Michigan mentor retiring
By: By LARRY LAGE, AP Sports Writer
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — When Lloyd Carr suddenly became Michigan’s coach in 1995, an old friend stopped by his office to give him some advice.
“He said, ‘Lloyd, when you leave here, you want to make sure that you’ve got your health, your friends and your family,’” Carr recalled Monday when he announced his retirement. “I have all those things — as far as I know.”
Carr broke into laughter in one of the light moments of his news conference, which lasted nearly 40 minutes and included moments in which he fought back tears as he explained why he is leaving the sideline after the Wolverines play in a bowl game.
The 62-year-old coach said he will miss singing “The Victors” with his team, which he did 121 times as a head coach over 13 years. The biggest win came at the Rose Bowl, capping the 1997 national championship season.
“I know of no other profession that the incredible euphoria that you experience when you’ve won a tough ballgame,” Carr said.
He will not miss the losses, 40 of which were spread out over his career.
“Every time you lose, it’s miserable,” Carr said. “And certain games are more miserable than others.”
Most certainly, opening his final season with a loss to second-tier Appalachian State and ending the regular season with a sixth loss in seven years to Ohio State would rank among the most painful.
Behind the scenes, Carr had to deal with off-the-field problems like those facing every college coach, and that might have played a part in pushing himself away.
Whether it involved academics, legal difficulties or other problems, Carr said any of the 100 players he coached at a time would somehow disappoint him each morning he walked into his office.
“I think it’s time to let somebody else worry about all those issues,” Carr said. “It is consuming. There is never a day when you aren’t at work. Whether you’re on vacation, or wherever you are it is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Carr will coach the Wolverines in their bowl game, likely to be either the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio or the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
The retirement announcement surprised no one.
Last winter, Carr had his contract reworked to pave the way for this to be his last season and later made sure the school gave his assistants unprecedented two-year deals.
The only unknown was when Carr would choose to step away from the sideline: Monday, as he did, or after the bowl game.
“My timing is based on one thing, what is best for Michigan football,” he said. “There are no other motives. To do it after a bowl game would have been absolutely ridiculous.”
The departure opens a job at the nation’s winningest football program and the timing of it might make things uncomfortable for top-ranked LSU and coach Les Miles.
Miles seems to be at the top of the list in Ann Arbor.
On Monday in Baton Rouge, La., Miles insisted he wasn’t looking for a job and said Michigan has not called him.
“I love LSU,” he said.
Even though Miles appears in a great situation leading the Tigers in a talent-rich area, 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 to replace Carr might include Kirk Ferentz of Iowa, which Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman led before coming to Ann Arbor, and major college coaches with Midwest ties such as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, a native of Youngstown, Ohio.
An Iowa spokesman said Monday that Ferentz would not comment.
Stoops dismissed the topic after practice Monday night, saying: “That’s so foolish. I’ve got nothing to do with that.”
Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said he has about 20 candidates in mind and planned to start his search immediately. Martin expects to form a search committee and to ask for Carr’s input.
“I want to get this done as soon as I can,” Martin said.
AP Sports Writers Luke Meredith in Des Moines, Iowa, and Jeff Latzke in Norman, Okla., contributed to this report.