OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Behind the police tape, a white coroner’s van
sat in front of a garage on the 600 block of South The Strand. It waited to
collect the body of Junior Seau, a linebacker among the most feared in N.F.L.
history, father to three teenagers, son to the mother who wailed long and loud
Earlier in the day, according to the Oceanside Police, Seau’s girlfriend went to
the gym. When she returned, she found Seau in a bedroom, a gunshot wound to the
chest, a revolver found near his body but not a note. He was 43.
The police are investigating Seau’s death as a suicide, Lieutenant Leonard Mata
said, adding that they do not expect to finish the investigation until next
Seau would be the second former N.F.L. player to commit suicide in the past two
weeks. Ray Easterling, a safety for the Atlanta Falcons in the 1970s and a
plaintiff in a high-profile lawsuit against the N.F.L. over its handling of
concussion-related injuries, died on April 19 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In February 2011, the former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson shot himself in the
chest, saying in a note that he wanted his brain donated to the study of
football head injuries.
As word of Seau’s death spread through the city he long called home, the crowd
swelled outside the police tape, fans clad in Seau jerseys and San Diego
Chargers caps, carrying flowers and lighted candles and homemade signs.
At 1:17 p.m., or roughly four hours after Seau’s girlfriend called police, after
officials said they performed “lifesaving efforts” on an unconscious Seau in his
bedroom, dozens of family members and friends surrounded the coroner’s white
van. The back door opened. Seau’s body was placed inside. As the van inched
slowly down the street, through a crowd that numbered in the hundreds, Seau’s
mother, Luisa, threw her hands in the air and screamed.
“Seau’s last ride,” one onlooker noted.
“I don’t understand,” his mother said.
Outside the house with the brick front and chairs upstairs on the deck pointed
at the nearby ocean, they tried to make sense of Seau and what happened and
could not. Here was a linebacker who played 20 seasons in the N.F.L. for three
teams, who made 12 Pro Bowls and went to two Super Bowls and was named to the
1990s All-Decade Team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Here was a man who grew up here, played college ball close by at Southern
California, starred close by with the Chargers for much of his professional
career. Here was a man who never really left the place he came from, who
directed many of his philanthropic efforts in the community where he grew up.
Here was a man with three teenage children: a daughter, Sydney, and two sons,
Jake and Hunter, at least one of whom was at the home Wednesday.
To those assembled, a crowd that included people who went to Seau’s barbershop
and stopped him to chat in local restaurants, this is how they wanted to
remember Seau, how they want him to be remembered, too. To Miles McPherson, a
former Charger, longtime friend and pastor at the Rock Church, “Junior was
superman.” When McPherson said that, heads nodded across the crowd.
The subject of Seau and how he changed or not in recent years appeared to make
his friends uncomfortable. They knew that Seau sustained minor injuries in
October 2010 when he drove his sport utility vehicle off a beachside cliff in
Carlsbad, Calif., where it landed some 100 feet below the roadside.
Earlier that day, Seau was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. Reports
at that time said Seau’s live-in girlfriend told the police Seau assaulted her
during an argument.
Friends and the police declined to speculate about Seau’s relationship with his
girlfriend. They preferred to focus on the positive, and many kept coming back
to the images that remained, like Seau, dressed perpetually in flip flops and
board shorts, talking about surfing.
The last time Shawn Mitchell, the Chargers’ chaplain, saw Seau, it was when the
team inducted him into its Hall of Fame. That was in sharp contrast from when
Mitchell visited Seau in the hospital after the crash, when Mitchell said Seau
sat with tears streaming down his face, grateful to be alive. A “mishap,”
Mitchell called the incident.
Seau began his career with the Chargers in 1990 and was traded to Miami in 2003.
After three injury-plagued seasons, the Dolphins released him. He signed a
one-day contract with the Chargers in August 2006 to announce his retirement.
