Former U-M coach Carr: Hoke brings 'great passion'
Former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr speaks to members of the U-M Spirit Group of Little Traverse Bay during a "Lunch with Lloyd" Monday at Stafford's Perry Hotel. (STEVE FOLEY/NEWS-REVIEW)
In May, it was announced Carr would be inducted into the college football Hall of Fame.
That same month, Carr learned a floor of the newly constructed C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital in Ann Arbor -- which will open in November -- will be named in his honor.
Earlier this month on Father's Day, Carr served as the grand marshal at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.
On Monday, Carr visited Northern Michigan where he stopped by the Stafford Perry Hotel's H.O. Rose Dining Room to speak as part of the U-of-M Little Traverse Bay Spirit Group's 'Lunch with Lloyd.'
Carr, who in his 13 years (1995-2007) compiled a 122-40 record and led the Wolverines to five Big Ten championships and a National Championship in 1997, was visiting the group for the second time in three years.
"I'm here first and foremost to thank many of you for your support with what you've done for the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital," said Carr, who is the sixth U-M coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. "One of the most important things I'm involved with right now is the development effort of the hospital and it's been just an incredible experience.
"I was still coaching when we started this effort. The one thing I was sure of was I knew college football could be used as a vehicle to drive the development, because it is such a popular sport."
Along with the help of nearly 100 former Wolverines including a key trio in Brian Griese, Steve Hutchinson and Charles Woodson, Carr has helped raise more than $4 million for the hospital.
"We've had former players and I who have traveled the country to help promote this thing," Carr said. "Those three guys (Griese, Hutchinson, Woodson) agreed to have a U-M gold alumni weekend, which has since turned into a four-day weekend.
"It's a lot of fun and a lot of laugh. The relationship I've had with them has changed dramatically. I'm also finding out things now I didn't know."
Carr, who's also heavily involved in Mentor Michigan -- a Michigan Community Service Commission -- said he does know Michigan football fans will like new head coach Brady Hoke.
Hoke, a former U-M assistant, was named the head coach in January, succeeding Rich Rodriguez.
"There's tremendous enthusiasm and real excitement around our program," Carr said. "When you meet Brady Hoke, you're going to like him because he's got a great love for Michigan."
Carr added that Hoke has a great understanding of Michigan football and the program's rich winning tradition.
"He has a great passion for the guys he coaches," Carr said. "He's going to be tough on them and he'll demand the best, but at the end of the day they're always going to know he's there for them.
"He'll do everything he can every day to make them a better program, have a chance to have successful careers, and to graduate from the greatest university in the world."
Carr also spoke on the current state of college football, the expansion of the Big Ten, and the possibility of a Bowl Championship Series playoff.
On Nebraska joining the Big Ten this season: "In 1993, we added Penn State and a lot of people weren't very happy about it, but if you look back it was probably one of the greatest moves the conference has ever made. It's opened all the other sports in the conference to the east coast and it's really brought great exposure, both television and all of media, to Michigan athletics.
"With the addition of Nebraska and the division of the conference into two six-team divisions (Legends and Leaders), we'll now have a league championship and it gives our conference and excellent chance to consistently be selected for the BCS. From a football standpoint, I think it's an excellent move."
On a potential BCS playoff format: "I was in New York a month ago for the College Football Hall of Fame and I talked to some important people that said in the next 10 years or so, there could be a group of prominent schools with large budgets and stadiums that could break away from the NCAA and play their own schedule. There could be anywhere from 60-65 teams that would break away and play their own schedule and then have a playoff."