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Rest In Peace Bo

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While I am a Buckeyes Fan, and waiting for the game to start. I was extremely saddened at the death of such a great man yesterday.

Bo Schembeckler was a marvelous coach, a great man and a wonderful inspriration to many college students: footplayers or not.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/football/ncaa/11/17/schembechler.obit.ap/index.html

Lasting legacy

Michigan coaching legend Schembechler dead at 77

Posted: Friday November 17, 2006 1:09PM; Updated: Saturday November 18, 2006 1:28AM

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- In the end, Michigan vs. Ohio State may have been too much for Bo Schembechler's failing heart.

The man with half-century-old roots to The Game died at age 77 Friday on the eve of perhaps the biggest matchup in the storied rivalry's history, No 1 vs. No. 2, and his doctor said it might have been because of all the excitement.

Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, collapsed at the studios of WXYZ-TV in the Detroit suburb of Southfield, where he taped a weekly show. He was pronounced dead a little more than two hours later at nearby Providence Hospital.

"It's fair to say Bo wanted to live his life with vigor," said Dr. Kim Eagle, Schembechler's physician. "Ironically, he and I were going to see each other yesterday, but he wanted to address the team."

Could the stress of Saturday's game have caused his death?

"I believe that's entirely possible," Eagle said.

Schembechler had a device that worked as a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted just last month after his heart raced as he left the same TV studio.

Doctors said he didn't have a heart attack Friday as much as his heart just quit working.

"The electrical part of the heart was working fine, but the mechanical part was not working," said Dr. Shukri David, the hospital's head of cardiology. "The heart was sending signals to the heart muscle to contract. The muscle was not responding."

Getting worked up before a big game was nothing new for Schembechler. He had a heart attack on the eve of his first Rose Bowl in 1970 and another one in 1987, and had two quadruple heart-bypass operations. He also had diabetes.

"The fact that he lived to this day is nothing short of a miracle," Eagle said.

Schembechler played for Woody Hayes at Miami of Ohio, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Hayes at Ohio State and then, in his first season at Michigan in 1969, knocked off Hayes' unbeaten Buckeyes.

"This is an extraordinary loss for college football," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said in a statement. "Bo Schembechler touched the lives of many people and made the game of football better in every way. He will always be both a Buckeye and a Wolverine and our thoughts are with all who grieve his loss."

This year's Michigan players, who were toddlers when Schembechler's career was winding down in the late 1980s, were somber Friday afternoon as they left the building that bears his name and boarded buses for the 3 1/2-hour drive to Columbus, Ohio.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, who was hired by Schembechler in 1980, wiped a tear off his cheek as he sat in the front row of the first bus that pulled out of Ann Arbor.

"We have lost a giant at Michigan and in college football," Carr said in a statement. "There was never a greater ambassador for the University of Michigan, or college football, than Bo. Personally, I have lost a man I love."

Schembechler's health prevented him from traveling to road games in recent years, but he planned to watch the 103rd Michigan-Ohio State matchup at home on his new, 50-inch TV.

A moment of silence is planned before the game.

Schembechler was a seven-time Big Ten coach of the year, compiling a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89. His record in 26 years of coaching was 234-65-8. He never had a losing season.

"I'm not sure he has gotten his due as far as being one of the truly great football coaches of all time," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "I'm going to miss him."

Schembechler was 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes. From 1969-78 he opposed Hayes in what's known as "The 10-Year War" and Michigan was 5-4-1 during that stretch.

"It was a very personal rivalry," Earle Bruce, who succeeded Hayes as coach, once said. "And for the first and only time, it was as much about the coaches as it was about the game.

"Bo and Woody were very close because Bo played for Woody at Miami of Ohio, then coached with him at Ohio State. But their friendship was put on hold when Bo took the Michigan job because it was the protege against mentor."

Thirteen of Schembechler's Michigan teams either won or shared the Big Ten championship. Fifteen of them finished in The Associated Press Top 10, with the 1985 team finishing No. 2.

Seventeen of Schembechler's 21 Michigan teams earned bowl berths, but despite a .796 regular-season winning percentage, his bowl record was a disappointing 5-12, including 2-8 in the Rose Bowl.

The mythical national championship eluded Schembechler, but he said that never bothered him.

"If you think my career has been a failure because I have never won a national title, you have another think coming," Schembechler said a few weeks before coaching his final game. "I have never played a game for the national title. Our goals always have been to win the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl. If we do that, then we consider it a successful season."

He also coached at Bowling Green State University, and Ohio State University. He was a grand master of developing a football team, and the entire sport is better fot it.

I'll be watching the game hoping Ohio State beats Michigan, but I will also be looking for the tributes to Bo. I admired him. Rest In peace.

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