Four days later, he signed with the New England Patriots and played for the 2007
team that went undefeated in the regular season and lost to the Giants in the
His last season in the N.F.L. was 2009. He finished his career with 1,524
tackles, 56 ˝ sacks and 18 interceptions.
The N.F.L., the N.F.L. Players’ Association and each of the three teams Seau
played for released statements on Wednesday. All said they were deeply saddened.
“Of all the players I’ve been around, he’s the one who makes you most proud,”
said Bobby Beathard, once the general manager of the Chargers. “It’s just sad.
It’s hard to believe that now there’s no Junior.”
Family members gathered in front of the house Wednesday, singing songs and
praying. Children burst into tears. A makeshift memorial sprouted in front of
the house, with flower bouquets and candles and a sign that read, “We will miss
Later in the afternoon, another van pulled up in front of the house, to take
Seau’s mother from the scene. Two relatives helped her inside as she told the
crowd she appreciated how so many of them loved her son.
September 14, 2008
The New York Times
By PETE THAMEL
LOS ANGELES — As college football scripts go, this potential blockbuster
never would have made it to the big screen.
When No. 1 Southern California met No. 5 Ohio State in the first marquee event
of college football’s regular season, the much-hyped matchup turned into a
In U.S.C.’s 35-3 mauling of the Buckeyes before 93,607 at the Los Angeles
Coliseum, the characters were too familiar, the results too predictable and the
lack of drama too obvious.
Coupled with Georgia’s hard-won victory over South Carolina on Saturday, the
Trojans established themselves as the best team in the country and the favorites
to win the national title. After losses to Stanford and Oregon kept them from
the Bowl Championship Series title game last season, the stars have realigned in
“Tonight, it didn’t matter who we were playing,” U.S.C. Coach Pete Carroll said.
The underwhelming performance by Ohio State was the third consecutive time it
imploded on college football’s biggest stage. Twice in the past two national
title games, the Buckeyes self-destructed. This performance will probably give
them the hook from the national title race, to the joy of college football fans
outside the Big Ten who have built up a resentment toward the Buckeyes because
of their big-game foibles.
U.S.C. used the stage to showcase the latest in its long line of stars. The
junior quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 17 of 28 passes for 172 yards and 4
touchdowns. The sophomore tailback Joe McKnight followed up his dazzling Rose
Bowl performance by rushing for 105 yards on 12 carries.
“When he has time and a little bit of space, anything can happen,” Sanchez said
Ohio State played without its injured star tailback, Chris Wells, but the
Buckeyes’ biggest problem was that they could not get out of their own way.
Todd Boeckman’s second-quarter interception that resulted in Rey Maualuga’s
48-yard return for a touchdown epitomized an error-filled day for Ohio State.
The touchdown gave U.S.C. a 21-3 lead and rendered the rest of the game a
It also offered the definitive image of Boeckman’s long night, because he had a
perfect angle to push Maualuga out of bounds. Instead, he appeared tentative,
uninterested in making the tackle, and was driven to the turf by two Trojans.
Boeckman finished 14 of 21 for 84 yards and two interceptions.
Much as Louisiana State’s had in the national title game in January, U.S.C.’s
pass rush exposed Boeckman’s lack of mobility. When he is forced to move around,
he transforms from a solid quarterback into a major liability.
And if his poor performance was not enough, Boeckman will probably find himself
mired in a quarterback controversy when he returns to Columbus. The freshman
Terrelle Pryor, the nation’s top quarterback recruit last season, moved the ball
much more effectively than Boeckman when he was intermittently mixed in for more
than a dozen snaps. Along with just how far the Buckeyes will drop in the polls,
the other question hovering around them will be when Coach Jim Tressel will
supplant Boeckman with Pryor, who finished 7 of 9 for 52 yards.
“The big-game setting was not too big for him,” Carroll said.
After leading at halftime, 21-3, the Trojans poured it on in the third quarter.
They outgained the Buckeyes, 135 yards to 2, and Sanchez lofted two touchdown
passes to Damian Williams, from 24 and 17 yards. Williams was so open in the end
zone on the second touchdown that he could have done a cartwheel while the ball
was in the air and still caught it.
