(Additional statements may be added as they become available.)
President of the United States George W. Bush
"Bo Schembechler was a true legend of college football. I was saddened to learn of his death. He inspired generations of players and fans by insisting that his teams play hard, play fair, and bring honor to themselves and their school by finishing their educations and contributing to society. He was an extraordinary leader and role model who will be missed. Laura and I join fans of the Big Blue in extending our sympathies to his wife, Cathy, and his family and friends."
"We have lost a giant at Michigan and in college football. There was never a greater ambassador for the University of Michigan or college football than Bo. Personally I have lost a man I love." U-M President Mary Sue Coleman
"A part of the University of Michigan died today with the untimely passing of Bo Schembechler. Few people exceed their reputations. Bo was the exception. He was forever dedicated to Michigan, to our students, our alumni and our fans. His contributions on the athletic field are legendary.
"Yet Bo's impact at Michigan goes well beyond the hash marks of Michigan Stadium, and we should always remember the depth of his contributions to a university he loved. Bo was a teacher and a mentor. He was a benefactor who believed in the promise of cancer research at Michigan. And as he showed us just this semester, he was a student eager to learn. He loved the life and vitality of a university, and he contributed mightily to the culture and traditions of the University of Michigan.
"Bo believed learning and excellence went hand-in-hand. He helped to shape the lives of generations of U-M students, and that is a timeless tribute to the dedication he showed our university. "Leadership" is part of the Michigan lexicon. Bo helped to make this so, both on and off the field.
"Never again will we know the likes of Bo Schembechler. And while we are saddened and stunned by his death, we are also filled with the gratitude that comes with warm memories. As individuals and as a university community, we enjoyed the privilege of knowing Bo and benefiting from his irrepressible personality and loyalty. He made Michigan a better university."
U-M Equipment Manager Jon Falk
"I first met Bo Schembechler when I was a student equipment manager at Miami of Ohio in 1967 and 1968. In February 1974, Bo called and asked if I would like to be head equipment manager at Michigan. I was 23 years old and lived with my mother and grandmother. That night after meeting with Bo, my mother came in at 4 a.m. after I told her I was not going to take the job, and she told me I had to go because Bo Schembechler was going to take care of me. How right she was. I am truly lucky to have worked for such a great man.
"Bo has been a close confidant, friend, family member and father figure to me the past 33 years. He has always been there for me whenever I needed something. When I was hurt last year Bo came every day to see me and called to see if I need anything.
"I love Bo and his wife Cathy and will miss him for the rest of my life."
U-M Director of Athletics Bill Martin
"On behalf of the University of Michigan, the athletic department expresses its condolences to the Schembechlers, especially Cathy and Shemy. This is a sad day for the athletic department and the entire University family. We are deeply saddened by the loss of Bo. He was not only an icon for the university but for all of college athletics. This is a sad day for college football."
Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany
"The passing of Bo Schembechler is a loss for the University of Michigan community, the Big Ten Conference and all fans, coaches and student-athletes. Bo had a profound effect on the game of collegiate football, was an incredible competitor and an honest man. He was also a tremendous supporter of the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl. He was a giant in so many ways and will always be remembered. Our condolences go out to his family, the Michigan football family and the broader university community."
Former Big Ten Conference Commissioner Wayne Duke
"What an unbelievable tragedy that Bo's passing comes on the eve of the very game on which he had such an incredible impact over the years. Bo played a vital role in not only the success of Big Ten football, but collegiate athletics as a whole, and he will be missed. I want to send out my condolences to his family and the entire University of Michigan community."
U-M Heisman Trophy Winner Desmond Howard (1989-91)
"Words cannot adequately describe the pain I am feeling today at the loss of someone who I loved and admired so much. The Michigan family - along with the entire college football world - has lost a giant. Bo was a man who shaped his young players into men both on and off the field. It was just a few weeks ago that when asked by ESPN executive Mark Gross why Bo Schembechler was my favorite coach, I replied without hesitation that Bo took me under his wing at a critical juncture in my life. In 1988, I was an 18-year-old kid going off to college and leaving home for the first time. In just a few short years, Bo prepared me to be a man ready to take on the world. He will be missed by so many but missed the most by all those Michigan men he helped to create."
