The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
New Student Edition - 5E
This year, the Michigan football program will have a new coach, new quarterback, new running back, new offense, new defense, new stadium, new
practice facilities and countless other changes. Exciting? Yes. A recipe for instant success? Not exactly.
But with a coach like Rich Rodriguez at the helm, it should only be a matter of time before the Wolverines are national championship contenders again.
Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was carried off the field by the team after his final game at the helm, a 4-35 Capital One Bowl win over Heisman winner Tim Tebow and Florida. Carr announced his retirement after the regular-seasoreloss to rival Ohio State.
Beginning to end, Carr a Michigan Man
The first question asked to
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
after he announced his
a press confer-
ence yesterday -j
was how he
judge his time
in Ann Arbor.
" I didn't
tome here to JACK
discuss my HERMAN
Carr might not want to, but in
the coming weeks, countless hours
will be spent debating how to eval-
uate his 13-year tenure running
Some will talk about how Carr
led Michigan to its first National
Championship since 1948. Others
will focus on his 1-6 record against
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.
But Carr's seemingly non-
answer answer to the question
might be a better indication than
anything else of what his legacy
will - or at least should - be.
It represents how Carr, a boy
from a small town in Tennessee
who later became an accidental
head coach at a school where he
once turned down a scholarship,
honored his mentor by running
one of the sport's best programs
the only way it should be:
Like a true Michigan Man.
"He is Michigan football,"
defensive coordinator Ron English
said. "He embodies this program. I
think he's really undervalued."
It's been that way since day one.
Had Gary Moeller never gotten
drunk at a Southfield restaurant
in April of 1995, Carr might never
have become head coach at Michi-,
gan. But when Moeller resigned
under pressure from the media
and the University, Carr - then
the team's defensive coordinator
- had a chance to take on many
coach's dream job.
But only if he wanted it.
Good friends with Moeller, Carr
had some doubts about taking over
- even on an interim basis - for
the man who had been anointed
Michigan's next head coach by Bo
Schembechler. In fact, caught up in
his emotions the day of Moeller's
resignation, he declared he would
not accept the top job.
"He was not sure if it was the
right thing for him to do at the
time," said Joe Roberson, who as
Athletic Director appointed Carr
interim head coach on May 13 of
that year. "But Lloyd was a good
Michigan Man. If that was what
we thought would berthe best
thing, that's what he should do."
Carr's appointment - which
came after Perin State coach Joe
Paterno pushed Roberson to give
Carr the job - bought the athletic
director time to make his final
coaching decision. But after Michi-
gan lost games to Northwestern
and Michigan State that season,
some critics hoped that decision
wouldn't involve Carr.
The Carr they knew had not
served as a head coach since
1975, when he left his job at John
Glenn High School in Westland to
become a defensive backs coach at
Eastern Michigan, taking a paycut
- with three kids - from $20,000
to $10,000 a year. The Carr they
knew worked under Moeller at Illi-
nois, on a staff that was fired after
the 1979 season. The Carr they
knew had been defensive coordi-
nator for back-to-back 8-4 teams.
They didn't know the Lloyd
Carr who, in a 1998 Detroit Free
Press story, talked about learning
tolerance from his father, Lloyd Sr.,
while growing up in a segregated
Tennessee town. The Carr who
moved to Michigan at 10 and, went
on to lead his high school football,
basketball and baseball teams to
state championships his senior
year of high school, giving pep
talks so good he was nicknamed
The Reverend. The Carr who got
to know his players better than
perhaps any coach in the country
and changed more than one life
with those one-on-one meetings
he would hold when he believed a
player was at a crossroads.
"He saved my life," said Marcus
Ray, who played for Carr from
1994 to 1998. "I was a young kid
that needed some guidance, some
tough love. I never had a father
figure, and he delivered. To me, my
relationship with Lloyd was deep-
er than football, it was about man-
hood, guidance and leadership."
