Published: Friday, November 17, 2006
Bo Schembechler, football great, dies at age 77
OSU coach Jim Tressel called it an 'extraordinary loss for college football.'
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Bo Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, died Friday after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines' No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was 77.
Schembechler collapsed at the studios at WXYZ-TV in the Detroit suburb of Southfield and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. His death at 11:42 a.m. was confirmed by Mike Dowd, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office in Oakland County.
"This is an extraordinary loss for college football," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said in a statement. "Bo Schembechler touched the lives of many people and made the game of football better in every way. He will always be both a Buckeye and a Wolverine and our thoughts are with all who grieve his loss."
The seven-time Big Ten coach of the year compiled a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89. Schembechler's record in 26 years of coaching was 234-65-8.
Schembechler's Wolverines were 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes. But fans in both states generally agree that the rivalry's prime years were 1969-78, when Schembechler opposed his friend and coaching guru, Woody Hayes. Michigan prevailed in those meetings, going 5-4-1.
Thirteen of Schembechler's Michigan teams either won or shared the Big Ten championship. Fifteen of them finished in The Associated Press Top 10, with the 1985 team finishing No. 2.
Seventeen of Schembechler's 21 Michigan teams earned bowl berths. Despite a .796 regular-season winning percentage, his record in bowls was a disappointing 5-12, including 2-8 in Rose Bowls.
His last game as Wolverines coach was a 17-10 loss to Southern California in the 1990 Rose Bowl. One week later, Schembechler who also had been serving as Michigan athletic director since July 1988 was named president of the Detroit Tigers.
Schembechler's tenure as Tigers president was less rewarding.
Schembechler hired extra coaches for every farm team, upgraded all the facilities and introduced football-style strength and conditioning programs.
But those moves bore little fruit at the big-league level. The Tigers' last winning season was in 1993 until they advanced to the World Series this season.
Schembechler was an intense disciplinarian and his gruff persona belied his devotion to his players, both during and after their playing days in Ann Arbor.
Schembechler was born April 1, 1929 in Barberton, Ohio. He graduated in 1951 from Miami of Ohio and earned a master's degree in 1952 at Ohio State, where he served until 1953 as a graduate assistant under Hayes.
After serving in the Army, Schembechler held assistant coaching jobs at Presbyterian College in 1954 and Bowling Green in 1955, then joined Ara Parseghian's staff at Northwestern in 1958 before returning to Ohio State as an assistant to Hayes.
Schembechler was named head coach at Miami in 1963, winning two Mid-American Conference titles in six seasons. In 1969, he took over a Michigan program that had posted six losing seasons over the previous 11 years. He did not have a losing season at either school.
Bo and Millie Schembechler had one son, Glenn III. Schembechler and his second wife, Cathy, married in 1993.