July 30, 2017 – Happy Birthday Coach Lloyd Carr!

1997 Michigan Football Team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Coach Lloyd Carr and the 1997 Michigan Football team. Big Ten and National Champions. Coach Carr is in the center of the first row. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Today is a perfect day to extend a Maize and Blue Happy Birthday wish to Coach Lloyd Carr. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Lloyd Henry Carr, Jr. was born on this day at Hawkins County, Tennessee a few years ago!

Lloyd Carr’s family moved to Riverview, Michigan in 1955. He grew up to be an outstanding athlete at Riverview Community High School. As a quarterback, he led his team to a State Championship in 1962. After high school, he played three years of football and baseball at Missouri. He transferred to Northern Michigan and finished his college football career at Northern Michigan University.

Carr entered the high school coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Nativity High School in 1967. He moved on to Belleville High School for four more seasons before becoming the head coach at John Glenn High School in Westland, Michigan.

Lloyd Carr accepted an offer from Eastern Michigan’s Ed Chlebek to coach at the college level in 1976. Two years later, Gary Moeller hired him at Illinois. Carr moved on to West Virginia after the Illinois canned Moller. He landed at West Virginia in early 1980, but wasn’t there very long when he left for a chance to coach for Bo Schembechler at Michigan. The rest, as they say, is history!

Carr started out coaching defensive backs for Bo and did that from 1980 to 1986. When Bo elevated Gary Moeller to Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Lloyd became Bo’s Defensive Coordinator. When Bo retired in 1989, Mo named Carr as his DC. Lloyd Carr continued to work as Moeller’s defensive coordinator until Coach Mo resigned in May 1995.

Coach Lloyd Carr Michigan Football 1998 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Coach Carr celebrates a BIG victory in the 1998 Rose Bowl. It gave them a share of the National Championship. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Michigan Athletic Director, Joe Roberson, didn’t have a lot of good options since May is not the month that most universities are looking to hire a football coach. In the biggest decision of his tenure, Joe Roberson named Lloyd Carr as the Interim Head Coach at Michigan. Coach Carr came across very well in his opening press conference, but that was only step one. He had a lot of work to do from May 1995 until his first game on August 26, 1995.

As it turned out, Lloyd Carr won his first game, and a whole lot more. He took his team “mountain climbing” in 1997 and finished the season at 12-0 and won the AP National Championship. Coach Carr definitely kept Michigan Football on the right path from 1995 to 2007. No, he didn’t win them all! Nobody does. He won a lot of games that he probably shouldn’t have won and lost a few that he probably should have won. Oh well, that’s coaching. However, Lloyd Carr finished with an excellent record of 122 wins and only 40 losses. His winning percentage was just over seventy-five percent (.753). He won 5 Big Ten championships in thirteen years and 1 national championship. He coached a ton of All-Big Ten and All-American players.

Of course, I would not be writing about Lloyd Carr today if he wasn’t a big part of some Michigan Football firsts: Here they are:

·         Lloyd Carr became the first, and only, “interim” coach in Michigan Football history in 1995.

·         Coach Carr is the first, and only, Michigan Head Football Coach to claim a high school state championship (as a player) and a national championship (as a coach).

·         Lloyd Carr is the first, and only, Michigan Football coach to post a perfect record of 12 wins, no losses and no ties.

·         Coach Carr is the first, and only, Michigan Football coach to win 19 games against Top Ten ranked teams in his career.

·         Lloyd Carr, I believe, is the first, and only, “interim” coach to end up in the College Football Hall of Fame!

In the final analysis, nobody shed any tears for Michigan in May 1995, but quite a few Big Ten coaches were crying while Lloyd Carr was on the Michigan sidelines. Lloyd Carr continued the outstanding work of Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller and coached himself into the College Football Hall of Fame. Not too bad for a guy started out as an “interim” coach. I believe that Lloyd Carr did himself, his family and The University of Michigan proud! I hope he has a great celebration today on his special day! Thanks Coach Carr for a job well done! Go Blue!




Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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