Michigan faithful pay respects to Schembechler

Sunday, November 19th 2006, 2:59 pm
By: News On 6

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Hundreds of maize and blue clad mourners Sunday filed past the casket of Bo Schembechler, the coach who became the face of Michigan football.

The closed casket at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church was festooned with floral arrangements. His likeness was presented in a painting and in a photo of him coaching in his signature navy blue ``M'' cap. A plaque on an easel listed his records during each of 21 seasons as the Wolverines' coach.

Schembechler, an assistant coach from 1958 to 1962 at Ohio State under legendary Buckeyes coach Woody Hayes, died at 77 Friday after collapsing at a television studio in suburban Detroit. His death came the day before #1 Ohio State beat #2 Michigan 42-39 in one of college football's great rivalries.

Aram Sarkisian, a trumpet player in the Michigan marching band, said he had met the former coach after he spoke to the band.

``Bo has always meant a lot to my family,'' said the junior, who wore his letter jacket to the viewing. ``He's the kind of person, you just hung on every single word he said.''

Schembechler died as Michigan's winningest coach. He was a 7 time Big 10 coach of the year, compiling a 194-48-5 record at Michigan from 1969-89 and a 234-65-8 lifetime record. He never had a losing season.

Thirteen of Schembechler's Michigan teams won or shared the Big 10 championship, and 15 finished in The Associated Press top 10. His 1985 team finished #2.

Julia Moore, 37, who graduated from Michigan in 1991, attended Sunday's viewing. She worked in the university's football recruiting office as an undergraduate.

``He was like a dad,'' she said. ``He wanted the best for you. I'm still in shock.''