Brandon's Blog: Statue of Bo is Centerpiece of Renovation
Heisman Trophy Display

April 4, 2014

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

The story of a Michigan football coach begins with Fielding H. Yost and continues to this day with Brady Hoke. The origin starts on a grassy playground and continues on to Ann Arbor as each individual develops his skill to the point that he is named head football coach for the winningest program in all of NCAA Division I football.

The same can be said for the Wolverine student-athletes who play the game. From Willie Heston to Jake Ryan, they play the game for fun, developing their special skill set to play for the University of Michigan. Every generation produces a star tapped to be the next great, but it takes a team of men to create that special magic, a great tradition and the many legends that have made Michigan the winningest college football program in the country.

This weekend, the greats and great moments of the past will once again be connected to Team 135 as the newly expanded and renovated Schembechler Hall reopens its doors for a new generation of student-athletes as well as for past generations of student-athletes and coaches who have helped create the tradition of Michigan football.

A private event on Friday (April 4) will kick off the weekend of reunions and activities that will conclude with Saturday's spring football game starting at 2 p.m.

A centerpiece of the renovation will be the unveiling of a statue of coach Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler that will greet all visitors to the home of Michigan football.

The larger than life-size statue of Bo has been created not just to remind people of the image and presence of one of the greatest coaches in college football, it was created to be a lasting symbol of his many characteristics that are deeply rooted in the philosophy and expectations of the University of Michigan football program. Bob Browne, a close friend of Bo's, provided a generous and meaningful gift to support the creation of this statue in order to make this concept a reality.

The artist who sculpted the statue, J Brett Grill, went to the people who knew the head coach best: his widow, Cathy Schembechler, and his former players. Grill not only wanted to understand Bo's coaching philosophy, he wanted to portray what his ideals were as a man and a leader.

The artist worked to put depth into the sculpture; he worked to capture what Bo stood for: the blue-collar effort, the focused view of a strategist intertwined with the delight of being part of a team -- a football team to be particular.

The statue was created to give people a sense of Bo pacing the sidelines, leading his team, and now leading everyone on a walk through time and into the future of this football program.

It was Bo's vision to build Schembechler Hall 24 years ago, and now it is time to respect that vision and help take it into the future.

The statue can't walk or talk, but it can remind us every day of Bo and his philosophy of how to continue to grow our tradition and keep Michigan great.

His likeness is framed by the quote "Those Who Stay Will Be Champions," but it was conceived as a way to greet people as they enter the doors of Schembechler Hall.

The statue of Bo and the new exterior design only start to tell the story of the tradition and success of Michigan football. When prospective student-athletes, current student-athletes, coaches, staff members and guests enter the new and improved Schembechler Hall, they will be constantly reminded of the story of U-M football. Artifacts, pictures and interactive screens will lead everyone on a journey through Wolverine football history.

For the members of Team 135, they will have a new home away from home! The 7,000 square feet of old construction that was torn down is now replaced by 14,000 square feet that include the new exhibit spaces, recruiting areas, additional office space and a new player lounge. The areas that were not part of the new construction have been improved with new carpeting, new graphics and other amenities to provide a new and updated feel of the existing space.

The Schembechler Hall project we have now completed, along with what we are currently constructing and our future plans for the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus, are visible reminders of the athletic department's commitment to each of our 31 teams as we continue to relentlessly strive to make Michigan the Leaders and Best in every way.

Go Blue!

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