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Posted on Sat, May 14, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr back in the spotlight, right where players feel he should be

By Michael Rothstein


Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr helped kick off the 12-hour radio fundraiser Friday. Ex-players say they like seeing Carr take a more visible role in the football program.

Angela J. Cesere |

Lloyd Carr was around, but you had to look hard to find him.

After 13 seasons as the Michigan football head coach, he avoided center stage while Rich Rodriguez led the program for three seasons.

Carr had an office in Weidenbach Hall for a couple of years after retiring following the 2007 season and the title of associate athletic director until 2010. He made appearances at fundraisers and gave speeches.

He often declined to publicly comment on the football program. He was active and local, but fairly quiet considering he carried a 122-40 record and a national championship into retirement.

Now, that’s changing.

Since Michigan hired Brady Hoke to lead the football program, Carr has accepted a larger role with the football program. He may not coach anymore, but his sphere of influence is obvious.

Champions for Children’s Hearts Weekend

  • $3.7 million donated in Lloyd Carr’s name
  • Carr’s reaction: “I was really emotional”
  • Carr named to College Football Hall of Fame
  • WTKA Mott Takeover raises more than $100,000
  • Slideshow: The WTKA Mott Takeover
  • “Michigan Rivalry” package should draw big bids

It is perhaps no more evident than this weekend. While Charles Woodson, Brian Griese and Steve Hutchinson have their names all over the three-day C.S. Mott fundraiser in Ann Arbor, it is really about one man. Carr.

Saturday night, at a gala that is part of the C.S. Mott event, the Al Glick family donated $3 million to Mott Children’s Hospital to name the seventh floor of the Children’s Hospital “The Coach Carr Pediatric Cancer Unit.”

“That’s what this school needs, he’s like Bo (Schembechler),” former offensive lineman Jake Long said. “He’s the face of this program. He’s had such a big footprint in this university, and I think you do need him out front to know he’s got the support of the team and the coaches.”

His former players, the ones coming back every year for this fundraiser, added another $735,000 entering Saturday night’s fundraiser.

While Mott has ties to Michigan football, Carr’s influence over the project and the program is obvious.

“Lloyd did it by being Lloyd,” Hoke said. “He’s genuine, honest, has compassion. Loves his players, and that’s why they come back. They come back for this great event and great cause, but don’t think they don’t want to spend a great evening with their old coach, because that’s important.”

Most of the returning alumni played for him during his 13-year head-coaching career. Carr won a national title in 1997 and won or shared five Big Ten titles.

As what he added to the initial legacy of Schembechler and Gary Moeller fell apart over the past three years, those same former players grew frustrated.

Michigan was losing. Carr seemed disconnected. Traditions built by Schembecher and continued by Carr went by the wayside.

For the first time in almost half a century, the Wolverines struggled in three consecutive seasons, going 15-22 with one bowl game appearance, a 52-14 Gator Bowl loss to Mississippi State.

"It was hard on Lloyd, I know it was," said former Michigan cornerback Morgan Trent. "To have Michigan at the level that he got us and to see it dramatically fall off so quickly, to see things change and traditions stop, that's got to be tough for him."

Former players still heard from Carr, who continued his love of Michigan football. But they didn't see him around as much — and those former players said Friday during WTKA's Mott Takeover radio-thon that they understood his reasoning for hanging back.

But they want him in front.

"As he should be," Trent said. "How you don't want a man of his stature around, who has given so much to this university, how you wouldn't want him around your organization is ridiculous to me.

"It just makes complete sense."

That Carr clearly supports Hoke, his former defensive line coach, invigorated his former players. The Mott Takeover became a virtual Carr/Hoke lovefest, with player after player gushing about Michigan’s former coach and its current one. Having Carr support Hoke is critical to the program. Hoke is adding to this by traveling across the country to meet with former players and sell his vision of Michigan football.

