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August 26, 2017 A Look Back: Lloyd Carr’s Journey Begins!

Posted on August 26, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s post is a reprise of my first post last year titled Lloyd Carr’s Journey Begins! It marks the twenty-third anniversary of Lloyd Carr’s first game at Michigan. This was an important time in Michigan Football History for many reasons that I will elaborate on in this post.

Remember, Lloyd Carr was named as the “interim” head coach at Michigan in May 1995 following the untimely resignation of Gary Moeller. Carr was confident and determined in his first press conference in May 1995. He advised everyone who was listening, “Don’t shed any tears for Michigan…we will be back.” With that, he went to work to pull his team together and get ready for the 1995 football season.

Lloyd Carr Michigan Football 1995 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Lloyd Carr is the first, and only, “interim” Head Coach at Michigan to make it to the College Football Hall of Fame! Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Lloyd Carr’s first game was August 26, 1995 which was also the first time Michigan ever played a game in the month of August (after 116 seasons). It was also the first time they participated in the Pigskin Classic, which was the first nationally televised game of the 1995 season. So, Lloyd Carr was making a lot of history in his first game as Michigan’s head coach. There was, after all, no pressure since millions of college football fans would be watching in addition to a packed house at Stadium and Main.

Carr’s first game got off to an ugly start and early in the fourth quarter they trailed the Virginia Cavaliers by 17 points. Coach Carr didn’t panic and neither did his players. His calm, but intense, demeanor helped his players keep their confidence. With Carr’s support, rookie Quarterback Scott Dreisbach led his team out of  the big hole that they had dug for themselves. During the game, Dreisbach became the first Michigan quarterback to throw over fifty passes in a game. He capped an amazing comeback with a fifteen-yard touchdown pass to Mercury Hayes as time expired. Whew! Michigan won by one point  ̶  as the final score ended at 18-17. What a way to start a coaching career!
Here is an excellent video from the “Michigan Historian” about this historic day in Michigan Football.

Lloyd Carr had earned his first head coaching victory in the college ranks. Oh by the way, it was the first time the Wolverines ever came back to win when down by seventeen points. If you were counting, there were eight firsts in the August 26, 1995 game.

So, this game fits perfectly into my theme for 2017 which is Michigan Football “firsts.” Here is a listing of the “firsts” that took place on August 26, 1995.

  1. Lloyd Carr became the first, and only, “interim” Head Football Coach to lead a team at Michigan.
  2. Lloyd Carr’s first season at Michigan.
  3. Lloyd Carr’s first game at Michigan.
  4. Michigan’s first game in the month of August.
  5. Michigan’s first Kickoff Classic game.
  6. First game that a Michigan Quarterback (Scott Dreisbach) threw over 50 passes (52) in one game.
  7. First time a Michigan Football team came back to win after being down by 17 points.
  8. Coach Carr’s first win at Michigan.
  9. Coach Carr’s first win in the Big House.

Actually, I think that Lloyd Carr is the first, and only, Michigan coach to ever see nine “firsts” to start his career! The good news was that there would be many, many more. One thing you can say about Coach Carr’s Michigan career  ̶  it had some mountain top highs, some very low, lows, and some very, very interesting games!  Thanks to Coach Lloyd Carr for his thirteen successful years as Michigan’s head coach! He is the first, and only, “interim” coach in Michigan Football History to make it to the College Football Hall of Fame!

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