Former U-M Tight End Jim Mandich (1967-69)
"Today we lost the greatest Wolverine of all. He was a giant of a man and touched so many people, especially his players. Everyone knows about his toughness and discipline, but he was fun to play for, he was a hoot. He was the most fun person to be around, he was always very conversational, talked with great passion and had a twinkle in his eye. He made playing football fun. He was a hard-headed SOB."
Former U-M Defensive Lineman James Hall (1996-99)
"Bo was not only a great coach but a great person. He impacted a lot of lives, including so many outside of football. Most of the people I've talked to had a great deal of respect because of the way he interacted and treated people. He will definitely be missed, and I know I'll definitely miss him."
Former U-M Offensive Lineman Jeff Backus (1997-2000)
"Obviously anybody who goes to Michigan, whether you're a student or a student-athlete, you know about Bo and his legacy. Not necessarily being coached by him but being a football player there, you hear about the legend of Bo Schembechler and what he did for Michigan football and the university. He is probably one of the most recognizable names when the University of Michigan is mentioned. He's going to be greatly missed by not only the football team and the athletic department, but any college football fan and any University of Michigan fan across the country."
Former U-M Defensive Tackle and Offensive Lineman Dave Pearson (2000-03)
"I never got the chance to play for Bo, but he's part of the reason that you go to Michigan because he started such a legacy there. I remember he used to come in and always speak to us before the Michigan-Ohio State game. He would speak to the team and give his thoughts on the game C he always got the team really fired up. I feel bad for the generations to come that they're not going to get a chance to get to know him as a man. Even after he was done coaching, he was still a coach around there. It's a big loss to the university and to college football as a whole."
Former U-M Defensive Back Tom Curtis (1967-69)
"The news of Bo's passing hit me very hard. He was instrumental in the lives of so many Michigan athletes -- and not just football players. Bo was a symbol of Michigan to so many. To say he will be missed would be an understatement. Michigan meant so much to him and there will be a lot more players playing for him tomorrow than those dressed in Maize and Blue uniforms in Columbus, Ohio."
Former U-M Assistant Football Coach Tirrel Burton
"I'm kind of in shock but it was inevitable. I just saw him yesterday at Tom Slade's funeral - doing all the things he wanted to do. It's too bad he didn't make it until after the game tomorrow. It is still a shock, and we probably won't realize it for some time to come."
U-M Hockey Head Coach Red Berenson
"It's a sad day for Michigan. Bo was an icon, not only in football but in Michigan athletics. He set a standard that every coach will try and emulate. He had an undying spirit for Michigan, for winning, for academics and for his players, in all sports. Obviously, he's going to be missed."
Michigan Basketball Coach Tommy Amaker
"We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bo Schembechler. We join the entire Michigan family in mourning this tremendous loss, and we offer our sincerest condolences to his family."
Michigan Head Softball Coach Carol Hutchins
"If you love Michigan you love Bo. Bo is Michigan. I learned everything I know about Michigan from Bo. He taught us all how to coach. He defined the modern day Michigan. There isn't an athlete who plays here, in any sport, who isn't affected by him. He believed everybody at Michigan should win.
"One of my first years coaching here I was in after-hours and I needed to talk to him about our upcoming banquet which he was speaking at. I was wearing an old Michigan State shirt from my playing days. He looked at me and said, 'What are you wearing Why are you wearing that' It scared the heck out of me. When he came to our banquet he gave me a new Michigan sweatsuit C the first one I ever had. He gave me a Michigan football sweatsuit which I wore proudly.
"I ran into him in the parking lot the other day and I asked him how he was and he told me, 'Ah, it would have felled a lesser man.'
