Knowing how much I love college football, my son-in-law sent me a text saying he had just seen former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr in the downtown section of his home town. I thought that was cool, but the downtown area in that town is really popular and many folks from all over come to visit. The chances of ever seeing him again were really slim.
A few days later, both he and my daughter sent texts saying that Lloyd Carr was buying the house across the street from them.
Wow, it was a dream come true for me since we visit our family fairly frequently. I was going to get the chance to meet the great Lloyd Carr. I’m thinking an interview for my blog, or even to write a book about his life as the head coach of Michigan and winning the national championship. Wow, this was the coach that helped Charles Woodson beat out Peyton Manning for the Heisman. He also
coached many All Americans and Quarterback Tom Brady.
Like so many other American boys, Lloyd Carr grew up playing ball. Yes, kids, there is more to life than video games and instant gratification.
He wanted to play in the Major Leagues or in the NFL and who is to blame him for that. As a high school player, it appeared that Carr could possibly make that happen.
He grew up just outside of Detroit in Riverview, Michigan. At Riverview, former Colorado coach Bill McCartney and Woody Woodenhofer were just ahead of him. McCartney was the star athlete, and then Woodenhofer was next with Carr following along.
During his senior season, Lloyd Carr led his team to the Michigan state championship and his career seemed to be taking off.
Even though he was heavily recruited, Carr broke some coaches’ hearts when he chose to follow his heroes, McCartney and Woodenhofer, who were both playing at Missouri.
McCartney went on to coach at Colorado and then he started Promise Keepers and retired from football. Woody Woodenhofer is less well known, but he was the head coach at Missouri and Vanderbilt and he has been an assistant coach for years. They were good idols to have for a young kid.
When Carr arrived at Missouri, there were 60 other guys in his freshman class. Those were the days before scholarship limits and schools could bring in as many recruits as they wanted, which they
usually did. From there, they often weeded out any of the ones that wouldn’t help the team. That’s just the way it was in those years.
Carr was at Missouri for 3 years before transferring to Northern Michigan to finish his college playing days.
Rollie Dotsch had recruited Carr to Missouri and with the connection that they had, Carr followed him when Dotsch was named head coach at Northern Michigan.
Everyone has heroes. For me, I got to sit down and talk to one of mine when I met Lloyd Carr. When he had finished with his college football eligibility, Carr got a tryout with the Green Bay Packers. At Quarterback, the Packers had Bart Starr who was the Quarterback of the first two Super Bowl champions. Starr was backed by Zeke Bratkowski, who was also something of a legend back in his playing days.
Vince Lombardi had just stepped down as the Green Bay coach, but he was still involved with the team as the General Manager. Carr was in awe of all of these guys, especially Lombardi. As he was being let go by the Packers, he had to sit and talk to Vince Lombardi for a few minutes.
Now, nearly 50 years later, I was sitting in Lloyd Carr’s living room talking to him about football. Talk about being in awe. Lloyd Carr led the Michigan Wolverines to the national title in 1997. He had coached such stars as Charles Woodson and Tom Brady and now he was talking to me. It was a dream come true.
Carr had given the NFL his best shot and since he didn’t make it, the next step was coaching. Lloyd coached in inner city Detroit and Belleville High School for a few years before being hired as the
head coach at John Glen High School in Westland, Michigan.
Often, college coaches will be keeping an eye out for new talent and Eastern Michigan coach Ed Chlebek hired coach Carr as an assistant. That was his big break into college football, and he clearly made the most of it.
After two seasons at Eastern Michigan, he was hired by Gary Moeller at Illinois as his Defensive Backs coach. When Moeller was fired at Illinois after Lloyd’s second year, Carr went to West Virginia before being hired by Michigan legend Bo Schembechler a year later.
I met coach Lloyd Carr with the hopes of interviewing him for my blog, and I wanted the chance to write a book about his personal life since his childhood. But, then later, I felt really dastardly for asking him for info and wanting something from him. When you are a well known person in the world of sports, or any other occupation, somebody is always wanting a piece of you.
Unknown to me, before the Super Bowl, coach Carr received maybe 50 calls from reporters asking about the greatest NFL Quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. They all wanted to know about Deflate Gate and maybe any other dirt they could dig up on Brady.
Reporters also wanted to know Lloyd Carr’s thoughts on new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.
No wonder coaches and athletes don’t like the media. Maybe not all of them, but many want to just be left alone for a while.
I don’t want to be that guy. I will not be that guy.
Retired Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr is about as nice a human being as anyone you will ever meet. He’s just a super guy and he deserves his peace and quiet. I don’t want to be the guy that pesters him with endless and annoying questions.
I would rather just be his friend.
Lloyd Carr was hired as Michigan’s interim head coach briefly after Gary Moeller resigned in 1995. He retired from coaching in 2007. He started off in 1995 with a 9-4 record and he ended his career in 2007 with the same 9-4 record. In thirteen seasons at Michigan, he led the Wolverines to a 122-40 record and a national championship in 1997.
He’s in the College Football Hall of Fame, as he should be.
Lloyd Carr is a legend and he deserves to live his life as he desires and not field hundreds of questions from curious football fans such as myself.
I don’t believe he wants to be quoted, or in the case of the media, misquoted. Coach Lloyd Carr is a really easy man to talk to, which is somewhat surprising.
I won’t be bothering him with Tom Brady questions, but if he wants to talk about the greatest Quarterback of all time, I am all ears.