As the winningest head coach in Michigan football history, Bo Schembechler's teams won or tied for an impressive 13 Big Ten championships during his 21-year tenure. Under Schembechler's guidance, Michigan's 96-10-3 regular season record through the decade of the 1970s was the nation's best. He guided 17 teams to postseason bowl games – including 10 Rose Bowls – and another 17 to top 10 finishes in the final wire service polls (AP and/or UPI).
In his 27 years of coaching, Schembechler's teams never had a losing season. Upon stepping down after the 1989 season, Bo retired as the winningest active coach in the nation (234-65-8) and fifth on the all-time list, behind only coaching legends Paul ‘Bear' Bryant, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Glen ‘Pop' Warner and Woody Hayes. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Schembechler served as Michigan's Director of Athletics between 1988-90, and is a past president of the American Football Coaches Association.
Schembechler was a prep all-state player at Barberton (Ohio) High School. He continued his football career at Miami of Ohio where he was an offensive tackle for three seasons, playing under George Blackburn and Woody Hayes. Schembechler was also a lefthander on the Miami baseball team.
He graduated in 1951 and received a master's degree in 1952 at Ohio State where he served as a graduate assistant coach. After serving in the U.S. Army, Schembechler was a line coach at Presbyterian College in 1954, a line coach at Bowling Green in 1955, and then joined Ara Parseghian's staff at Northwestern in 1958 before serving as an assistant at Ohio State. He was appointed head football coach at Miami of Ohio in 1963, a position he held until taking over the Michigan program prior to the 1969 campaign.
Statements from University of Michigan Officials
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman
"This is a tremendous shock and an irreplaceable loss for the University of Michigan family. Bo Schembechler embodied all that is best about Michigan – loyalty, dedication and the drive for ever-greater excellence. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him, a number as great as the Michigan community in every corner of the world.
"This university's deep tradition is our immense pride and our common ground. No one represented Michigan tradition better than Bo," President Coleman continued. "Bo was the icon of Michigan football. But he was connected with this university far beyond athletics. We watched with pride as he received an honorary degree. We watched with gratitude as he extended his considerable talents to the University of Michigan cancer center and so many other worthwhile programs. And even this semester we watched with a smile as he enjoyed becoming a student again in the Ford School of Public Policy.
"Bo had an unmistakable twinkle in his eye, and I will miss that spirit and so much more. I am grateful for this remarkable man and all his contributions that make Michigan Michigan."
University of Michigan Athletics Director Bill Martin
"This is a profoundly sad day for Michigan athletics, for the University of Michigan, and for all of college football. I find it difficult to express what Bo has meant to this program for close to 40 years. He was a giant of a coach and giant of a man. His life touched generations of players, families, staff, students and alumni. His energy fueled not only athletic success but the incredible pride of all Michigan fans. His impact was immeasurable. On behalf of the athletic department, I express our deep sadness at his loss, and extend our sympathies to his wife Cathy and their sons."
Football Legend Bo Schembechler Passes Away, University of Michigan Athletic Department
U-M mourns death of Bo Schembechler, University of Michigan
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Schembechler dead at 77, Ann Arbor News
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Legendary Michigan coach Schembechler dies, Detroit News
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Bo Schembechler, 77, dies, Detroit Free Press
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Schembechler collapses, dies at 77, ESPN.com
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In remembrance of University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, Channel 7 will broadcast special reports Friday evening and Saturday morning. A special program, following 7 Action News, will honor Bo's legacy Friday night. Then Saturday at 10 a.m., Channel 7 will present a 2-hour special program celebrating the life and times of the legendary U of M coach... Channel 7 to Remember Bo with Special Programming, Bo Schembechler has Died, WXYZ-TV