November 17, 2006

Submitted by BOX House on June 20th, 2012 at 6:46 PM


November 17, 2006


First time diary poster, but this meant so much to me that I hope others can appreciate it. And I hope those who were at Michigan during this date can relate. I would also love to hear others' accounts of what they were doing when they heard the news.

Bo forever.



The day had an ominous feel to it. I woke up in my dorm in Mary Markley Hall, went and got ready in the community bathrooms, and walked to my "History of the 1960's" discussion in Mason Hall -all the while my mind was focused on one thing, and one thing only: #1 v.s. #2, my first Michigan - Ohio State game of my college career (little did I know how that whole thing would turn out). I was slightly hungover, but this was back in the day where I could play ten rounds of beer pong and wake up and still make it to my 8:30 classes. Before class started I picked up a copy of the Michigan Daily and read about the historical implications of the impending game that was approximately 26 hours away. 

It was the peak of my life thusfar. I was living the only real dream I had ever had: getting in to the University of Michigan and going there. The friends I had made in 2nd Elliot Hall in Markley and I were inseperable. We drank about 4 times a week and had a blast exploring our new world - Ann Arbor. House parties were a new world to us. Girls were everywhere. I had no worries about finding a girl to settle down with, about finding a stable career, about any serious problems in my life, really. The tailgate scene down frat row seemed to be the heaven my 18 your old self had dreamed about for years. Better yet, we had yet no witness a Michigan loss during our college careers, as the Wolverines were a perfect 11-0 heading into the Game.
My GSI rambled on about the Black Panther Party, or Women's Rights, or Dylan... I don't know which, because all I could think about during that discussion section was what it might mean if Michigan would beat Ohio State the next day: my life would be perfect.
I walked out of class, through the diag, over the bridge and back to my dormitory, probably walking on airs with giddy anticipation for the weekend that would define my life thusfar. I walked into my hall and chatted with the guys who had just become my family away from home, my best friends. I stepped into my room, decorated with a unique combination of Michigan paraphenalia and alcohol posters that were cool when you were a freshman. And then it happened.
I don't really remember how I saw it. Maybe it was a website. Maybe it was that little ticker across the bottom of ESPN. But I saw it clearly. "Bo Schembechler has passed away".
I remember vaguely walking to the room next door to me, where the one person who I would consider rivaled me in Michigan fandom (a Rudy-esque type of guy who walked onto the football team but never saw the field - one of the best guys I've ever met), lived. I think we both kind of looked at eachother in disbelief. We didn't know whether to hug eachother or what. After that I walked around in a bit of a daze. I decided I needed some fresh air.
I went for a long walk that Friday afternoon. I decided to walk through the graveyard adjacent to Mary Markley Hall (little did I know that would be where Bo would be buried). I thought about home. I thought about my childhood. I started to cry, and I didn't really know why. I never knew Bo, never was a fan during his coaching tenure. But it was like a grandfather had passed away. I looked at the tombstones around me and just felt sad.
It would be too sentimental to say that was the moment my childhood truly ended, but things were certainly different after that - the easy-going world around me slowly started to disappear.


BOX House

June 21st, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I don't think so all. I would like to think that everyone from Michigan experiences the same thing, but somehow I can't bring myself to believe it because I know all my friends are in NYC or DC or Seattle or Dallas or San Fran. I am from Livonia, and no one else in the world is. No one comes back here after Michigan.


June 20th, 2012 at 8:50 PM ^

I was taking a graduate of the program I direct out to lunch and was listening to ESPN Radio on the way to the restaurant. At approximately 11:45 a.m. Colin Cowherd told me that Bo had entered the eternal big house. I could feel my body tense then sag and found it very hard to normally breathe. You can presume someones passing but you are never able to anticipate the loss and feeling of remorse you feel when a giant succumbs and leaves your world much smaller. I thought of poor Don Shane and how he must have felt since Bo had his last cardiac event at the WXYZ studio where he was going to film the Big Ten Ticket show.

I don't hold the news I received from Cowherd against him but I found it ironic that a pedestrian radio show host who had repeated for years that Michgan was no longer on college football's stage of major programs told me that the man who put us there was no longer with us. The simplest contradictions in life are always the most confounding.

