In a tragically ironic turn of events, legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembecler died this afternoon, after collapsing while taping his weekly TV show.
Schembecler will always be remembered for the epic "Ten-Year War" he and Woody Hayes fought from 1969-78 and helped shape the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry for generations, including my own. He--along with Woody--are the reason fans like myself, who may root for another conference school still feel that somehow the world is spinning correctly on its axis when the Wolverines and Buckeyes are what it comes down to in the Big Ten.
Bo got his first Rose Bowl win in 1980, beating Washington behind scrappy quarterback John Wangler and star receiver Anthony Carter. He got another win in Pasadena in 1988 when his team upset Southern Cal and Rodney Peete. His last Michigan team in 1989 was an excellent team that posted a 10-1 record, and might have been unbeaten if not for special teams' heroics by Notre Dame's Rocket Ismail. Bo lost his final game in the Rose Bowl against USC that year in a hard-fought battle, but that does not take away from the fact he was still winning big when he decided to call it a career.
Our condolences to the Schembecler family and all those close to him. This has been a hard year for Big Ten football coaches. The tragic death of Randy Walker and the gallant fight against a brain tumor waged by Terry Hoeppner almost obscured Joe Paterno's broken leg. This last one, particularly on the eve of the biggest game ever, is a sad climax (at least we hope it's a climax) to the season. Big Ten Country sends up its hope and prayers that St. Peter will escort Bo to the best seat in the Eternal Press Box sometime around 3:30 tomorrow.