Bo Schembechler was a true legend of college football. I was saddened to learn of his death. He inspired generations of players and fans by insisting that his teams play hard, play fair, and bring honor to themselves and their school by finishing their educations and contributing to society. He was an extraordinary leader and role model who will be missed. Laura and I join fans of the Big Blue in extending our sympathies to his wife, Cathy, and his family and friends.
If ever a man seemed destined to be in a certain place at a certain time, it was Bo Schembechler prowling the sidelines of a Michigan football game on Saturday afternoons. He seems permanently painted into that picture — and while the players are bigger and stronger, he is always the largest thing in the frame. Bo could cast a shadow in rainstorm. His voice could be heard on the moon. It is being heard today, in the heads and hearts of the thousands of men who are balding, overweight, nursing sore backs and knees, but who still can hear their old coach’s shrill but powerful urgings, telling them to block harder, to tackle harder, to do things “the Michigan way” and good things will happen.
Schembechler was one of those men you couldn’t really see giving in to death. His life was one stubborn comeback after another. Bo himself called it cheating death. … So “The Game” goes on Saturday, as it should. Some folks, even those in Ohio who grieve for Schembechler at the same time as they hope the Buckeyes whip the Wolverines, still don’t believe Bo is really dead. A friend of a friend joked yesterday afternoon that Bo Schembechler, considering what’s at stake today, probably ducked out of that TV studio in suburban Detroit and checked into a hotel in Southfield or someplace, giving his Wolverines the ultimate motivational device. And given the pleasure he got out of beating Ohio State and cheating death, how great a weekend would that make? Only if it could be true.