1989 UM GRAD
Just got back from our annual week up at Camp Michigania.
For those of you who don't know, Camp Michigania is the U of M Alumni Association's family camp...located on the beautiful shores of Walloon Lake.
We've been going since our kids were very young...and, even though they are now both tweens, it remains our favorite week of the year. I'd recommend it to any MGoParents!
At any rate, the faculty forums are one of the highlights of each session. The faculty forums feature presentations by U of M professors...followed the next morning by an informal conversation with the previous evening's speaker.
I was very excited when I found out that one of the featured faculty members during our week was going to be Lloyd Carr.
He covered a lot of ground during his presentations...and during the Q & A that followed.
Mike Hart was singled out as a player who exceeded expectations and played with a tremendous amount of heart. Tom Brady received multiple mentions as being both tough and and an incredible leader.
Coach Carr obviously greatly admired Bo and shared many of Bo's leadership philosophies with us. Bo clearly eschewed a "win at all costs" approach in favor of doing things "the right way." Bo felt that a Michigan Man always does things the right way and doesn't break the rules.
Coach Carr indicated that the best-performing players have a mental toughness and a love of the game. This accounts for the differing level of success among players with similar measurables...and for some players outperforming expectations and others failing to live up to them.
An interesting tidbit: Coach Carr's contract gave him final say over which ball was used, uniforms, etc. I'm guessing that the whole "uniformz" meme would not have arisen had Coach Hoke been given this same power.
Many of the expected questions were asked and discussed...cheating in recruiting, SEC dominance, influence of $$ on the game, conference size/alignment, Kordell, MSU 2001, the Horror, RichRod, Manziel, 1997, why he retired when he did, etc. This post would get too long if I shared all of this comments...and I also feel as thought there's a little bit of a "what's said at Michigania stays at Michigania" expectation that should be honored. This wasn't an on-the-record press or media event.
I will say that he answered the RichRod questions vaguely/carefully...and that the question re: the Horror was about how he handled the post-game lockerroom rather than what happened during the game. He expressed great pride in how that team recovered to play well during the remainder of 2007. He said, though, that he felt that the 1994 team never totally recovered from Kordell's hail mary.
A great story re: Charles Woodson. Coach Carr had a policy in place that you didn't play in a game if you didn't practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. On the Tuesday before The Game in 1996, Woodson showed up to practice in street clothes and did not participate. Coach Carr told Woodson to show up in his office the next morning at 8AM. At the meeting, Woodson indicated he was hurt and wasn't going to be able to practice that day either. Coach Carr reminded him of the policy, and Woodson indicated he understood it. Knowing that he couldn't make an exception for Woodson, but also knowing that Woodson was key to our success, he did what we all would've done. He called Woodson's mother. Needless to say, Woodson showed up for practice on Wednesday...and played in The Game.
EDIT: A few addtional items...
Tom Brady very seriously considered transferring when he was stuck at third on the depth chart. Everyone in the room gasped a bit at the thought.
The 1997 championship team was invited to the White House. When Coach Carr asked Bo (a staunch Republican) if he wanted to attend, Bo said "no, and you shouldn't go either!"
Bo gathered his assistants to discuss the possibility of going to Texas A & M. He asked all of them their thoughts, and many advised him to take the opportunity. One of them highlighted the additional income for Bo and ability to take care of his family. Bo's response was something along the lines of..."But you're not the one who's going to have to stand up in front of the 120 men that you recruited and tell them that you're leaving them."
A sign that hung in the locker room during Coach Carr's tenure..."Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something."