Win One for the Bo?
Updated: Nov. 17, 2006, 2:02 PM ET
Schembechler collapses, dies at 77
Bo Schembechler, who became one of college football's great coaches in two decades at Michigan, died Friday after taping a TV show on the eve of the Wolverines' No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown with perennial rival Ohio State. He was 77.
Schembechler collapsed at the studios at WXYZ-TV in the Detroit suburb of Southfield and was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. His death at 11:42 a.m. was confirmed by Mike Dowd, chief investigator for the medical examiner's office in Oakland County.
Police were sent to the station around 9:25 a.m. along with the city's fire department and escorted an ambulance to Providence Hospital, Southfield police spokesman John Harris said.
Schembechler had a heart attack on the eve of his first Rose Bowl in 1970 and another one in 1987. He had two quadruple heart-bypass operations, and doctors implanted a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat after he became ill during a taping at WXYZ on Oct. 20.
During a news conference earlier this week to discuss Saturday's big game, Schembechler said the device covered about half his chest and that doctors still were adjusting it.
Schembechler said he did not plan to attend the game in Columbus, Ohio, and that he didn't travel to road games anymore.
"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."
The seven-time Big Ten coach of the year compiled a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89. Schembechler's record in 26 years of coaching was 234-65-8.
Schembechler's Wolverines were 11-9-1 against the Buckeyes. But fans in both states generally agree that the rivalry's prime years were 1969-78, when Schembechler opposed his friend and coaching guru, Woody Hayes. Ohio State prevailed in those meetings, going 5-4-1.
"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. Despite a .796 regular-season winning percentage, his record in bowls was a disappointing 5-12, including 2-8 in Rose Bowls.
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 thing 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."
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