“Maybe it’s a little bit selfish, but it’s important for us that (Carr) believes in who the current coach is and we trust in him,” former Michigan tight end Jerame Tuman said. “He obviously knows more about what’s going on than we do, so it is absolutely important he’s involved.”

Throughout the past three years, the influence Carr had was behind the scenes and throughout the Michigan athletic department. He stayed involved with Mott. He reached out to Michigan softball player Bree Evans when she was injured and hospitalized following a home plate collision during a fall ball game in 2009. He also stayed in touch with alumni and players.

But publicly, it looked different. The perception bothered segments of Michigan’s football base.

“What really gets me going is when people say stuff that he turned his back to Michigan,” former Michigan tight end Aaron Shea said. “That is so far from the truth.”

Now that perception can disappear. Carr is back in the public eye, and almost everyone around Michigan’s football problem has no problem with that.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by email at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein


Lorain Steelmen

Mon, May 16, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

Like a lot of UM fans, you want to be 'supportive' of your head coach. My problems with Carr, started when he allowed the program to degenerate from 2001 until his 'retirement' in 2011. But even during the down years, when he lost 6 of 7 games to osu, I still supported him..or more appropriately, 'the program'. Now that it has been revealed that Carr actively 'undermined' his successor, and steered kids (like Mallet) out of the program , I have lost virtually all respect for him. He would not have received my vote, to the 'hall'. As we know now, his successor was DOA, before he ever got started. To his credit, I don't think Hoke was involved in any of the backroom shinanigans, and sincerely wants Michigan to be great again. I will support him, just as I did his predecessor. But we also know now, that it was a the BO/MO era coaches and players that supported Rodriguez...the real Michigan guys, while the 'Carr crew', that created the problems. Let's hope that LC playes a lot of Florida.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

Lloyd Carr doesn't know me from Adam, but I have seen him walking around town a few times, say "hey coach!" and he actually waves with a smile. For this, you have my support 110%.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

I do think it's great to have Lloyd Carr actively and visibly supporting the program. But was he quietly in the background for the last 3 years only because the program was losing so much, or maybe he didn't like the choice of the coach to succeed him, or both? Obviously if he is more involved now with the new coaches, there had to have been some personality/philosophy differences that kept him at a distance.

Ichabod Crane

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Tired of playing golf Lloyd? Go away and stay away. Your time has long since past.

1st Down

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

ha ha Blu....nice response to a clueless nut

Blu n Tpa

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Your opinion is coming from the wrong character in the book. This comment should originate from the "horseman". Crane did you help raise almost $4,000,000 for sick children this weekend and spend the last 30 years working for the betterment of the University of Michigan? My guess is in your vocabulary 'class' is the room with desks in it.

Blu n Tpa

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

GB 84 Shssss. This isn't about you or your angst. Coach Carr was honored last night for not only being a College Football Hall of Fame coach but also a 'Hall of Fame' person. Working to save childrens' lives and all you have to add is some weak backhanded compliment because Coach Carr was honest to a father's question about the future of his son. A question which your idol simply ignored. The "real shame" isn't "that (Coach) Carr couldn't show (the WCiMFH) the kind of class and professionalism that Michigan men are supposed to be know for", it's that your guy coudn't/didn't EARN it! TiM Go Blue!

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

What Lloyd Carr should have told Ryan Mallet depended on how Lloyd viewed Mallet's primary purpose for coming to the University to begin with. Was it to get an outstanding education at a fine university or was it to position himself for an early round draft pick and an NFL career? Did Lloyd suggest to every starter who lost a job he should transfer? How about every heir apparent to a staring job who got beat out by someone else? Did he tell them they might be better off elsewhere? To suggest to Ryan Mallet he should transfer was to say his primary purpose in Ann Arbor was to play football. Disclaimer: I'm not anti Lloyd, I liked the guy as a coach. I had hopes for Rich Rod when he first came here, but lost confidence.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