"It's a very sad day. I'll never forget the day he stepped down as head coach. One of my best friends called me C a huge Bo fan C and she just sobbed. It was so sad.
"He called me personally when we won the national championship. He was so proud. I was sitting on the patio at a restaurant on Main Street about a month later and I look up and there's Bo just standing on the sidewalk waiting for me to catch his eye. He was so proud of softball because it's Michigan."
Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno
"Bo was a giant. He was a great football coach and person. He was a great supporter of college football and the way it's supposed to be played. He was a great ambassador for Michigan and was proud to represent Michigan.
"He was an interesting guy and fun to be around. He was the kind of guy you would want to be your friend. You always knew where you stood with him. I looked forward to seeing him at the Big Ten meetings. I respected him and enjoyed being around him.
"He was a super coach and I'm not sure he has gotten his due as far as being one of the truly great football coaches of all-time. I'm going to miss him."
Former Colorado Football Coach Bill McCartney
"To me, he was the consummate coach. When he got done coaching, he was still giving to the game. He only got out because of his health, and knew he couldnt put his body under that kind of constant pressure. But he stayed as close to the game as he could. Right on up until he died, he was a big part of the Michigan football program. I was told he spoke the team just the night before (he died). They named a Fieldhouse and a beautiful complex after him; he will be remembered forever.
"During the 20-year stretch he coached, he won more games than any other Division I coach. Fame can come in a moment, but greatness comes with longevity. You may be able to do it once, but can you do it again. He was great because he did it over two decades, and that is how you measure greatness. You measure the body of work, year-after-year.
"I was with him for eight-and-a-half years. He hired me out of the high school ranks, and I was the only high school coach he hired at Michigan. I cant begin to describe or put into words what that meant to me. He was tremendous student of the game, a taskmaster, a dynamic leader and the greatest motivator Ive ever been around. He was a disciplinarian, but his players loved him. He was the kind of the guy who ran a tough, hard-nosed program."
Ohio State Football Coach Jim Tressel
"This is an extraordinary loss for college football. Bo Schembechler touched the lives of many people and made the game of football better in every way. He will always be both a Buckeye and a Wolverine and our thoughts are with all who grieve his loss."
Ohio State Director of Athletics Eugene Smith
"Bo touched the lives of so many and helped develop countless young men into role models and leaders. He is an icon for college athletics, not just the game of football. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family, the University of Michigan and college football fans everywhere."
Florida State Football Head Coach Bobby Bowden
"He was a heck of a coach and a really good guy. I remember a statement he made about 10 years ago that was very significant. He was speaking to our coach's convention somewhere in Texas and he had already been retired for a few years, so he was kind of giving the old-timers view. I'll never forget that he said he wished that he had never stopped coaching. He said he should have continued coaching, but also said he would probably be dead by now if he had. Here I was 60-something years old listening to him and thinking that coaching meant that much to him that he wished he had continued even if it meant shortening his life.
"We played against him in 1986 and lost 20-18 in a very tough game. He was just a great coach and his rivalry with Woody Hayes and Ohio State was certainly one of the biggest in college football. We coached together in several Hula Bowls and I thought he was just a very nice guy, but very, very competitive."
Michigan State Director of Athletics Ron Mason
"I think the greatest compliment I can pay is that Bo was a coach's coach - he was the epitome of hard work and he had an incredible drive to succeed. He possessed such a great respect for the game, and for coaching. He also had respect for other people in the game. Everyone spoke highly of him, his players loved him, and that is a credit to him as a person and a coach."
Former Michigan State Football Coach George Perles (1983-94)
"He was a great coach. He was a loyal person and a loyal friend. I'm going to miss him. I loved him."
