There are many iconic coaching figures in Michigan athletics lore. There's Fielding H. Yost, Fritz Crisler, Matt Mann, Cliff Keen, Carol Hutchins, Lloyd Carr and we could go on. But in this day and age, one name still stands out above the rest: Bo Schembechler.
So when the BTN chose to unveil its first-run feature "Big Ten Icons" series on 12 top conference coaches -- one from each league school -- who better to lead it off tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 1) than our legendary football coach?
Few in their life are admired and known by one name let alone two letters, and those who knew Bo easily understand why he is truly a Michigan legend. He stood for the guiding principles of the University of Michigan. He used football as a tool to teach young boys to become men.
I was fortunate to know Bo as a journalist, co-worker, then as friend after he retired. Knowing Bo for 30-plus years would make one think I know all of the stories, yet every time I meet someone who played, coached, worked with or was a friend of Bo, I learn something new. Sometimes it is serious, sometimes it is funny, but each time the story is intriguing.
Having Keith Jackson as the "Big Ten Icons" narrator adds more than just a touch of nostalgia to this show, as those who remember Jackson's play-by-play and commentary know he covered Bo's Wolverines on many occasions and is a college football icon in his own right.
Of course, there will be those U-M fans who crave even more after the 30-minute show ends, and I'm sure producer Ashton Campbell has a vault of great stories he would have loved to air. But this half hour moves quickly and can be enjoyed by more than just Michigan fans.
Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon says in the show, "What you see is what you get with Bo Schembechler." And what we got was truly a legend -- a Big Ten icon.
The "Big Ten Icons" series on coaches debuts with the Schembechler episode on the BTN tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 1) at approximately 3:30 p.m. EDT following Michigan's football game against Minnesota. All episodes will air in their regular time slot at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesdays. More information on the show is available at the BTN site.