“He caught it like a punt,” Sanchez said.
The game had all the familiar trappings of a U.S.C. home game, right down to the
lopsided final score. The game-time temperature was 74 degrees. From the parking
lots jammed five hours before the game to the four-jet flyover before the
kickoff, the evening had a red-carpet feel.
Ohio State actually led, 3-0, and moved the ball efficiently in the first half,
mixing Pryor and Boeckman on its scoring drive. But the Trojans took the lead,
7-3, on a dazzling play from an old-school position. The fullback Stanley Havili
caught a 35-yard pass with his fingertips, making Tressel sound like a prophet.
“Their fullback is one of the best receivers you’ll ever see,” Tressel had said
Tuesday in a news conference.
Tressel saw plenty more superlative plays on Saturday. Just as it was in Ohio
State’s title game flops against Florida and Louisiana State, the Buckeyes’
early lead became nothing but a curious footnote.
And much as it had in those games, Ohio State repeatedly shot itself in the
foot. Two false-start penalties stymied the Buckeyes’ opening drive.
Ohio State’s signature penalty came when a holding call on Ben Person nullified
a Boeckman touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie. Earlier in the drive, Ohio State
had appeared to earn a first-and-goal from the 3 until that play was nullified
by another holding penalty. A touchdown on the drive would have cut the lead to
14-10. Instead, Ryan Pretorius missed a 46-yard field goal.
That was the last time the game was competitive, and the old plot lines quickly
re-emerged. U.S.C. is again the unquestioned best team in the country. And Ohio
State melted down on college football’s biggest stage.
November 25, 2007
The New York Times
By THAYER EVANS
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 24 — After No. 3 Missouri’s 36-28 victory against No.
2 Kansas on Saturday night, Tigers fans proudly made the No. 1 sign with their
For the first time in team history, Missouri could be exactly that when the Bowl
Championship Series standings are released Sunday after the Tigers won the Big
12 North title and the latest game in this heated border rivalry on a frigid
night before 80,537 rowdy fans at Arrowhead Stadium. Top-ranked Louisiana State
Missouri (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) could also top the Associated Press poll for the
first time since 1960, when it held the spot for a week.
“It’s great,” Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said of a possible No. 1 ranking. “It’s
good. I don’t know what you want me to do. I’m not going to jump up and do a
backflip. I can’t do that.”
The freshman wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said: “We’ve got all the right pieces.
Now, you’ve got to put the puzzle together. We’re almost done putting that
The Tigers will next play No. 10 Oklahoma (10-2, 6-2) Dec. 1 in the Big 12
Championship game in San Antonio. Last month, Missouri lost at Oklahoma, 41-31.
Kansas (11-1, 7-1), which entered the game ranked eighth nationally in defense
at 300 yards a game, gave up 519 yards of offense to the Tigers.
“Missouri’s offense is really talented,” Kansas Coach Mark Mangino said. “They
pitch and catch very well.”
In front of a national television audience, the Missouri junior quarterback
Chase Daniel made a strong case to be considered for the Heisman Trophy by
completing 40 of 49 passes for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“This guy is special,” Pinkel said of Daniel. “I’ve said this for a year and a
half. America got to see today how special he is. What a remarkable competitor.”
This season, Daniel has thrown for 3,951 yards and 33 touchdowns, and has thrown
Asked whether his play Saturday night was worthy of a Heisman, Daniel said:
“I’ll let you all take care of that. I’m just playing football and trying to win
Trailing by 14-0 at halftime, Kansas took the second-half kickoff and drove deep
into Missouri territory before quarterback Todd Reesing was intercepted at the
Tigers’ 11 by Castine Bridges, who returned the ball 49 yards.
After the interception, Missouri covered 40 yards in a seven-play drive capped
by a 1-yard touchdown run by Jimmy Jackson for a 21-0 advantage with 10 minutes
36 seconds left in the third quarter.
