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Just The Sports: The Death of Bo Schembechler

Just The Sports

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Death of Bo Schembechler

On the eve of one of the biggest college football matchups in close to a decade featuring the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines, Glenn Edward "Bo" Schembechler, Michigan's most famous football coach, passed away at the age of 77 finally falling victim to the heart disease which had plagued him for most of his life. Schembechler was the head football coach in Ann Arbor from 1969-89 and during that team he was named Big Ten coach of the year seven times while compiling a 194-48-5 overall record and a 11-9-1 record against Ohio State not to mention Schembechler never experienced a losing season as a head football coach. Even though his death has come as a shock to the football world, has provided a rallying cry for Michigan football fans everywhere, and has signaled the end of the now aptly named band Dead Schembechlers, his death is not a surprise to his closest friends.

"Bo talked to me about dying right before the Michigan-Ohio State game since the last time we spoke, which was about two months ago," long-time Schembechler friend Texas Tech basketball head coach Bobby Knight said. "He said he might put it off if Michigan lost a game before the Ohio State game and didn't have so much pressure on them to win, but when it was certain that this game would be for a spot in the national championship game, I knew he wouldn't be sticking around. Bo just couldn't bring himself to watch Lloyd Carr try to coach in a big game with his hands tightly wrapped around his neck again."

"I tried to talk him about it," Knight added. "Tried everything I could to convince him Michigan had a legitimate shot to win. That's when he told me, 'Bobby, look who they have on their sideline and look who we have on our sideline. There's no way we're winning with Lloyd Carr.' The autopsy may say Bo died of heart failure, but I know the real truth. He just couldn't bear to watch his beloved Wolverines get blown out again because of incompetent coaching."

Schembechler always appeared to support Lloyd Carr by saying all the rights things, although family members and other friends have begun to suspect that he has come to regret the hiring of Carr. Increasingly, Bo was seen spelling Lloyd with 3 L's to signify the three losses Carr was averaging per season and also spent more and more time on the numerous "Fire Lloyd Carr" websites. Often times Schembechler could be hard mumbling in agreement to what he was reading.

Former sports commentator Keith Jackson was another friend of Schembechler's, in whom Schembechler confided his secret intentions. The two had formed an amiable relationship found between many long-time commentators and coaches and talked whenever their schedules allowed. "Well, Bo just did what Bo thought was right," Jackson stated. "After swearing me to secrecy, he told me that wearing Lloyd Carr was like watching a car accident you were powerless to stop. You knew it was going to be ugly and end badly, but you just couldn't bring yourself to tear your eyes away. At least now he won't have to watch Michigan get demolished tomorrow, thank goodness. It's probably better this way."



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