Carr wasn't named permanent
head coach until a 5-0 win over :
Purdue pushed the team to 8-2
in 1995. The Wolverines lost to
Penn State the following week, but
ended the regular season with a
31-23 upset of an undefeated Ohio
After the game, Laurie Carr
- Lloyd's second wife - told the
Flint Journal it was the second
happiest day of her life.
No. 1? She had married Lloyd
exactly one year earlier.
In his 13 years as head coach,
Carr has done just about all anyone
could ask for.
Michigan has won 121 games,
five Big Ten titles and, of course,
that National Championship.
His players won 73 all-Big Ten
awards, 23 All-America honors and
a Heisman Trophy.
And from his first game as
head coach, when Michigan came
back from a 17-point deficit to
beat Virginia, to this year, like the
comeback against Michigan State,
he's coached in some unbelievable
But no matter what he's done,
he's never silenced the critics.
Too conservative. Too outdated.
And this year, too old. (Maybe, as
one newspaper suggested follow-
ing the team's loss to Appalachian
State, the game has just passed
Even when Carr did good
things, people viewed it as bad.
Carr's dedication to his assistants
- for instance, he got them all
two-year deals heading into this
year, unprecedented at Michigan
- has earned him the distinction
of being loyal to a fault.
He has dealt with rumors about
message to his granddaughter's
classmate, Peter, earlier this year
that no loss could get him down
was downright surreal.
Sure, reporters might have liked
more access, more answers and
perhaps fewer of those legendary
stares (or maybe not), but contrary
to popular belief, it seems like the
press actually enjoy workingwith
"It is difficult to reconstruct
all that has happened in 13 years
of covering Michigan football
under Carr,".Detroit News writer
Angelique S. Chengelis wrote Sun-
day. "It has been interesting, to say
the least. I can honestly say I have
enjoyed the journey and the devel-
opment of a respectful relation-
ship between coach and reporter."
FOLLOWING A LEGEND
to see th
by his e
rement, resignation or fir- Roberson believes Carr is
years. unfairly criticized because people
:04, he had to call a press tend to measure him compared to
nce to announce the news a legend.
t there was no news. Even if that's the case, what
make this short," Carr said. more could Carr do to honor
t sick, and I'm not retiring." Schembechler's name?
Outsiders before joining the
ON THE OUTSIDE. Michigan coaching staff, both men.
have become synonymous with the
of the problem may be school. Everyone knows Bo came
endency to take blame for from Miami (Ohio). But a number
but not praise for success. of people don't know Carr gradu-
one who will put more ated from Northern Michigan, not
e on Lloyd Carr than he Michigan, in 1968. (Actually, Carr
himself," Carr told The turned down a scholarship offer
an Daily in 1995. from Michigan to go to Missouri,
because of it, we only get before transferring. According to
se of the Carr his players the 1997 Detroit Free Press profile,
o lovingly about. he headed to Missouri to play foot-
oach who will bust out ball and baseball, major in journal-
"Don't Cry for Me Argen- ism and be with some friends)
lighten up his players in Since joining Michigan 28 years
e or sneak up behind them ago; Carr has done nothing but
re them while wearing a uphold Bo's values. Scandal has,
'he one who listens to clas- never touched the program, and
asic and reads books about Carr has been a model for his play-
an just sports. The one ers on and off the field.
tore likely to quote Kipling Last year, Carr spoke at Schem-
mbardi (who, as it turns bechler's memorial service after
Carr from the Packers the legendary coach passed away.
sending him off with a He talked about the time Lou
ake and some money to get Holtz offered him a job as Notre
Dame's defensive coordinator. It
has a lot of interest outside looked better and paid better, and
," Laurie said. Carr thought he should take it.
can be gruff, but even his Bo's response said it all.
aistic relationship with the "No, you're not going to Notre
an be exaggerated. Every- Dame," Carr said, quoting Schem-
embers the time Carr bechler. "You are Michigan, so
ed a sideline reporter at forget that. I don't want to hear
& of that Ohio State game, any more about it."
t people don't get a chance Carr's critics might wish he
he side that comes out dur- skipped town then and there.
s conferences. But the rest of us realize Bo's
an be testy at times (doesn't foresight was nothing but pro-
have any other questions), phetic.
funny, charming and pro- . "Nobody," Roberson said, "has
One could listen to Carr tell done more for Michigan than
y of the Little Brown Jug Lloyd has, in my view."