The teams traded touchdowns before Kansas scored its second touchdown on
Reesing’s 5-yard run with 13:02 left in the game. Missouri kicker Jeff Wolfert’s
43-yard field goal a little more than three minutes later made the score 31-14,
allowing the Tigers to remain as the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision
to score at least 30 points in every game this season.
Kansas pulled to 10 points behind after a 10-yard Reesing touchdown pass with
8:28 left in the game, but the Tigers scored on another field goal by Wolfert.
Reesing then threw another touchdown pass, but the Jayhawks could not recover
their onside kick with about two minutes left.
Missouri scored the game’s final points on a safety with 12 seconds left,
setting off flickering camera flashes throughout the stadium.
The stakes of Saturday night’s game were perhaps the biggest of the 116 meetings
between the teams. The annual game is the second most-played rivalry in the bowl
subdivision, behind Wisconsin-Minnesota.
The Tigers opened the scoring with 29 seconds left in the first quarter. Facing
fourth-and-goal, they lined up in a shotgun, five-wide receiver formation from
which Daniel passed to tight end Martin Rucker for a 1-yard touchdown at the
Missouri end of the stadium.
Afterward, Daniel jumped up and down, swinging his arms upward to pump up the
frenzied Tigers fans.
Kansas, which entered the game having only trailed for 27:15 this season,
advanced into Missouri territory for the first time on the second play of the
ensuing drive on Reesing’s 39-yard pass to wide receiver Kerry Meier that went
to the Tigers’ 26.
On the next play, Reesing underthrew wide receiver Dexton Fields at the Tigers’
2 and was intercepted. It was Reesing’s first interception in 213 passing
attempts, dating to last month’s Kansas State game.
The Tigers converted the turnover into Daniel’s second touchdown of the game, a
11-yard pass to wide receiver Danario Alexander for a 14-0 lead with 9:21 left
in the second quarter. On the play, Daniel scrambled for 12 seconds and received
a key block from an offensive lineman right before he threw the ball.
Kansas rebounded on its next possession and drove to the Missouri 16. From
there, Scott Webb missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt, his kick hitting the
right upright with 6:26 left in the second quarter.
After the miss, Mangino calmly walked over to his offense on the sideline and
began raising his right hand, which held his game plan, as if to tell his
players to keep their heads up.
After a Missouri punt, Webb missed another field goal, this time wide left from
45 yards with less than 90 seconds left in the second quarter.
Webb’s misses would have made a difference against a Missouri team that could be
the Associated Press poll’s fourth new No. 1 this season.
September 2, 2007
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York Times
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 1 (AP) — Dexter Jackson sprinted through the
secondary early in the first quarter, taunting nearly 110,000 Michigan fans by
putting a finger over his lips en route to the end zone. Nearly three hours
later, he got the desired result and the Big House was silent: Appalachian State
34, No. 5 Michigan 32.
Julian Rauch kicked a 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds left to put the
Mountaineers ahead of the Wolverines and Corey Lynch blocked a field goal in the
final seconds to seal a jaw-dropping upset that may have no equal.
“I told them to be quiet — we’re going to be out here all day,” Jackson said,
explaining the gesture he used after scoring a 68-yard touchdown. “We’re
playmakers. They were talking trash on us, now we’ve gotten them back.
“It was David versus Goliath.”
Mike Hart, Chad Henne and Jake Long, Michigan’s threesome of offensive stars who
put off the N.F.L. and returned for their senior season to chase a national
title, never saw this coming.
Coach Lloyd Carr did not, either, after tweaking his contract to possibly pave
the way for this to be his last season on the sideline. Carr looked ashen as the
upset unfolded, and did not sound much better when he finally arrived at his
postgame news conference.
“I’ve never been part of a loss that wasn’t miserable,” he said.
Appalachian State made up for a slight size disadvantage with superior speed
and, perhaps, more passion.
