5 Years without Bo

Submitted by dtod on November 17th, 2011 at 10:06 AM

5 years ago today we lost Bo.



November 17th, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

Began our current slide and now the beginning of our recovery in football.  Our story's exact starting date, the day Bo died before the 2006 Michigan-OSU game.  It did not start with hiring RR.  After that, Lloyd Carr lost 2 games to end the season to OSU and USC, opened the following year losing to Appalachian State and then getting slaughtered by Oregon.  Bo's death brought about Lloyd's decision to retire, he did not want to carry on without Bo as the resident football coach emeritus, and a very inept search (detailed in the book 3 and Out just released by John Bacon) for a new head coach to replace both Carr and Bo, if you really think about it.  RR was never schooled, as Schembechler was by Bump Elliott and Don Canham, as to the traditions and ways and other things that are expected of the Michigan head football coach.  Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman and Lloyd Carr all 3 did a very poor job of managing and working with RR through that transition, and the school's football team (mostly the players who stayed) suffered greatly for it in terms of recruiting, keeping players from transferring, and a general food fight amongst the fan base and alumni and within the athletic and academic administration. 

It appears that our new athletic director learned a few lessons from this, and with Hoke, Mattison, and Borges the ship seems to have righted and headed in the right direction.


November 17th, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

I think they difficulty of the last few years is a real testimate to who Bo was and what he meant to the school. Even though he wasn't a huge part of the program, people associated with the program continued to toe the line. After he left, controversy just circled the program.

God I miss him and wish I could thank him again for everything he did for our program


November 17th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

 We're gonna believe in each other, we're not gonna criticize each other, we're not gonna talk about each other, we're gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it's gonna be Michigan again, Michigan."


November 17th, 2011 at 3:59 PM ^

When reading in the 3&O prologue about how Bo was Michigan's spiritual leader and almost five years later, he has still not been replaced, I thought "OK, that's true, but why does a program NEED a father? I can think of plenty of programs who have had great success in the last five years that have not had an obvious patriarch." Then it struck me that Michigan can and will succeed in the future without that father figure as well, they just got used to having it that they didn't know what to do for a few years without him.

It was almost like a respected teacher (Bo) takes an extended leave for the school year, a weak substitute comes in who the kids can walk all over (Martin) and the kids do everything they always wanted to do but knew was wrong and couldn't get away with before (sleeping in class, throwing gum, 20-minute bathroom breaks). Report cards came in and going into the final quarter they realized "Oh shit, we're all gonna fail this class because we haven't been doing the rights things and actually working" and realized they would have to discipline themselves instead of counting on someone else to keep them in line.



November 17th, 2011 at 11:54 AM ^

It's hard to imagine what PSU fans are going through.  Paterno is their Bo.  If Bo had been involved in a scandal like that . . . I don't know how I would have reacted.  Thankfully, as far as we know Bo was the real deal. 


November 17th, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

Knowing how much Hoke is into the history and tradition of Michigan, and how much he "gets it" and is a fan of pointing (which this video contains much of), what are the odds that Hoke plays this for the team during the week leading up to OSU?  I say pretty high.


November 17th, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

God, what a horrible day that was.  I can't believe it's been 5 years.  I could listen to Bo talk about the weather for 12 hours and be entertained.  Up until the day he died, he could tell you football stories that went back 50 something years to his assistant coaching days that were still fresh in his mind.  He's just one of the greatest men who ever lived.



November 17th, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

This was the same day I was accepted to Michigan. 

My Michigan Football Timeline

- Bo Dies

- Lose th #1/#2 match to osu

- loose bowl game

- App State

- Oregon raping

- Lloyd Carr retirement

- Rich Rod Era

- Graduation


Good thing I'm a wolverine for life. #growblue


November 17th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

My Michigan Football timeline

- Beat OSU - Big 10 Champs

- Bo retires

- Heartbreak in Rose Bowl

- Enter Gary Moeller

- Beat OSU - Big 10 Co-Champs - Gator Bowl win

- Desmond - The Catch - Suck it ND

- Heisman Pose - Beat OSU - Big 10 Champs

- Desmond Heisman, woo!  Washington Rose Bowl annihilation, sob

- "Undefeated" season, Beat OSU, Big 10 Champs

- Tyrone Wheatley is good - Rose Bowl win - payback's a bitch Huskies, woo!


