Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Miss You, Lloyd Carr

Thank you, Lloyd Carr

Lloyd Carr just announced his retirement, effective September 1, after 30 years at the University of Michigan. Many members of the Michigan family were elated when he resigned as the football coach 2 ½ years ago, and became Associate Athletic Director.

Now, it’s like the George Bush bumper sticker: “Miss me yet?”

The rub on Lloyd Carr was that he lost 6/7 to Jim Tressel at Ohio State, had lost three straight Rose Bowls, twice to USC and once to Texas, was falling down on recruitment, his teams weren’t well conditioned or prepared, and he lost to Appalachian State.

Just think of Lloyd’s successor, Rich Rodriquez. Miss Lloyd yet?

All Lloyd Carr did in his 13 years as head coach was win a national title, five Big ten championships, and became only the third Michigan coach to win over 100 games (the other two were the immortals Fielding H. Yost and Bo Schembechler). His record was 122-40 for a .753 winning record, 19-8 against Top 10 teams, 5-4 against Notre Dame, 10-3 against Michigan State, and 9-2 against Penn State. That looks like a winner.

Miss him yet?

Lloyd Carr was the only Michigan football coach since 1948 to have a perfect season; even the beloved Bo did not accomplish that, usually losing to Ohio State or in a bowl game at the end of the season. Lloyd Carr is the only Michigan coach of a Michigan football team that had a 12-0 record. Lloyd Carr was the only Michigan football coach since 1948 to win the national championship.

Let me repeat, Lloyd Carr was the only Michigan football coach to win a national championship in the past six decades. Basketball, gymnastics, swimming, track and field, softball titles are great, but The Victors was written after a football game.

Miss him yet?

Lloyd’s curse was to win the national championship, and in his first six years as head coach own Ohio State 5-1. The Michigan fan base became spoiled.
The question for many fans is “What have you done for me lately?” For them, the credo is Al Davis’ “Just win, Baby.”

Gene Stallings wins a national title at Alabama, and he’s out a few years later. John Robinson won a national title and several Rose Bowls in his first stint at USC. He returned after several years in the pros, won Rose Bowls, but was fired. Phil Fullmer won a national title at Tennessee, but subsequently fell short of Alabama and Florida. He was gone two years ago. Auburn was dissatisfied with Terry Bowden and Tommy Tuberville, both of whom had perfect seasons. They were terminated. Jim Harrick wins a basketball title at UCLA, the only one since John Wooden, and he was fired two years later.

What have you done for me lately?

Miss me yet?

All Lloyd Carr did was win the last game of his career, beating Florida 41-35 in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2008, wiping the smirk off Urban Meyers and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s faces.

Miss him yet?

For Michigan, Lloyd Carr was not only a great football coach, but a humanitarian, supporter of women’s athletics, and a prodigious fundraiser for the replacement Charles S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Even after retirement, Lloyd will continue to give speeches and fundraise for Michigan. For him, the team and school always came first.

We know that teenagers, even athletes, often have emotional issues of maturity, judgment, control, homesickness, and lost love. The Michigan football players were no exception. Lloyd's door was always open to them, and through his gentle touch, got many to fulfill their promise and potential, as did John Wooden, Bo and Woody. 25players have left the program early after Rich Rodriquez's arrival, whose attitude seems to be "It's Rich's way or the Highway."

One more thing about the soft-spoken Lloyd Carr; he is erudite. He reads the classics. Lloyd Carr has never been that cliché “the dumb jock.”

Lloyd, enjoy your retirement; you earned it.

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