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Michigan Stadium tunnel to be named for former coach Lloyd Carr


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Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr has been honored by the university with the naming of the Michigan Stadium tunnel in his honor.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel made the presentation Thursday at the University of Michigan Regents meeting and it was quickly approved.

Carr, 77, was Michigan’s head coach for 13 seasons and led the 1997 team to an unbeaten season and the Associated Press national championship. That team will be honored for its 25th anniversary during the game against Penn State on Oct. 15 and before that game, the Lloyd Carr Tunnel at Michigan Stadium will be formally dedicated.

Under his direction, Michigan went 122-40 and won five Big Ten titles, the last coming in 2004. The 2021 Michigan team won the program’s first Big Ten title since then.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a coach in 2011.

"In my mind, the tunnel to Michigan Stadium is hallowed ground," Carr said during the Regents meeting. "Ninety-five years ago, 1927, Michigan Stadium was completed, and for the last 95 years, hundreds and maybe thousands of players have run down that tunnel to try to win for Michigan. Think about the bands, the number of people in those bands over the years that have played with their music and their discipline and inspired us and our teams. The cheerleaders, the presidents of the United States, one of whom was Gerald R. Ford (who played for the Wolverines). The hockey team (that played an outdoor game at the stadium), the graduation days where those students who are graduating and leaving to make this a better world."

Carr, who was accompanied to the meeting by his family, said his only regret was not being able to enjoy the honor with his wife, Laurie, who died in 2021, and his grandson, Chad, who was five when he died in 2015 from a brain tumor. The family now fundraises for the ChadTough Foundation in his name to raise money for research.

He recognized the Michigan players who played for him.

“Most of all, I want to thank my players," Carr said. "I’m here because of them, what they did, how they competed, how they played, and how they responded to adversity a few times when things didn’t go our way.”

Carr, who grew up in Riverview, was named interim head coach on May 13, 1995, following the resignation of the late Gary Moeller. Later that season, on Nov. 13, 1995, Carr had led the team to an 8-2 record at that point and was elevated to head coach. He retired after the 2007 season.

The 1997 season was Carr’s legacy. In an interview with The Detroit News in 2017, the 20th anniversary of that team, Brian Griese, the quarterback that season, said Carr set the tone.

“I appreciate every year more and more, the coaches we had, the players we had, the unselfish nature of it,” Griese said at the time. “It was an unselfish team and it started with Lloyd. I don’t take that team for granted at all. As more years go by, I’m more and more appreciative, less of the wins and the national championship, but more of the team.”

Before that season, Carr had read “Into Thin Air,” a non-fiction account of an expedition to Mt. Everest. As the Wolverines faced the toughest schedule in the nation, he used climbing Mount Everest as a metaphor for the season.

“During the training camp, he introduced us to it,” rush linebacker James Hall told The News in 2017. “The way he was able to bring the book and the messages and the parallels, he was able to draw that to the team with what the guys in the book went through. He was able to divide the season into different bases of climbing that mountain.”

Carr was 81-23 in Big Ten games. He led the team to Big Ten titles in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2004.

“Lloyd Carr was one of the great coaches and leaders in college football,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a release. "We are forever proud that he was our coach, ally and trusted friend. He was loyal to the University of Michigan and was committed to the development of his players as young men, citizens and football players. Lloyd personally helped me become a better player during my time at Michigan, expanding my knowledge by teaching me defensive coverages and tendencies when I was injured in 1984. That experience helped me throughout my playing career and shows his dedication to each player and the team’s overall success. It will be an honor to leave the locker room through the Lloyd Carr Tunnel on our way to the field every home game.”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis

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