Wow, I sometimes forget how good I had it when I was matriculating at Michigan. 


Hardware Sushi

November 17th, 2011 at 10:55 AM ^

Wow...5 years.

My immediate reaction is "where did the time go?", but the more I think about it, the more it feels like an eternity.

It's amazing to be able to step back and see what he meant to this program - both what his presense did for the program and the void his absense left - even if it's only in our minds and hearts.

He embodied his words and made everyone better because they knew they had to live up to his level of expectations.


November 17th, 2011 at 10:56 AM ^

When I was a senior in the marching band, Bo came to speak to us during Band Week that August. I remember being in awe of him, as were all of the other MMB members. When he passed, my grandma left me a voicemail, saying how sorry she was, as if I'd lost a member of my family. It's a testament to him as a person that, five years out, it's as if he never left.


November 17th, 2011 at 10:56 AM ^

When I was a senior in the marching band, Bo came to speak to us during Band Week that August. I remember being in awe of him, as were all of the other MMB members. When he passed, my grandma left me a voicemail, saying how sorry she was, as if I'd lost a member of my family. It's a testament to him as a person that, five years out, it's as if he never left.


November 17th, 2011 at 11:14 AM ^

"You owe it to every man, woman, and child in the State of Michigan to beat the Buckeyes and silence their fans!  Now go out there and make it happen!"

- Bo Schembechler (Result: U-M 22  OSU 0)


Also seen as True Blue Grits tag line.


November 17th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

and the more I watch and listen to him, the more I miss him.  In all my 47 years, there has never been someone who I never met that means more to me than Bo.   I am choked up now and am every time I watch anything about Bo.  This program truly has never been the same since he passed.  But now, we have someone in charge of this program who embodies the spirit of Bo and I feel it is in good hands.

Go Blue!


November 17th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

A family tree, then it's like bo was the grandpa. After his children bickered, we brought in a distant relative (rich rod is like a distant cousin if you use the bo to nehlan to rr connection). While our distant cousin didn't "perceive our immediate family needs," we decided to get the grandson of bo, Brady hoke, to return from his adventure out west and take over the family business. Our family friend mattison returned too. We all lived happily ever after


November 17th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

and some girl said that Bo had died and I dismissed it. Then I walked over to West Quad for lunch and it was on ESPN. I just kinda stopped walking and was in disbelief. It was such a strange day. 


November 17th, 2011 at 12:07 PM ^


Garrett Rivas, former Michigan kicker, played for Lloyd Carr: "It was right after the spring game my freshman year, and I was growing a beard all through spring ball. I played in the game, and after, we had a little family reception and I wanted to introduce my parents to Bo. My dad played football in high school and college and played in the NFL and he knew quite a bit about Bo, so I wanted to introduce them. So I walked up with my parents right behind me and tapped Bo on the shoulder and was like, 'Coach.' He turns around and the first thing he says is, 'You need to shave that s--- off your face.' I was like, 'Bo, I want to introduce you to my parents.' He didn't budge at all. Not embarrassed or anything that my parents were there. He just kept rolling with the conversation.

"I literally, as soon as I left, got back to the house, pulled out the clippers and shaved. I said, 'All right, when that guy speaks, you've got to listen.' My parents had already told me to shave, too. My dad, when we walked away, said, 'See? You better go get a razor.' That was how he talked, so I took it with a grain of salt, but my parents didn't really know him at all so they said, 'Did he really just say that? You better go shave.'"


November 17th, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^


Former running back Ricky Powers
"You had to be a tough guy, because everything at Michigan was black and white. You had to know they were recruiting the best. The pitch was Bo, and I was lucky enough to be one of his last recruits. I got to see a legend come in to my house.

"My dad was watching television, and Bo came in to our house with the rubber rain shoes on. He takes those things off as he walks in, grabs the remote control, turns the TV off and kicks his feet up on our table. I said, if there's a man that can come into my house and take the remote from my dad, that's who I'm going to play for.