The Mountaineers, the two-time defending champions from the former Division
I-AA, were ahead of Michigan, which has more victories than any college program,
by 28-14 late in the second quarter, before their storybook afternoon seemed to
unravel late in the fourth quarter. Hart’s 54-yard run with 4 minutes 36 seconds
left put the Wolverines ahead for the first time since early in the second
One snap after the go-ahead touchdown, Michigan’s Brandent Englemon intercepted
an errant pass, but the Wolverines could not capitalize and had their first of
two field goals blocked.
Then Appalachian State drove 69 yards without a timeout in 1:11 to set up the
go-ahead field goal.
Henne threw a 46-yard pass to Mario Manningham, giving Michigan the ball at
Appalachian State’s 20 with six seconds left and putting the Wolverines in
position to win it with a field goal.
Lynch blocked the kick and returned it 52 yards to the 18 as the final seconds
ticked off. His teammates rushed across the field to pile on as the coaching
staff and cheerleaders jumped with joy.
“We’re still sort of shocked,” Coach Jerry Moore said after being carried off
the field by his players.
Appalachian State has won 15 consecutive games, the longest streak in the
nation. The Mountaineers are favored to win the Football Championship
Subdivision, but they were not expected to challenge a team picked to win the
Big Ten and contend for the national title. No Division I-AA team had beaten a
team ranked in the Associated Press poll from 1989-2006, and it is unlikely that
it happened after Division I subdivisions were created in 1978.
“Someone said it might be one of the big victories in college football,” Moore
said. “It may be the biggest.”
DALLAS (AP) -- Lamar Hunt, the pro sports
visionary who owned the Kansas City Chiefs and came up with the term ''Super
Bowl,'' died Wednesday night. He was 74.
Hunt, a founder of the American Football League and one of the driving forces
behind the AFL-NFL merger, died at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas of
complications from prostate cancer, Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore said.
Hunt battled cancer for several years and was hospitalized the day before
Thanksgiving with a partially collapsed lung. Doctors discovered that the cancer
had spread, and Hunt had been under heavy sedation since last week.
''He was a founder. He was the energy, really, that put together half of the
league, and then he was the key person in merging the two leagues together,''
said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Hunt's neighbor. ''You'd be hard-pressed to find
anybody that's made a bigger contribution (to the NFL) than Lamar Hunt.''
Carl Peterson, the Chiefs' president and general manager, called Hunt ''arguably
the greatest sportsman of this last half-century, although he never sought fame
or recognition for the improvements and changes he brought to the world's sports
''His was a creative, constructive and loving life not nearly long enough and we
will likely never see one like it again,'' Peterson said.
The son of Texas oilman H.L. Hunt, Lamar Hunt grew up in Dallas and attended a
private boys' prep school in Pennsylvania, serving as captain of the football
team in his senior year. His love of sports led to his nickname, ''Games.''
Hunt played football at SMU, but never rose above third string. His modest
achievements on the field were dwarfed by his accomplishments as an owner and
promoter of teams in professional football, basketball, baseball, tennis, soccer
Hunt's business dealings were also the stuff of headlines. Hunt didn't need to
make money -- his father was an oil wildcatter who was often referred to as the
richest man in the world. But he tried to build on his father's wealth.
Along with two brothers, Hunt tried to corner the silver market in 1979 and
1980. Their oil investments also soured in the 1980s. Some estimated the
family's losses in the billions.
Hunt also suffered setbacks in the world of pro sports, but overcame them.
When NFL owners rebuffed Hunt's attempt to buy a franchise and move it to
Dallas, Hunt -- ignoring his father's advice -- founded the AFL. He owned one of
the AFL's eight original teams from the inaugural 1960 season, the Dallas
The Texans, however, struggled in head-to-head competition with the expansion
Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Convinced that both franchises would suffer as long
as Dallas remained a two-team city, Hunt moved the Texans to Kansas City in
''I looked around and figured Kansas City could be a success,'' he told The
Associated Press. ''By our fourth or fifth year, we started to succeed. The
Cowboys of course did very well too.''
