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calendar   Saturday - November 18, 2006

Obituary

What’s the worst thing that could happen to the #1 ranked team in the country, Ohio State, right before the big game with Michigan, who is ranked #2? You guessed it. Legendary former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler died shortly after giving a pep talk to the Michigan players. I’m afraid Michigan will be a team with a mission today and Ohio State is in for a long afternoon.

It saddens me to hear of Schembechler’s death. He was one of the last of the great generation of college football coaches that included Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Vince Dooley, John McKay, Johnny Majors, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno - only two of which are still coaching. Michigan fans will miss him. R.I.P.

imageimageBo Schembechler (1929-2006)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—Bo Schembechler always put the team first, even during the final days of his life. At a Monday news conference to kick off Michigan-Ohio State week, the former Wolverines coach was asked if he would speak with the team before The Game. “I don’t anticipate that,” Schembechler said. “They can handle that themselves.”

Schembechler died at age 77 Friday when his failing heart stopped working, but not before he gave one last speech to the second-ranked Wolverines before they played No. 1 Ohio State. “Ironically, he and I were going to see each other yesterday, but he wanted to address the team,” Dr. Kim Eagle, Schembechler’s physician, said at Providence Hospital in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, where the famed coach was pronounced dead at 11:42 a.m.

The man with half-century-old roots to The Game died on the eve of perhaps the biggest matchup in the storied rivalry’s history, and his doctor said it might have been because of all the excitement. Schembechler, who became one of college football’s great coaches in two decades at Michigan, collapsed at the studios of WXYZ-TV in Southfield, where he taped a weekly show each fall.

Schembechler played for Woody Hayes at Miami of Ohio, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Hayes at Ohio State, and then, in his first season at Michigan in 1969, knocked off Hayes’ unbeaten Buckeyes, snapping their 22-game winning streak. “I’ll never forget when Woody said at the dinner we had for him after he retired,” Schembechler recalled Monday in front of a sea of reporters, photographers and videographers. “He looked down at me and said, ‘God damn you, you will never win a bigger game than that.’ And he was right. I don’t think I ever did.”

Schembechler was a seven-time Big Ten coach of the year, compiling a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89. His record in 26 years of coaching was 234-65-8. He never had a losing season. “I’m not sure he has gotten his due as far as being one of the truly great football coaches of all time,” Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. “I’m going to miss him.” Schembechler was 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes. From 1969-78 he opposed Hayes in what’s known as “The 10-Year War,” and Michigan was 5-4-1 during that stretch.

Schembechler was inducted into the Miami University Hall of Fame in 1972, the State of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 1992, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1993 and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 1993.


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 11/18/2006 at 09:14 AM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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