Craig, ANY kid who came to Lloyd and asked for his advice would get the honest assessment. THAT is what makes him a class act. If it is a third string guy, Lloyd told them the truth about their possible NFL future. There is a major difference between a third string walk on O line man and a potential first round NFL prospect. If the third stringer saw no playing time, but really just wanted to lay football, the obvious choice would be to tell him to head to a lower tier school ( MAC or D2). If the dream is to play at the UM and get the education, then staying is the best course. I wish people would see that people leaving the program is not an indictment on a coach or a program. Sometimes a place just does not fit. I have had jobs where on paper and before I arrived seemed great, and then had to leave because the reality was not so grand.

1st Down

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

you are assuming that the recent statement by Mallet is true??? how do you know that he is not lying and trying to position himself better in the eyes of the NFL? Id put far more money on believing Carr did the right thing...than anything that comes out of Mallet's spin oriented mouth

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

"But really, can you blame Mallett?" No not at all do I 'blame" Mallet. I never said anything remotely like that.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

"Did Lloyd suggest to every starter who lost a job he should transfer"? Craig, Ryan Mallett did not lose his job. He knew that staying interfered with his primary reason for coming to Michigan. His primary reason was that Michigan was his vehicle to get into the NFL. The reality is EVERY 18-year-old prep star that comes to Michigan wants to play in the NFL. To some, a degree might be the primary reason. But playing in the NFL is never lower than the second reason. Some understand going in that the chances of a pro career are slim so a degree from the UofM is a pretty good runners-up trophy. During the next couple years more players realize that they probably will not have the talent to succeed at the next level so receiving a degree is a pretty good achievement. Mallett might not have been the starter during his time at Michigan but that does not mean he had a failed career. He felt he had the talent to play at the next level. So did the NE Patriots. Being a 3rd round doesn't mean he had a failed college career. It just means he is not going to receive the big bonus money. If his self-evaluation proves correct his financial and professional status will reflect that. Even if he is a 15-year backup in the NFL he made a wise financial decision. I'm as big a Michigan fan as anybody else, and probably bigger. But really, can you blame Mallett?

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 3 p.m.

You seem to have completely missed my point. None of your response is relevant to what I said. In the case of any player who's playing time is greatly reduced a coach or ex-coach has a couple choices with respect to advice. He can encourage the player to stay the course do his best both on the field and in the classroom. He may not win playing time but he will get a quality education. Or he can suggest to him he can get more playing time somewhere else and perhaps get a quality education as well. I'm not passing judgment on either option. I am only asking the question, if option #2 is valid for Ryan Mallet should it not be valid for the 3rd string right tackle? If its sound advice why not freely offer it to every kid who isn't playing? These are rhetorical questions by the way. Its my way of suggesting Lloyd's advice to Mallet was not necessarily dripping with "class".


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

JJust plain wrong on the facts. 1. Ryan was unhappy at Michigan. 2. Lloyd gave an honest assessment of his playing time and what would make the kid happy 3. Class acts do that at the expense of something they love. If Michigan dropped their football program tomorrow, do you think it would be wrong for kids to transfer? If your position is that the kid MUST commit four years to the U, then why are scholarships renewable every year? If a kid decides he no longer wants to play football would the U still allow him to attend school on scholarship? You seem to have some mistaken notion that this is a high school team and is bound by geography as to where he may attend. If your goal is to play in the NFL, a smart person will go to a place that affords him the best opportunity for that dream.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

Nice story about LC. My question though deals with traditions. Other than captaincy (which was inexplicably changed by former coach), what other traditions changed? Other than winning of course :) Re comments about LC turning his back on former coach: My father used to always say that you have to earn your respect. Perhaps LC was not vocal because he felt that it wasn't earned??


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

Great coach. Great man. He's not Bo and should never be compared to Bo. No one can ever replace the Godfather of Michigan football. Coach Carr built his own legacy on winning and teaching and molding the athletes into great men. Michigan Men. Thank you Coach Carr for EVERYTHING you've done for Michigan off the field and on it.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 2:23 a.m.