Hunt realized his dream of becoming an NFL owner after the two leagues reached a
merger deal in 1966.
In 1967, the Chiefs lost the first AFL-NFL championship -- it was then called
the World Championship Game. Three years later, the Chiefs beat the Minnesota
Vikings for the title.
By then, the championship game had been christened the Super Bowl. Hunt came up
with the name while watching his children play with a SuperBall.
In 1972, Hunt became the first AFL figure to be inducted into the Pro Football
Hall of Fame, and each year the Lamar Hunt Trophy goes to the winner of the
NFL's American conference.
Hunt long campaigned to let teams other than Dallas and Detroit play at home on
Thanksgiving Day. To honor his effort, the NFL scheduled a third game on the
holiday this year -- in Kansas City. Hunt missed it, though, because he was in
the hospital and couldn't get the game on TV.
Hunt remained interested in the day-to-day operations of the Chiefs but was
never known as a meddlesome owner.
''On Sunday nights after a game, he would always call,'' Chiefs coach Herm
Edwards said. ''It would be about 9:30 or 10 o'clock and the phone would ring
and I knew it was Lamar. He always said, 'Am I bothering you?'
''Is he bothering me? What a great man, as humble a man as you will ever meet.''
For several years, Hunt also owned the minor-league baseball Dallas-Fort Worth
Spurs, but his 1964 effort to bring major league baseball to the Dallas-area
failed. Eight years later, the Washington franchise moved to suburban Arlington
and became the Texas Rangers.
In 1967, Hunt was one of 10 original founding partners in the Chicago Bulls
basketball franchise. He was the last remaining original owner.
Also in 1967, Hunt started the first organized effort at a pro tennis tour with
World Championship Tennis, and in 1968 he helped bring pro soccer to the United
States with his Dallas Tornado of the old North American Soccer League.
More recently, Hunt and his sons owned Hunt Sports Group, which manages Major
League Soccer franchises in Dallas, Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio.
In 1969, Hunt tried to buy Alcatraz, the island in San Francisco Bay that once
housed a federal prison, and develop it with a tourist park and shopping
destination. The idea died amid local protest.
Hunt created Worlds of Fun, a $50 million amusement park, and Oceans of Fun, a
$7 million water recreation park, in Kansas City. He opened a pro bowling arena
in Dallas -- actress Jayne Mansfield was the opening-night draw.
Hunt was part of H.L. Hunt's ''first family'' -- the wildcatter had 15 children
by three women. Despite huge losses in the silver and oil markets, family
members kept much of their wealth protected by elaborate trusts, and their names
have long dotted lists of the wealthiest Americans.
Counting pro football, Hunt has been inducted into eight halls of fame,
including ones for soccer and tennis as well as the Texas Business Hall of Fame
and the Kansas City Business Hall of Fame.
Hunt is survived by wife Norma, children Lamar Jr., Sharron Munson, Clark and
Daniel; and 13 grandchildren.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 17 — In this part of the
country, when college football fans speak of The Game, there is no need to
clarify that they are talking about the annual matchup between Ohio State and
But none of the teams’ 102 previous meetings have held as much importance as the
game Saturday, with Ohio State ranked No. 1 and Michigan No. 2 for the first
time in series history. Both have 11-0 records, and the winner is assured a spot
in the Bowl Championship Series national title game in January.
Anticipation for the game is so high that it halted ballot counting for a
Congressional election and prompted Michigan to send members of the campus
police here to ensure the safety of its fans.
Then, with a little more than 24 hours to go before the game, Michigan’s
renowned football coach, Bo Schembechler, died.
Schembechler, 77, had missed a doctor’s appointment Thursday to give his former
team a fiery pep talk. On Friday morning, he went to tape his weekly television
show at WXYZ-TV in Southfield, Mich., and collapsed. A doctor at the hospital
where he taken said the cause of death was congestive heart failure.
