Mourn, Michigan fans

Mourn, Michigan fans. On the eve of the most important Big Ten game of the season this year between two of the greatest rivals in college football history, the University of Michigan and Ohio State University, the greatest coach in U. of M. history has passed away:

Legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler died today at age 77 from an apparent heart attack while taping a weekly television show.

Schembechler was rushed from the Channel 7 studio where he was taping “Big Ten Ticket” to Providence Hospital in Southfield at 9:17 a.m.

Schembechler collapsed on Oct. 20, also while taping the program.

Michigan executive associate athletic director Mike Stevenson confirmed just after noon that Schembechler had died.

“You only meet someone like that once in a lifetime,” Stevenson said. “In the history of Michigan athletics, nobody had a bigger impact. He was passionate, bright, and an unbelievable leader.

“He loved Michigan.”

The Barberton, Ohio, native took over a struggling program and half -empty stadium in 1969 and almost immediately restored Michigan to the nation’s college football elite, upsetting top-ranked Ohio State later that fall and going on to 13 Big Ten titles, 17 bowl games, and 194 victories before retiring following the 1989 season because of heath concerns.

He never had a losing season at Michigan, served as athletic director from 1988 to 1990, and retired with a 194-48-5 overall record and a 143-24-3 record in Big Ten play that remains the best career coaching mark in the conference’s 111-year history.

Perhaps more important to him than the record, however, was the program’s reputation as one of the cleanest in college football.

Here’s hoping the Wolverines win it for Bo today.