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Lloyd Carr Rides Off Into The Sunset

Llyod Carr's reign as head coach brings Michigan fans back to a much simpler, controversy free time.

Lloyd Carr never made it about himself in his 30 years of service to the University of Michigan.

He owns 122 of Michigan's 877 all-time wins, but you'd never know it from listening to him. After his double-digit underdog Wolverines stunned Tim Tebow's Florida Gators in the 2007 Capital One Bowl, his last game as head coach, several Michigan players gathered around him and carried him off the field in true "Rudy" fashion.

His response? Put me down!

That was Lloyd Carr. To him, it was always about the players. Carr was humble once again on Tuesday after he resigned his post as Michigan's associate athletic director, ending a 30-year tenure with the university that started in 1980, when he was an assistant under Bo Schembechler. 

"I am thankful for the wonderful opportunity to assist two great coaches here in Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller and I will always appreciate Joe Roberson's decision to name me the head coach in 1995," Carr said in a prepared statement. "I am also appreciative for those I worked with and for all the great friendships I have developed.

"Most of all, I am thankful for the young men I coached and for all the memories I have from my time at Michigan," he said.

Newer Michigan fans will remember Lloyd Carr more for his failures than his successes. Carr was just 1-6 against Jim Tressel and Ohio State and famously lost to FCS Appalachian State in the opener of the 2007 season. Many had said that the game had "passed him by," and Carr was an outdated relic of the 1980s.

But most Michigan fans will remember Carr as the fiery coach on the sideline who led the Wolverines to 122 victories in his 13-year reign.

The man simply knew how to win. He was just the third Michigan coach to amass 100 victories. He brought Michigan a national championship in 1997, the school's first since 1948. While he struggled with Ohio State in the latter part of this decade, he owned the Buckeyes and Michigan State early in his career. Carr lost to MSU just three times, and defeated OSU five times in his first six tries.

He recruited countless future NFLers, including Tom Brady, Charles Woodson and LaMarr Woodley to name a few.

His system was as old school as it gets. Michigan ran for more than a decade on workhorse running backs that made names for guys like Chris Perry, Anthony Thomas and Mike Hart. And just when you thought he was done running, he ran it some more. After all, this is a guy that came up through the Schembechler system. Hard-nosed, smash-mouth football is the only football Lloyd Carr knew. 

Even with all these accomplishments, Carr never took credit for anything. Carr deferred much of his success and praise to his coaching staff and players. 

As Michigan is toiling with self imposed sanctions for the first time in school history under new coach Rich Rodriguez, Carr will be especially remembered for doing it cleanly. The football program was never implicated in any scandals under his watch, a monumental task in the era of sports boosters.

Carr's final departure from Michigan truly marks the end of an era in Michigan football. Carr was a "Michigan man" through and through, brought into the system by Schembechler as an assistant in 1980. Coaches like Lloyd Carr are a dying breed. Gone now is the "old guard" of college football. 

When Carr left on the heels of that dramatic upset in 2008, it's safe to say that not a whole lot of people were sad to see him go. Michigan was set to bring in Rodriguez and his high-octane spread offense that would make Carr's pound-it-down-your-throat style a thing of the past at the Big House.

But just two years into to the Rodriguez era, Michigan find itself in the midst of a 8-16 stretch, easily the worst two-year period of the modern era. Many are already predicting Big Blue will need to reach a bowl game for Rodriguez to keep his job.

With Carr retiring (again), it's easy to become a little nostalgic and take us back to a much less troubling time in Michigan football. Under Carr, Michigan won, plain and simple. Nobody can deny that.

But knowing Lloyd, he wouldn't want the attention.

He'd much rather us focus on the current team, instead of him.