In a telephone interview, the former broadcaster Keith Jackson called the timing
of Schembechler’s death “absolutely spooky.”
Schembechler’s 194-48-5 record makes him the university’s leader in victories,
and the complex that houses the football team’s offices bears his name. His
teams won or shared 13 Big Ten Conference titles, played in the Rose Bowl 10
times, and had 117 players drafted by National Football League teams.
Ohio State will hold a moment of silence for Schembechler before the game. A
punk band based in Columbus known as the Dead Schembechlers — its name prescient
and unintentionally macabre — said it would disband in honor of the coach after
playing at a Hate Michigan Rally on Friday.
On Monday, Schembechler showed the feistiness that defined his 21 seasons as
Michigan’s coach. He told reporters: “I don’t care who it is — there’s no
rivalry that compares with this. This is the greatest college football rivalry
Typical barometers of the scale of a college football game include money spent
on tickets, the number of opposing fans who travel to the visiting city and the
quantity of alcohol consumed at bars near campus.
But the decision made by the Franklin County Board of Elections to delay the
counting of more than 18,000 absentee and provisional votes in the Congressional
election for the 15th District may reset the standards.
The Republican incumbent, Deborah Pryce, leads her Democratic challenger, Mary
Jo Kilroy, by more than 3,000 votes. The first day that those ballots can be
legally counted is Saturday.
“When it comes down to it, they would have a mutiny on their hands if they tried
to make Franklin County Board of Election workers work on the Saturday of The
Game,” said Randy Borntrager, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, stressing
his final two words to accentuate this contest’s unofficial title.
Pryce apparently does not mind either. After all, she will be attending the
“She cares about two things this weekend: winning her election and making sure
Ohio State beats Michigan,” Pryce’s spokesman, John DeStefano, said. “Whichever
order they come in, it’ll be quite a celebration when both happen on the same
In Michigan, the tributes to Schembechler began hours after his death. Numerous
former players, coaches, friends and Michigan administrators appeared at a news
conference to pay tribute to him.
“Bo Schembechler was a second dad for me,” said Jamie Morris, a former Michigan
running back, who later left the room in tears.
Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman said, “No one represented Michigan tradition
better than Bo.”
Schembechler was known for demanding discipline and perfection and for his gruff
demeanor. His Michigan teams were known for their grinding style with a tough
defense and a strong running game.
Schembechler had a history of health problems. He had the first of two heart
attacks in 1970, on the eve of his first Rose Bowl. Schembechler had two
quadruple-bypass operations. Last month, he had a pacemaker implanted after he
felt ill during a taping at the same television station.
Few felt the death as much as Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr. A longtime assistant
for Schembechler, Carr appeared subdued as he led his team through a brief
walk-through at Ohio Stadium on Friday. He did not stop to address reporters;
Michigan players also did not speak to the news media.
The death of Schembechler dimmed the excitement somewhat in this football-crazed
city as it braced for the game. Hundreds of campers were already parked outside
Ohio Stadium, but aside from a few zealous fans, the Michigan players
encountered little noise as they left the team’s charter buses.
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel released a statement, saying, “Bo Schembechler
touched the lives of many people and made the game of football better in every
Even the members of the Dead Schembechlers paid their respects by replacing
their name on the marquee of the Newport Music Hall in Columbus with the words
“God Bless Bo.”
A band spokesman told The Detroit News that all the proceeds from their concert
at the Hate Michigan Rally would go toward charity.
The band’s Web site crashed Friday afternoon because of heavy usage. Earlier in
the day, a statement was posted on it saying: “The band is crushed to learn of
the death of Bo Schembechler. We named this band after Coach Schembechler to
honor him as the face of Wolverine football.”
And while the timing of Schembechler’s death adds more lore to the rivalry, it
remains to be seen whether it will become the Wolverines’ defining motivation
for the latest installment on Saturday.
“I’m sure there’s a little extra ginger in Michigan as they get ready to play
this game,” Jackson said.