Xs, Os, and A-pluses

The entire time he was the headman in Ann Arbor, Lloyd Carr was more than just a football coach: he was a molder of young men. Some Michigan fans may scoff at that, and point to the decline in winning percentage over his last few years, or losing his last four games against Ohio State. However, Lloyd realized, like so many people with any sort of perspective often do, that coaching football is about more than just Xs and Os, wins and losses. In fact, if you asked nearly any college football coach in the game today, he would say that teaching young football players how to become men is at least as important.

In 2006, Lloyd Carr had an outstanding year from the win and loss standpoint. However, Lloyd will undoubtedly tell you that 2007 was a year that he was more proud of his team. Until the very end, he taught not only hot reads and zone blitzes, but how a man is expected to behave, and even the finer points of Rudyard Kipling and Jack Kerouac. His players made him proud in the Capital One bowl, and even more so when they have moved on with their lives since.

So without Lloyd at the helm in Ann Arbor this year, have the values of Coach Carr and Coach Schembechler before him left as well? Probably not. Lloyd is still around, and he certainly would love for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year to embody a commitment to academics and shaping young men that he sought in his tenure in Ann Arbor.

Rich Rodriguez may be a year or two away from being in the running for a Coach of the Year Award, but with Lloyd still in town, you can bet the values of academics will never leave the program.

For more information on the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, or to vote for a coach who you think values the classroom as much as the practice field, visit coachoftheyear.com.

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