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Today’s post, titled “Lloyd Carr’s Journey Begins!” marks the twenty-second anniversary of Lloyd Carr’s first game at Michigan. It marks a special time in Michigan Football History for many reasons that I will elaborate on in this post. Carr, shown here in his first team photo, is in the white shirt in the first row, on the left.)
Remember, Lloyd Carr was named as the “interim” head coach at Michigan in May 1995 following the untimely resignation of Gary Moeller. Carr was confident and determined in his first press conference in May 1995. He advised everyone who was listening, “Don’t shed any tears for Michigan…we will be back.” With that, he went to work to pull his team together and get ready for the 1995 football season.
Lloyd Carr’s first game was August 26, 1995 which was also the first time Michigan ever played a game in the month of August (after 116 seasons) and also the first time they ever participated in the Pigskin Classic, which would be the first nationally televised game of the 1995 season. So, Lloyd Carr was making a lot of history in his first game as Michigan’s head coach. There was, after all, no pressure since millions of college football fans would be watching in addition to a packed house at Stadium and Main.
Carr’s first game got off to an ugly start and early in the fourth quarter they trailed the Virginia Cavaliers by 17 points. Coach Carr didn’t panic and neither did his players. His calm, but intense, demeanor helped his players keep their confidence and rookie Quarterback Scott Dreisbach started to lead his team out of the big hole that they had dug for themselves. Dreisbach, who became the first Michigan quarterback to throw over fifty passes in a game, capped an amazing comeback with a fifteen-yard touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes as time expired. Whew! Michigan won by one point ̶ as the final score ended at 18-17. What a way to start a coaching career!
Here is an excellent video from the “Michigan Historian” about this historic day in Michigan Football.
Lloyd Carr had earned his first head coaching victory in the college ranks. Oh by the way, it was the first time the Wolverines ever came back to win when down by seventeen points. If you were counting, there were eight firsts in the August 26, 1995 game. (Carr’s first season, first game, Michigan’s first Pigskin Classic, first game in August, Carr’s first victory, Carr’s first win in the “Big House,” first game with over fifty Wolverine passes (52), and Michigan’s first ever seventeen point comeback win ̶ wow!)
Actually, I think that Lloyd Carr may have been the first Michigan coach to ever see eight “firsts” to start his career! The good news was that there would be many, many more. One thing you can say about Coach Carr’s Michigan career ̶ it had some mountain top highs, some very low, lows, and some very, very interesting games! Thanks to Coach Lloyd Carr for his thirteen successful years as Michigan’s head coach! He is the first, and only, “interim” coach in Michigan Football History to make it to the College Football Hall of Fame!