Thank you, coach, Carr - you are a class act!


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

GoBlue1984: From what I read Coach Rodriguez had no place for Ryan Mallett in his program. Likely knowing this, Coach Carr made a practical suggestion when asked. Considering Ryan's subsequent success at Arkansas, Coach Carr should be lauded for his prescience. I am sure that the Mallett family has expressed its appreciation.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.

If "steering a 5 star quarterback away from the program" means answering a father honestly when asked if it were your son would you have him transfer then you can keep the "class act". Honesty is, after all, the best policy. Even if it doesn't make you popular.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

When you steer a 5-star quarterback (Ryan Mallet) away from the program because you don't like the guy leading it, you lose that "class act" title. I respected Coach Carr a lot, but the way he dealt with having a head coach in place who he didn't like was just wrong. It's a real shame that Carr couldn't show Rodriguez the kind of class and professionalism that Michigan men are supposed to be known for.


Mon, May 16, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

"Oh you guys... such sour grapes" So you are finally admitting it !

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, May 16, 2011 : 3:42 a.m.

Being critical is a good thing. Criticality accompanied by facts and logic is even better. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

Oh you guys... such sour grapes lol. You all (those commenting here) did nothing but attack Rich Rodriguez when he was head coach. You think that just because he's fired people like me (people who supported Michigan NO MATTER WHAT) will just go away? Think again. It's my turn to be critical... because as you all said: being critical of the head coach does not make me any less of a Michigan fan. Well, enjoy the critics that are sure to continue coming. You've earned their criticism.

1st Down

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 8:32 p.m.

you are clueless. Carr supported RR from day 1. When RR began tearing down the program...rather than interfearing and commenting...Lloyd stayed classy and quiet...RR dug his own grave and Carr had nothing to do with that. RR failed on his own. Regarding Mallet, you are taking his self-serving NFL draft statements and saying that they are true????? why????? dont you remember Carr throwing transfer papers at Mallet during the 07 season because of his bad attitude...well before RR ever got here? dont you think that Carr was trying to build character in a kid that severely lacked it? no... people like you read one snippet of spin from some player that is angling for good PR and assume it is true... grow up. btw i reported your post as a personal attack on Carr and hopefully it will be soon deleted


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 6:32 p.m.

If Ryan Mallet wanted to play in the NFL why would he have stayed to play for RR? RR was probably the first to tell Mallett that the spread offense wasn't suited to Mallet's skill set.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Like Aaron Shea said ... "That is so far from the truth." Your comment fits into that category also.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 9:16 a.m.

Actually tht is what makes him a class act. Class acts do things that are unselfish. I know most RR supporters do not understand being unselfish, since their guy only cared about what was in it for him. It's funny, but do not see RR's past players going to bat for him. I didn't see them supporting him when he left WVU. I think if you asked any player who has played for either man, we know if Lloyd picked up the phone and asked for something, the player would be there. If RR picked up the phone, the answer would be Rich who>

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 3:24 a.m.

The WCiMFH history did not contact Mallett upon his arrival (as Hoke did Robinson). The WCiMFH inspired no trust in Mallett when Mallett sought him out. The WCiMFH was bound and determined to install an offense uniquely unsuited to Mallett's skill set. So Mallett went to a person he trusted. And, under these circumstances, Coach Carr was supposed to tell him to stay? Sorry, but honorable people , when asked for personal advice, give advice that serves that person's interest. And the MCC strikes again. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 2:26 a.m.

Nice revisionist history. I suppose you're a Trump supporter.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

Glad to have you back, coach. A class act, always. Can't wait to see what the MCC has to say about this piece. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

A class act for sure ! Nice to see him honored by so many.


Sun, May 15, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

I should know, but I do not -- what does "MCC" stand for? I know who it alludes to; I don't know what the letters represent.