Hi everyone, wanted to get to this before too long, because I am very pleased that Michigan has found a way to honor former head football coach Lloyd Carr by naming the Stadium tunnel from the locker rooms near the parking lot entrance to the floor of Michigan Stadium, in his name.
First of all, I like coach Carr a lot. We worked together on Michigan Replay for years, but I knew him long before that as an assistant under Coach Schembechler. He was always hard working. He always had a great relationship with his players when he was a position coach. He was one of the staff that I sought out to just talk with during events and banquets. He never sought the spotlight. He just loved coaching, and loved the job. He loved watching young men develop and succeed. He cared about them as people. He hated to discipline them, but he knew he had to, at times, to make them better. He absolutely loved it when a young man he coached or mentored exceeded expectations. He pulled me aside more than once to tell me a story of a guy who had been at Michigan who was out in the world and really flourishing. It had nothing to do with football, it had everything to do with the person.
And another thing to remember about Lloyd is that he came to the head coaching position at Michigan in a way that was not ideal in his mind. He had to step in when Gary Moeller was let go. It was a horrible spot for Lloyd to be in. He was one of Mo’s best friends, and now he had to take over Mo’s dream job. He handled it with class and integrity. But that should be no surprise. Lloyd Carr is class and integrity.
A lot of the memories of Lloyd Carr revolve around the national championship season of 1997. The ceremony naming the tunnel for Lloyd occurred during the 25th anniversary celebration of that national championship team. But, don’t ever forget that Lloyd was saddled with the “interim” coach label back when he took over for Mo. There was speculation Michigan was looking for a permanent replacement, and Lloyd was the “interim” guy. How ludicrous! He should have never had to operate under that label. But he did, and you never heard him complain. All you saw was a guy going to work and keeping the program his top priority. A disciple of Bo and Mo, it was all about “The Team.” It wasn’t about him, it was about Michigan. Finally, after about 7 or 8 games, I don’t even remember, they came to their senses and removed the interim label. When they did, Michigan football had a leader in Lloyd Carr that would navigate the program to excellence with integrity and class all the way for close to 15 years.
We have been so very lucky to have had great men of character lead our football program over the years. Lloyd Carr fits the profile. For years now going forward, when you see the team come out on the field as the band plays the Victors, and the excitement level reaches a fever pitch, always remember the team just ran down the Lloyd Carr tunnel. A youngster might ask, Who’s Lloyd Carr? And why did they name a tunnel after him? And you can say he was a former football coach here at Michigan. He won a National title and Big Ten Titles with his teams. He helped young men get University of Michigan degrees, and sent them into the world for a bright future. He was a Michigan Man.
Congratulations Lloyd…you deserve the honor!