Seventy-five guests, including many prominent citizens, attended.
After a “sumptuous and well-served banquet” the guests were treated to cigars. Then the speeches began. Among the presenters were future Michigan Supreme Court Justice Howard Wiest and founder of Motor Wheel William K. Prudden.
More Lansing Trivia : The Hotel Downey, standing in the current location of the Knapp’s building, was built as the Lansing House Hotel with bounty money obtained from the capture of John Wilkes Booth. The Downey burned in February 1912.
More About Coach Brewster, Member of MSU Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2000
Chester Brewer was Michigan Agricultural College’s first full-time athletics director and was one of the Spartans’ most successful coaches, compiling impressive records in football, baseball and basketball. Brewer, who also coached track and field plus cross country during his tenure, was appointed professor of physical culture and coach of all sports in 1903. Born in Owosso, Mich., he was a graduate of Wisconsin where he was a four-sport athlete and gained All-Western recognition in football. Brewer served three stints as football coach at MAC. He served from 1903-10 and then again for one season in 1917 and 1919. Brewer produced a career record of 58-23-7 (.699) with his teams posting shutouts in 49 of the 88 games he coached and at one point going undefeated in 43-straight contests at home. He coached MAC baseball teams to a record of 76-61-1 (.564) from 1904-10 and 1918-20 and compiled a 70-25 mark (.736) as head basketball coach from 1904-10. Brewer left East Lansing in 1910 to accept a position as athletics director and coach at the University of Missouri. He returned to MAC for one-year stints in 1917 and 1919, and served in 1918 as director of Army Athletics for the U.S. War Department. He returned to Michigan State College in 1919 as director of athletics and professor of physical education, remaining in that post until 1922 when he accepted a similar position at the University of California-Davis. He left UC Davis to return to Missouri where he served as athletics director from 1923-35. In 1951, MSU established the Chester L. Brewer Award that is presented annually to a graduating senior for distinguished performance in athletics and scholarship and for possessing a high degree of character, leadership and personality. Brewer passed away in 1953 at the age of 77.
Sources : “Thanksgiving in Lansing 100 Years Ago”, CADL Blog, November 28, 2010.