Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thoughts on the passing of Coach Schembechler

I really wanted to get this post up over the weekend, but with the overwhelming disappointment that was Michigan-OSU 2006, I just couldn't string coherent sentences together. Everybody in the media seems to be sharing their favorite Bo Schembechler story, and I thought that I would add mine.

I'm a proud member of the University of Michigan Class of 2005. When our commencement speaker, John Seely Brown, was announced, there was quite a bit of grumbling on campus that it wasn't a bigger name. Of course many of the engineers were happy as Brown helped invent GUI's and spellcheck, but the general feeling on campus was disappointment.

When the big day rolled around, the University also presented a number of honorary doctorates to distinguished guests, including the guy that founded H&R Block, and of course, Bo Schembechler. I want to say that Brown's speech made some great impression on me, but it largely didn't. Bo's speech on the other hand was short, to the point, and funny as always.

It was no surprise to me at the time that Coach Schembechler received the largest ovation that day, after all I was standing and cheering alongside my fellow graduates. It wasn't until after he died and ESPN was running all the tributes that it dawned on me just how long he had been retired. The average student in the class of '05 was six or seven years old when Bo stepped down. And yet, everyone in that crowd knew what he meant to Michigan.

In a little more than a year and a half, Michigan has lost Don Canham, Vic Heyliger and now Bo Schembechler. Even though these losses are painful, they shouldn't be allowed to intrude on the memory of the great accomplishments of these great men. May they all rest in peace.

*Video of Coach Schembechler's commencement address here.


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