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Lloyd Carr to Retire
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Old 18 Nov 2007, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lloyd Carr to Retire

Michigan coach Carr to step down after 13 season with Wolverines

By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
November 18, 2007

AP - Nov 18, 6:17 pm EST

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will retire Monday after 13 seasons, ending an era marked by highs of winning a national championship and five Big Ten titles and lows of losing to Ohio State and Appalachian State.

Carr told The Associated Press of his decision Sunday by phone, saying he wouldn't comment further until a Monday morning news conference at the school.

The 62-year-old coach informed his players and staff of his retirement Sunday during a team meeting at Schembechler Hall.

"It's a hard thing to deal with," safety Jamar Adams said. "We're like a family, and when the head of your family is leaving, it's hard."

The news comes a day after Michigan lost to Ohio State for the fourth straight year, ending a trying season for Carr and the Wolverines that started with an embarrassing loss to second-tier Appalachian State.

It was a move many expected last winter when he altered his contract, paving the way for this to be his last season on the sideline, and later made sure the school gave all of his assistants unprecedented, two-year deals.

Carr is 121-40 with a .752 winning percentage, ranking him seventh among active coaches just behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden and ahead of South Carolina's Steve Spurrier before he retired.

But in a what-have-you-done-lately environment, Carr will be remembered by some for the way his team closed seasons toward the end of his career and how it opened 2007.

The four consecutive losses to Ohio State, matched Michigan's longest losing streak in the storied series, and Carr became the first coach in school history to lose six times in seven years in the rivalry.

The Jim Tressel-led Buckeyes beat the Wolverines 14-3, Saturday, dropping Carr to 6-7 overall in the matchup that matters most.

"Lloyd Carr is one of the true gentlemen of college football," Tressel said Sunday. "His legacy is extraordinary and his leadership in the coaching profession is greatly appreciated. He made a difference in collegiate athletics."

Carr led the Wolverines to the 1997 national championship and five Big Ten titles. He won .779 percent of his conference games, trailing the success rate of just two coaches that were in the Big Ten for at least a decade: Michigan's Bo Schembechler and Fielding Yost. Against top-10 teams, Carr was 17-9.

Michigan has lost its last four bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, the longest postseason skid since Schembechler dropped seven straight in the 1970s.

The Wolverines were ranked No. 5 before this season started with voters who thought returning stars on offense would make up for inexperienced players on defense and special teams.

Then, they began the season by losing to Appalachian State, becoming the first ranked team to lose to a team from the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA. That led to an unprecedented fall out of the poll.

Michigan followed up that embarrassment by losing to Oregon 39-7 at home, its worst loss since 1968.

The Wolverines did rally, however, with eight straight wins and had a chance to win the Big Ten title outright and earn a spot in the Rose Bowl in the regular-season finale against Ohio State. With the loss to the Buckeyes, Michigan is likely to end up in the Outback Bowl or the Alamo Bowl.

Carr's career was a lot like the 2007 season: Relatively rough at the start; great in the middle; lackluster toward the end.

The longtime assistant was elevated to interim coach on May 16, 1995, after Gary Moeller resigned following a drunken confrontation with police. Michigan dropped the interim tag toward the end of his first season.

The Wolverines lost four games in each of Carr's first two seasons, then went 12-0 and won the national championship a decade ago accomplishing a feat the late Schembechler didn't.

Michigan won Big Ten titles in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2004 under Carr.

The Wolverines were 7-5 two years ago, their worst season in two decades, and bounced back in 2006 with 11 wins and a third trip to the Rose Bowl in four years.

Carr was born July 30, 1945, in Hawkins County, Tenn. He graduated from Northern Michigan and began his coaching career at Nativity High School in Detroit.

After a few more stops, Schembechler hired him in 1980 as defensive backs coach and promoted him to defensive coordinator in 1987. He held that job through the 1994 season.

People have been talking about his possible successor for months, if not years.

LSU coach Les Miles seems to be at the top of the list because he played for Schembechler at Michigan, where he met his wife and later became an assistant there under Schembechler.

Even though Miles appears to be in a great situation leading the top-ranked Tigers in a talent-rich area of the country, the school was concerned enough about him bolting for Michigan that it put a specific clause in his contract to make it an expensive move.

In the "termination by coach" section of his deal, Michigan is the only other school mentioned. It states that Miles will not seek or accept employment as Michigan's coach. If Miles does leave LSU to coach the Wolverines, he must pay LSU $1.25 million.

Other candidates might include Carolina Panthers assistant Mike Trgovac, who played for the Wolverines and joined their coaching staff in 1984 as a graduate assistant; Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, where University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman was before coming to Ann Arbor; and NFL head coaches Bobby Petrino in Atlanta and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden.

Come on Les Miles. You know you want to coach here.
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