Friday, November 17, 2006

Thoughts on Bo

When I heard the news today that Bo Schembechler had died, it kind of took the wind out of my sails. Not that I was ever a big Michigan fan, but people like that just don't come along very often. He was an institution at Michigan and whether he meant to or not he put West Virginia on the map when Michigan assistant coach Don Nehlen took over the WVU program in 1980. Now that's not to say that Bo was in favor of Nehlen leaving for WVU. In fact, he was dead set against it.

Martin called Schembechler.

“He had great things to say about Don,” Martin said. “He said he was a fine coach and would do a heck of a job for us.”

At the same time Schembechler was telling Nehlen a different story.

“When I told Bo I was going to take the West Virginia job he said, ‘Don you’re crazy.’ He looked at our schedule and he saw Oklahoma on there. He saw Penn State and he saw Pitt,” recalled Nehlen earlier this week on Metro News Talkline.

“Bo said, ‘You’ve got about four, five or six losses on here right away. Every coach that’s ever coached there if they win they leave and if they lose they get fired. You’re making good money; we go to the Rose Bowl every year. In two or three years I’ll get you a good job.'”

At some point in all our lives, someone tells us not to do something because it won't end up the way we want it to. And of course we do it anyway just to prove them wrong. And West Virginia isn't such a bad place to be anymore because of it. From reading that article I know that there were a lot of things that Nehlen really liked about West Virginia and any thoughts of proving the old man wrong were probably secondary to his decision to come to West Virginia. But it's the closest tie I can find between Bo and our program. And maybe that's the best way I can show my respect to the man and say thank you. I'm sure he passed along a ton of great lessons on building a program to coach Nehlen, and for that we should all be thankful!

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