Glenn “Bo” Schembechler wasn’t the only major change to hit Ann Arbor in 1969.   New athletic director Don Canham decided introduce artificial turf inside the Big House.   Here’s a great photo of Dan Dierdorf and Bo inspecting a sample of the righteous carpet up on eBay now:

bo and dierdorf

Apparently Dierdorf was skeptical of the safety of natural grass, having suffered a knee injury in 1968 (from the notes on the wire photo):

description

I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish with their little empty shoe test, but oh well.  

It’s pretty clear that Canham was not only dead set on the innovation, he was pretty proud of it.  The new coach would seemingly be the obvious choice to don the cover the of the game program, but Bo was present.  In fact, no person is present on the front of the program for Bo’s first game at the helm—here’s a look at the Vanderbilt game program (also on eBay now), showing off Canham’s carpet:

1969 vanderbilt program

The bid on the Bo/Dierdorf photo is currently at $27.28.   The Vandy program is going for $59.99.

4 Comments

  1. I think you have the Dierdorf bit backwards. I read that as saying that Dierdorf hurt his knee on grass and wouldn’t have hurt it on “synthetic grass” (i.e. TartanTurf).

  2. @jmblue
    thanks – re-read that. Funny, obviously the conventional understanding of the safety of that style of turf has clearly flipped since then

  3. During that first season of the artificial turf, the MMB did a show featuring a small cannon at the 50 that fired off at the appropriate points of (I think?) the 1812 Overture. Unfortunately, there was a cannon malfunction and the damn thing burned a fairly large hole in the carpet. I’m told that somewhere there’s a picture of Revelli and Canham at halftime standing over the hole figuring out what to do next.

    Whoops.

  4. @Bando
    that might be the best thing ever. Got to get a copy of that photo!