Lloyd Carr's legacy

Is Saturday’s showdown the last in the Big House for Lloyd Carr? If so, where does his body of work put him inside the Michigan coaching Valhalla? Definitely somewhere below Yost, Schembechler and Crisler, maybe on par with Kipke and above the rest. It’s tough to compare eras but clearly it is getting harder to win consistently as the years pass. Overall Lloyd Carr has delivered.

How will Carr remembered? Many of his critics have pegged Carr a great recruiter but a decent coach who should have competed for more national championships. Carr’s earned some of the criticism and deserves some of the heat for the way things started this year. Yet many if not most M fans will hold a fond place for Carr due to his performance on the field especially the 1997 championship and for his significant work for Mott hospital and other local charities. When he decides to leave Carr deserves to be honored and I’m sure he will.

For the stat nerds, Carr is in a winning percentage battle with the man he succeeded, Gary Moeller. Coming into the year Carr (.75839) had a six thousandths of a percentage point lead on Mo (.75833). If Carr loses again this year he’ll dip below Moeller in this metric (and no doubt live the rest of his life in shame, wondering what could have been.)

You hear the talk of Presidents in their second term working to secure their legacy; the historian Carr is certainly cognizant of his legacy and intends to leave the Wolverines better than he found it, like a boy scout. He did and then some and Carr will be recognized for it.



  1. Got a question. I can see why Carr would be ranked below Yost and Crisler, but why Schembechler? What has Carr not done that Schembechler has, or vice versa? Let me remind you that Bo never won a national championship and got thrashed at the Rose Bowl regularly.

    My point is Bo coached in a day and age where there was no such thing as this intense scrutiny we see today. People were generally more reserved and probably even more polite. It’s not like that anymore. Michigan’s own student body booed Todd Howard, John Navarre and Chad Henne in Michigan Stadium. Completely unacceptable in any circumstance.

    For some reason now, we’ve accepted an environment in collegiate sports where it’s OK to call for a coach’s or a player’s head if we’re not satisfied. We’ve forgotten what football at Michigan is about.

    I’m disappointed like everyone else about the Wisconsin, Oregon and App. State loss. But let’s not forget that Lloyd Carr was the one who turned the boat around. A lesser man and a lesser team would have crumbled. Look at what’s become of Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, Florida State, Tennessee the last five years. They’re no longer relevant.

    I am a Michigan graduate and believe that those who do not support the team or Carr do not understand what it is to be a “Michigan man.” A famous quote from Fielding Yost states, “True loyalty is that quality of service that grows under adversity and expands in defeat. Any street urchin can shout applause in victory, but it takes character to stand fast in defeat. One is noise – the other, loyalty.”

    I believe Lloyd Carr is the quintissential Michigan Man. He coaches to serve the University and the football team, not to gain from it. He is an intelligent and self-aware man that can understand when he is no longer the best man for the job.

    Carr is not defined by the 97 Championship or even the App. State loss. He’s defined by his ambassadorship and the goodwill he’s created on behalf of the University and its alumni as a football coach and University leader both on and off the football field.

  2. Amen.

    (On the Bo/Carr thing, that’s a tough one. Bo is such a legend and for great reason, not the least of which being that he returned Michigan to national prominence after a pretty mediocre 1950s and 1960s. But I’d argue that Carr’s era is the more difficult to coach in – due to everything from increased recruiting competition, many more really good coaches aided by much better technology, increased administrative/alumi/media scrutiny, etc. And he does have that national title. Both hold equal spots in the Pantheon of Michigan Men, as far as I’m concerned.)

  3. Wow–what a great comment by Steve!…Fielding Yost seems like more of a diplomat/philosopher than coach (but what a coaching record!)–I agree that Lloyd Carr has upheld the finest traditions of a “Michigan Man”….in Columbus Jim Tressel also sets a very high standard in personal integrity (even though some of the bone-headed decisions drive us crazy down here–two pretty painful ones in the Illinois debacle)…sometimes it is probably best to appreciate these guys for the class both exude…my kids are both buckeyes, by son-in-law a wolverine, and my true feelings lie with Lloyd Carr’s former team (as a player)–the Missouri Tigers (presently ranked above both U. of M. and O.S.U.–and no one cares nationally)….we certainly covet the traditions of the the Maize & Blue–and the Scarlet & Gray (and the #1 rivalry in all of sports)—hope that the M.U./K.U. battles would someday be thought of as more than a regional “border war”–and more like “The Game.”

  4. He will be back only if he beats OSU and wins bowl game.