Today is a great day to celebrate the Happy Birthday Anniversary of Michigan Legend Glenn Edward Schembechler. Yes, Bo Schembechler was an “April Fool,” but he was no “Football Fool.” The man could flat-out coach football and build winning teams. In fact, he did it better than any other man in the history of Michigan Football, got it!
Please Note – This is an update of the most popular post in April 2017. I also want to wish everyone a Happy Easter today. Of course, congratulations are also in order for the Michigan Men’s Basketball team for their win last night and their date with destiny on Monday, April 2, 2018. Go Blue! Finally, today is also the birthday of the following Wolverines: Bob Ufer, Leonard D. Verdier, John “Jumbo” Elliott, Terry Talbot, and Frank Gusich.
It is always fun to reflect on the career of Glenn Edward Schembechler and remember all the great things he did for Michigan Football. The Wolverine football program was not in a very good place when “Bo Who” arrived in December 1968. Coach Schembechler went on a twenty-one year “mission of excellence” to get Michigan football back on track. In my opinion, his incredible run gave Michigan football fans the greatest era of the school’s magnificent football history. No losing seasons in twenty-one years, one hundred and ninety-four wins and thirteen Big Ten Championships. The numbers – 21-194-13− are staggering! In fact, Bo’s numbers and his “body of work” were so impressive that I wrote a book about it in 2014. (You can check it out on Amazon – 21-194-13, Michigan Football’s Greatest Era by Barry Gallagher.)
Bo’s critics say he should have won a bunch of national championships and he didn’t even win one. Like he always say, it would have been nice to “win one of those suckers” but it just didn’t happen. His detractors also point out that he lost too many bowl games. Of course, Bo would agree with that!
Instead of focusing on what Bo didn’t do, I like to remember the great things Bo did for the Michigan Football program. One thing Bo did better than anyone was win a lot of games in the regular season.
I discovered something very interesting about Glenn Edward Schembechler when I was doing research for my book. Coach Schembechler’s “Bowl Game” winning percentage of only .294 was the lowest of any Michigan coach as of 1989. Fielding Yost, on the other hand, was perfect, having won his only Rose Bowl appearance by a score of 49-0 over Stanford. It would have been interesting to see how Mr. Yost would have fared in ten to fifteen more games. Based on his track record, he probably would have won quite a few more bowl games.
Yes, comparing Bo and the legendary Yost on bowl game success is a futile effort. However, things get a little more interesting when you look at how both men fared in their “regular season” bodies of work. Fielding H. “Hurry Up” Yost coached in a total of 203 regular season games and posted a record of 164 wins, 29 losses and 10 ties in those contests. Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler led his team for 230 regular season games and finished with a total of 189 victories, 36 defeats and 13 ties. The following chart reveals how the numbers worked out for both Michigan Legends.
Regular Season Comparison – Yost and Bo
|Coach||Games||W-L-T||B10 Titles||National Champs||Win %|
Bo didn’t win his first eleven games, nor did he go unbeaten in his first fifty-plus games, like Yost. What he did do was win at a very high rate for a very long time. Yost coached longer than Bo, but did not coach in as many games because of the Big Ten Conference schedule limits and other factors. When you look at the amazing numbers for both coaches, you see that Bo was better, in every category but national championships. The bottom line was that Bo could flat out coach, especially in the regular season. What happened to Bo’s teams in December and January certainly mystified him and all the fans of Wolverine Nation.
Once again, I believe that Bo’s numbers gave Michigan Fans the “Greatest Era of Wolverine Football” based on the extensive number of wins, winning seasons, Big Ten Conference Championships, and everything else that Bo accomplished in Ann Arbor. I hope you learned something from my research into the amazing Michigan legacy of Glenn Edward Schembechler.
So, Bo finished his career as the winningest coach in the history of the winningest program in college football. You can’t do much better than that! Please take a moment today to remember Glenn Edward Schembechler and appreciate his immense contributions to the history of Michigan football. As the year’s pass, his legend grows and his amazing work in Ann Arbor is harder to fathom. May Bo Schembechler continue to rest in peace. Go Blue!