"Bo was so good at recruiting. He didn't lie. He came out, sat down, and said, 'You could play at Michigan, I wouldn't tell you that if I didn't believe it.' He had this arrogance about him. He'd tell you that you could go to any school in the country, but it won't be Michigan.

"I was listening to (former Florida State coach) Bobby Bowden, but when Bo says you'll play in the Rose Bowl, if you stay you'll get your degree, and you'll be on TV all the time, that was it. He never lied, and you appreciated that."


November 17th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

I cant believe how vividly I remember that day for it being someone I didnt actually know. I was a junior in college at the time. The last part of the 2006 season I was so amped at the thought of playing an undefeated OSU team while we were undefeated ourselfves. When it finally became official that we would both be undefeated, there has never been a longer game week.

My dad was a large reason I was such a huge michigan fan, and I had been hearing about Bo my entire life. To make this game even sweeter, I was going to head home to watch it with my Dad. Friday finally rolled around. I woke up hung over after a typical college thursday night, but no hang over could dampen my excitment. I immeditatly starting packing up all of my stuff for the trip home. I remember it being a very drery day. As I packed my stuff, my phone was sitting in my room. When I looked at, I had 5 missed calls within the matter of minutes. Usually not a good sign.

When I called back my buddy, all he could ask was if I had seen the news. When I turned it, I was in shock. How could one of the men responsible for the greatest rivalry in sports die the day before the biggest game in that rivalry. I am not a religious man, but its almost as if Bo wanted to go to Heaven so he could watch with Woody. Watching the game the next day wasnt the same. The man largely responsible for my dad becoming a fan which in turned help me become a fan, was gone. Bo truly was a legend, and every non football story I have heard or read about him, confirms that.

Nothing has felt the same or really been the same for Michigan football since Bo passed. I liked Rich Rod, but I like more having Brady who had experience at Michigan while Bo still lived. From a football standpoint, the next two weeks are huge in helping cement the fact that we are back. Hopefully after five years, the program can get back to what Bo built. RIP Bo!


November 17th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

Your required reading for today is MGoBlog's "Eleven Swans":

Intelligent people do not spend a goodly swath of their life pouring emotion and precious time into a contest that affects no one and changes nothing except some inky scribbles in media guides. 

You wonder why. It occurs that at some point the Michigan program acquired the traits you hold dear -- loyalty, honesty, tradition, victory. And you wonder: if you were a different person who valued other things would you care so much? It occurs that at some point the Michigan program acquired other traits you share but do not hold particularly dear -- cantankerousness, stubbornness, an inability to suffer fools gladly. And you wonder: do I like Michigan because of the way I am, or am I the way I am because I like Michigan?

The answer seems clear.


November 17th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

Tony Gant, played for Schembechler from 1982 to 1986: "Back in '84 I broke my leg in the Wisconsin game, got carted off the field and taken over to Mott Children's Hospital. I remember, I'm in traction, I have pain meds in me, and I believe it was the very next day when the players and coaches came to see me. I remember Brad Cochran coming in, saying, 'Tony, it's gonna be OK, we're going to win one for you, Gant.' Alex Agase was with us then, and then there comes Bo, he was the last guy in. Agase says, 'Tony, good news for you, you've got a medical redshirt year,' because I was under the limit. Then Bo comes in and he looks at me and says, 'You're the dumbest player in America. Nobody cuts on their inside foot.' Now mind you, I broke both my bones, I severed my nerves. I'm in the most severe pain in my life, and he comes in and says I'm the dumbest player in America. I was like, 'I love you, too, Bo.' "


November 17th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

Bo was a student of humanity. His knack was knowing exactly what people needed to hear, what would motivate them.  Whether it was a pat on the back, a tirade, or a simple "I'm so disappointed in you."   Bo knew it was a pity party, and it wouldn't do Gant any good. So he gave him a kick in the ass to motivate him.

It's amazing how Bo always managed to recruit the "dumbest player in America".  Sometimes more than one at a time.