Friday, November 17, 2006

Whoa.

Bo Schembechler dies
Former Michigan coach passes away after collapsing

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Bo Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, died Friday after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines' No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was 77.

And on the eve of the biggest game of the year between bitter rivals U-M and OSU. Even though Bo hasn't coached in years, he was still very much the father figure for football here in Ann Arbor. As the U-M head coach (and protege to OS's Woody Hayes) during the epic battles between these programs in their heydays, Schembechler took on particular stature during the third week of November every year. He had become very much the face of this rivalry for both sides. In Columbus there is a reknowned band called the Dead Schembechlers... Here in Ann Arbor, they sell Bo bobble heads, but I've never seen such a tribute to ten-year current coach Lloyd Carr...

I'm not going to pretend that I know much or care very much about Michigan (or college) football. I grew up watching Big East basketball, and what I know about U-M is only since I moved here in 2001, but it is readily apparent, even to a casual fan, how much Schembechler means to Ann Arbor and the football program. Bo Schembechler is larger than life in a small city like Ann Arbor, and when you live close enough to the Stadium to park cars on the lawn and hear the PA, like I do, you really can sense the energy that is gameday and 100,000 people descending on your neighborhood.

I'm sure this will cast a somber tone over tomorrow's game, and the broadcasts will be rife with tributes, but I hope it doesn't weigh too heavily on the minds of the Michigan players and coaches. This is the biggest game for these two schools in years, (and If I am correct the latest in the season numbers 1 and 2 have played anywhere in a long time). It was to be the country's biggest sports event of the week, if not the month, and while this adds some Hollywood drama I hope the game doesn't suffer because of it.

RIP Bo. And Go Blue!

[On a lighter note, entertaining (pre-Bo) previews can be found at everydayshouldbesaturday and Deadspin]

2 comments:

Smitty said...

I tired not to hold the fact that 1) he fired Ernie Harwell; and 2) he coached for U of M; against him.

It worked. Great coach, great guy, great for football, and a true icon. I felt truly bad, as any George Perles-era Sparty (like myself) should and would.

I'll hoist a beer skyward for Bo.

Mr Furious said...

As I said, I'm new to this U-M football world. I read about Bo's tenure as Tigers GM and the fact that he canned Harwell a month or two ago when I was writing posts on the Tigers.

Definitely not one of his finer moments.

Good game the other day, but I expect it ends up costing them a shot at the national title. Close ain;t good enough.