Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Nov 2006

Former Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler Dies at Age 77

Update: The Detroit News and other media outlets are now confirming that former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler has passed away. Schembechler was 77 and has had heart problems for 35 years, yet his passing on the eve of the biggest game in the history of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is still somehow chilling.

RIP, Bo. Enjoy the game from up above.

Not that it's typically needed on FO, but let's keep the comments classy, folks, and hope that this doesn't get shameless exploited for added ratings points tomorrow.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 17 Nov 2006

25 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2006, 4:44pm by GlennW


by Doug (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:50pm

Michigan may have to "win one for the 'Bechler". Okay, not that funny.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 1:55pm

Reagan jokes? Unacceptable.

Best of luck to him and condolences to his family.

by Show (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:05pm

VERY unconfirmed reports out there are that he has died. Channel 7 in Detroit is reporting this. Can only hope that they're not true. Kinda puts this whole "Judgement Day" into perspective though.

by Don (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:05pm

Just heard on the radio that Bo has died. Sad day for the Michigan progam.

by Don (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:06pm

I am listening to WXYT in Detroit.

by Show (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:09pm

On ESPN now, he's gone. Sad, sad story.

by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:32pm


Somewhere, the producers of tomorrow's game are cackling with glee. I hate the television industry.

Once again, best wishes to his family. Here's hoping for a quick transition from today's sadness to Zombie Schembechler jokes. Laughter heals.

by Marko (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:33pm

How truly sad. I will always fondly remember watching the classic Michigan-Ohio State games coached by legends Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes while I was growing up.

Condolences to Schembechler's family and to the University of Michigan community.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 2:36pm

I grew up a short drive from Ann Arbor, and Bo Schembechler was one of my childhood heroes. He knew his heart was bad and always said he thought he'd be like Bear Bryant -- no life at all after coaching. Instead he got to enjoy many more years of Michigan football, including the one thing he didn't accomplish himself, a national championship. I wish he had made it to see tomorrow's game.

by Kalyan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:04pm

Bo Schembechler, the winningest coach in Michigan football history, died Friday after collapsing during the taping of a television show, according to three Detroit TV stations. He was 77.

As reported in Sports Illustrated

If the above is true, he was discussing the Ohio-Michigan game during his final moments with the college football match in his mind till the end. What a way to go., I think the game is better served with legends like him.

by Kalyan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:07pm

ESPN Page 2 writer, Thomas Neumann elected Bo Schembechler as the All time coach for Michigan in his article yesterday.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:42pm

Re: "Somewhere, the producers of tomorrow’s game are cackling with glee. I hate the television industry."

There will undoubtedly be lengthy pregame tributes and stories (which are deserved) but why project this onto network college football coverage? I don't consider college football advertising and production to be too tastelessly sensational, compared even to the NFL. This isn't going to be an "O.J. on FOX" moment.


by DMP (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 3:55pm

Wow, what an incredible circumstance. I really think this raises the emotions for many of the Michigan players, Lloyd wouldn't let Bo's passing go lightly, and rightly so. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a last minute tribute to him before the game and even by the Ohio State people.

by Boots Day (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:29pm

The sports pages this morning had a quote from an OSU fan who had formed a band called "The Dead Schembechlers." Oops.

by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:59pm

Somebody asked Bo about that Band and here is what he had to say just days ago:

"Schembechler] reminisced about Woody Hayes, talked a little about the showdown Nov. 18 between the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes and No. 2-ranked Wolverines, and had a question, too. "Hey, have you ever heard of the 'Dead Schembechlers'?" he asked. "What the hell is that? "

Schembechler first learned about that so-named Columbus punk band the previous day when shown their Web site, featuring such songs as "Bomb Ann Arbor Now" and "We Don't Give A Damn For The Whole State of Michigan." "Holy smokes, I couldn't believe it," a smiling Schembechler said. "They're all dressed like Woody. I think it's crazy."

by Vinny (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:13pm

I would think OSU would honor him regardless, but Bo was Woody's assistant at OSU for a bunch of years before getting the Miami gig and has a master's from OSU. So all the more reason to do so.

Sad day. I knew I never liked Don Shane. Maybe this will make the rivalry a little more civil, at least before and after the game tomorrow, among the fans in Columbus.

Not sure what effect this will have on the Michigan team (Rocky III/Rocky IV/Rocky VI).

by Towens (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 5:21pm

Since TV exploits everything shamelessly for ratings points, how would this possibly be any different?

I only care about how this affects my already placed wager on Michigan to win straight up.

by Andy (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 6:05pm

Re: The Dead Schembechlers

They are a fun punk band and their name is a take on the legendary San Francisco punk band the Dead Kennedys.

Their website has been updated and they are very respectful of Bo and his family.

I cannot wait for this game tomorrow!

by Diane (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 6:30pm

The band's official website is down due to excessive traffic to the site.

However, the "myspace" page for the band has this announcement regarding a name change.


by GlennW (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 7:07pm

Re .17:

So you followed up one cynical statement (the networks don't care except for how they'll profit) with another more personal, extremely cynical thought (I don't care except for how I stand to gain/lose on my wager). What's the difference?

Seriously, in the entire scheme of things, Bo Schembechler's death is not going to represent a ratings-killer where millions more viewers will tune in than otherwise. You're not going to hear his name mentioned in a single commercial spot ("ABC! Tomorrow! Bo's ghost invades Columbus!), and otherwise I'm sure that his death will be covered in great detail but respectfully, as it should be.

by Towens (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 7:25pm

Re: 20

What's extremely cynical about not caring about Bo's death? I didn't know the guy or his family, and I'm not a Michigan fan. If I pretended to care about his death, now that would be cynical.

I just thought Russell's comment was funny, because TV network folks will surely fake a great deal of sympathy over Bo's death in order to boost ratings/goodwill.

by underthebus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 8:47pm

So do you think the Ohio fans will boo during a tribute?

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Fri, 11/17/2006 - 11:20pm

I don't think pretending to care would be cynical, it would be hypocritical, and also, sadly, normal. I'm right there with you though. Fortunately I'll be watching this thing on DVR and I'll skip all the preening.

by Towens (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 1:23pm


Word. Even with DVR technology, you may witness some maudlin sentiment.


I hope they boo. They booed Desmond Howard this morning as he read his Bo tribute off a teleprompter.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Sat, 11/18/2006 - 4:44pm

Cynicism may not have been the right word. Obviously you don't have to care on a personal level, but I do think some respect is in order, that's all. And that's a sentiment that doesn't just apply to old football coaches.