By SCOTT BELL brightest up-and-coming mminds
DailySports Editor to join him.
"Obviously, I'm very loyal
Jan. 3, 2008 - ORLANDO, Fla. - to the staff I had at West Vir-
When Rich Rodriguez got a chance ginia," Rodriguez said. "There'll
to sit down and watch a little foot- be several of them coming with
ball after a whirlwind couple of me. Several others possibly from
weeks, the newly hired Michigan other schools."
'football coach thought he'd finally After interviewing all of Mich-
get a chance to relax. igan's assistant coaches two days
But Rodriguez's moment of rest after his hiring, Rodriguez fired
was short-lived. all nine of them, allowing them
Less than two weeks after being to pursue other jobs. He then re-
introduced as Michigan's fourth hired running backs coach and
head coach in 40 years on Dec. 17, noted recruiter Fred Jackson and
Rodriguez found out he was being said that one or two more former
sued by the university he had just Michigan assistants might get
left when he saw the news scroll their jobs back.
across the bottom of ESPN during But for the majority of assis-
a bowl game. tants who worked under retiring
"I don't think that's normal, coach Lloyd Carr, Tuesday's bowl
that's not normal protocol, I didn't win against'Florida was their last
think," Rodriguez told reporters time on the Wolverine sideline.
in the press box before Michigan's "I'm blessed to have been
Capital One Bowl around . here,"
appearance Tues- outgoing quar-
day. "Imagine terbacks coach
my shock watch- Sgettings e cot Loefier said.
ing the game at sued I am the lucki-
the hotel with for $4 million est guy to have
my family, and it " . worked for coach
comes across that That wasn't a Carr and to coach
ticker, getting at Michigan."
sued for $4 mil- goo Rodriguez has
lion. That wasn't a fOd night. laid low since
good night." being hired in
Rodriguez order to keep
didn't talk about himself from
the specific details of the situa- a situation that would. have
tion, and his agent Mike Brown deflected attention from Carr.
declined comment after the law- The former West Virginia coach,
suit was initially filed on Dec. 27. who watched Tuesday's first half
West Virginia officials are suing from the Michigan sideline and
their former coach to collect a $4 the remainder of the game from
million buyout of his contract. a luxury box, is anxious to get to
"It's been difficult and it's been work.
a little disappointing, to be honest He's been handcuffed when it
with you," Rodriguez said. "A lot of comes to looking for new 'play-
folks have been terrific. The play- ers. since programs can only
ers have been terrific. A lot of the recruit on a limited basis for the
big boosters and supporters have next month. With approximately
been terrific. But it's been a little 10 open scholarships left in the
disappointing with some of the class, Rodriguez will have to hit
things with the administration the recruiting trails hard once
and some of the fans." NCAA rules allow him.
Rodriguez hasn't had too many Rodriguez might also have to
"good nights" since becoming retrace some of Carr's steps to
Michigan's head coach. make sure he doesn't lose any of
Faced with the task of putting the recruits who committed to
together a coaching staff for next Michigan before his hiring.
season, Rodriguez has to decide if "Obviously, there is some anxi-
he should remain loyal to his for- ety from the recruits who have
mer assistants at West Virginia, committed," Rodriguez said.
keep enough Michigan assistants " 'Do you know us? Do you
to make the transition easier or know how we fit?' We've talked
look nationally for some of the to all of them several times."
d over again, and, judging
nthusiasm, he could tell it
d over again, too. And his
This column originally
ran on Nov. 20, 2007.