Bando Calrissian

June 21st, 2012 at 12:11 AM ^

That day, I was packing for the MMB trip to Columbus.  We were supposed to be bussing down that afternoon, and I was just finishing up before walking down to get there with plenty of time.  Had the TV on in my house and a Ufer recording on my stereo system, just getting amped up and trying to find all my stuff.  Then I noticed the scrolling headline on the TV that he had the heart attack, and then a few minutes, that he had died.  My parents called me, they're both alums and went to school during the 10-Year War, and it was just impossible to process what was happening.

A few minutes later, I had to be on my way down to Revelli.  That was one of the longest, strangest walks I can remember.  It was like I had been punched in the gut on what should have been one of the best days ever.  Walking into Revelli, everyone just had the same vacant stare on their face.  Funeral-esque.  No one knew what to do.  Everything that happened that day, on Saturday, and even the week after, it was like dealing with losing a family member.  And being in the MMB, I was in the middle of it all.  It's something I'll never forget.

I had the opportunity to be around Bo a bunch of times over the years, from when I was a kid and he was still coach, to all the way up to about a week before he died, when he was sitting a couple rows in front of us at a performance at the Power Center.  He didn't look good, it was the first time I'd ever seen him truly frail, but he was still completely engaged, and was perfectly friendly to everyone who approached him to say hi.  It was little snippets of totally vintage Bo.  He liked being around people, and people liked being around him.  I sure did.  

Anyways, this has kind of turned into a microcosm of that week.  A little nonsensical, a little rambling, and not really close to getting closure on how I feel about the fact that Bo isn't around anymore.  Yet I think we've all come back.  We went through the void, but we've found our center again as a university and as a football program.  Things feel right again.  And that's good.


June 21st, 2012 at 11:17 AM ^

I was flying into Detroit that morning.  When we landed, but were still on the plane, my wife called her father to arrange our airport pick-up.  She hung up the phone and said, "Bo just died."  What I'll always remember were the gasps of the people nearby and the murmu that went through that plane.  I still get shivers recalling it. 


June 21st, 2012 at 12:00 PM ^

I graduated in 2005 and by Fall of 2006 was working in NJ, a job that I did not have to be at until 1pm.  I remember getting ready in the morning and seeing the news on ESPN.  I stopped getting ready and just stood there, staring blankely into nothingness. 

I grew up a Michigan fan as both of my parents are Michigan alums as well, having attended Michigan from 1968-1974 (graduate school included).  My dad was there when Bo was hired.  I grew up watching Michigan on TV, seeing Bo on the sidelines before he retired when I was 6 years old.  Bo gave a speech at my graduation in 2005, something I will always remember. 

I called my dad, knowing that he does not watch much TV or check internet news sites to inform him of the news.  There was a silence from both ends of the phone.  I have seen my dad cry exactly one time in my life, the day his mother was diagnosed with cancer (his father passed away prior to my birth so if he cried then, I didn't see it).  While I was on the phone and could not see my dad,  this was the 2nd time I heard him cry. 

The Michigan family lost a leader and a father/grandfather that day.  But Bo lives on in each of us, in Ann Arbor, and in the University of Michigan. 


June 22nd, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

From cmu with my roommate, also a michigan fan and from my same hometown. We were coming home to watch the game with our friends and family back home. Then my roommate from the year before called me and told me. Almost started crying right then and there. At this point, I had been watching Michigan for about a decade and bo had become a grandfather figure to one of my lifes most cherished establishments. I still think about him every so often. Still have my copy of bo's lasting lessons in my collection. Read it if you haven't.


June 29th, 2012 at 9:48 AM ^

I called the wife and told her, then went back to work I only stayed there for an hour or so then went home sat down and wept for the rest of the day. The only other time I shed tears for Michigan Football was the day Bo retired.

He was like a father figure in my life and although I was not connected to him in any way he was a great influence on my life, the message he delivered up until the day he died was one that can inspire people to accomplish things that they could have never concieved as possible.

Bo was able to walk with Kings without losing the common touch, that is truly what made him a legend to me.