Michigan State Football Coach John L. Smith
"I will never forget the first time that I met Bo Schembechler - I was an assistant coach at Washington State, and the Cougars came out to play a game at Michigan. During pre-game warmups, I walked over to introduce myself to Bo and boy, did he make an impression on me. I'm sure that the conversation only lasted a few minutes, but it seemed like much longer than that. We talked about recruiting, we talked about facilities; the bottom line is that he made this young assistant feel important. There is no question that he is one of the legends of the game. Bo had a great passion for the game, and most importantly, he loved his players."
Wisconsin Director of Athletics and Former UW Football Coach Barry Alvarez
"Bo Schembechler epitomized Big Ten football. When you think of Big Ten football, you think of Woody and Bo. I coached against Bo many times when I was at Iowa and Notre Dame. I have great respect and admiration for him. Bo was the consummate football coach. He produced fundamentally sound, hard-nosed teams. His teams played football the way the game is supposed to be played."
Wisconsin Football Head Coach Bret Bielema
"I was a young, walk-on freshman at Iowa during Coach Schembechler's last season as head coach at Michigan. As I progressed through my coaching career since then, I came to appreciate the contributions Coach Schembechler made to college football. He was obviously one of the giants of the game and helped lay a foundation for the next generation of college football coaches. The thoughts of the Badger football program are with Coach Schembechler's family."
Minnesota Football Head Coach Glen Mason
"Today is a sad day not only for the Schembechler family, for the University of Michigan, for the Big Ten, for college football, but for the entire sports world. Bo's stature as an outstanding collegiate football coach, a symbol of integrity, and a great ambassador for college football will be most difficult to replicate. Our sympathies and prayers are offered to the Schembechler family."
U-M Senior Women's Administrator and Former Women's Tennis Coach Bitsy Ritt
"When you think about the University of Michigan, the name 'Bo Schembechler' automatically comes to mind. To coach here and have the opportunity to work alongside Bo, and to see him be so successful and have so much passion for Michigan really left a lasting impression. He was a man of so much character, and he was such an inspirational and motivational figure. His passion for Michigan, and not just football but for the entire department and the University, was unmatched. It was fitting that he was able to speak to our entire staff just a couple months ago, and I'm sure we'll all remember that day. In hearing him speak throughout the years, you could see how consistent and competitive he was in his desire to have Michigan be the best. He took a lot of pride in doing things the right way. Bo's integrity and character is what stood out most in my mind."
U-M Women's Swimming Head Coach Jim Richardson
"He was not only an athlete's coach, but he was a coach's coach. Bo was always so supportive and cordial with Jon (Urbanchek) and myself and the swimming program. He was an inspiration in so many ways. We were so fortunate to have him address the entire athletic department about a month or so ago, especially for the people who had never had the opportunity to hear him. They caught a glimpse what all of us were able to share in when working with him and for him. He will be missed in so many ways. There is no way that you can ever replace somebody like him. The best all of us can do is try to live up to the type of example he set for us and try to carry on the incredible legacy that he has left for us."
Former U-M Swimming Head Coach Jon Urbanchek (1982-2004)
"I'm saddened by the news. I considered him a friend. This is a tremendous loss. He was a great mentor to all of Michigan coaches. He was always concerned with winning the right way with good people. I always looked up to Bo as an inspiration. He was a leader and he was a role model for all the coaches to get the job done the right way. For whatever reason, he kind of liked me. I couldn't figure out why, but he liked me and I adored him. I looked up to him and I wish that I had the charisma that he had. He's going to be greatly missed."
U-M Women's Basketball Head Coach Cheryl Burnett
"Bo's passing is a loss for every sport in this athletic department. He was an icon and legend on this campus. Every single student-athlete that comes into this university knows the name 'Bo Schembechler.' His emotion and passion for Michigan was contagious. He made every athlete and every coach want to stand for the highest values because of his love for this institution and the athletics here."
Former U-M Golf Coach Jim Carras (1982-2002)
"Bo was one of the rare people to come our way. What he has done for the University of Michigan and what he has accomplished for the football program is unprecedented and will never be duplicated. He was one of those truly special people who comes around only once in a lifetime."
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