carr, michigan, wolverines
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Lloyd Carr walked into a team meeting Sunday afternoon, only to be met with silence.
He exited the Schembechler Hall meeting room and entered again, this time receiving thunderous applause from his Michigan players, most of whom understood the announcement that was coming.
A day after Michigan suffered its fourth straight loss to rival Ohio State, Carr informed his players that he will retire after 13 years at the helm of a Wolverines program he guided to a national championship and five Big Ten championships.
Carr confirmed his decision to The Associated Press Sunday afternoon, but declined to comment further. A 10 a.m. news conference is scheduled for Monday when Carr will address the media, which learned of the news from players as they left Schembechler Hall Sunday afternoon.
"He's not going to be here any longer," linebacker Chris Graham said, following the 20-minute meeting. "It's a sad thing to hear, but I enjoyed every moment of being here with him. He's a great coach to me, he's like another father figure. Just having him here is the whole reason I came."
The decision to leave, players believe, wasn't an easy one for the 62-year-old Carr.
"He loves this program to the death," wide receiver Adrian Arrington said.
Graham described his teammates reaction as mixed, with some shocked at the news, while younger players didn't know how to digest what they had just heard.
"It was just strange," outside linebacker Shawn Crable said. "He didn't tear up or anything like that -- it was just strange. It was just a weird meeting."
Crable, one of the team's captains, said he learned of Carr's decision at the same time as the rest of his teammates. But he said he'll remember Carr for what he did for Michigan's program.
Carr led the Wolverines to the 1997 national championship and five Big Ten titles. He won .779 percent of his conference games, trailing the success rate of just two coaches that were in the Big Ten for at least a decade: Michigan's Bo Schembechler and Fielding Yost. Against top-10 teams, Carr was 17-9.
Michigan has lost its last four bowl games, including three Rose Bowls, the longest postseason skid since Schembechler dropped seven straight in the 1970s.
"He's been a leader," Crable said. "He's been the face of the program, he's taken a lot of heat in situations, he's had some great times in situations, but he's been the leader."
Senior defensive tackle Will Johnson said he saw signs throughout the year that this would be Carr's last season, but that the coach never wanted his status to become a distraction.
"He's a great coach and a great man," Johnson said. "I'm going to miss him being around."
Punter Zoltan Mesko characterized Carr as "a guy who will always have my back" and "as a man I'll always look up to."
When asked what Carr's legacy will be at Michigan, Mesko said Carr, who recorded only one win over Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, will go down as one of Michigan's greats.
"He's up there," Mesko said. "He's done a lot of things and run one of the cleanest programs in the nation -- he always ran everything with integrity and I respect that."
Senior safety Jamar Adams said he would have preferred to see Carr stay at Michigan, but he hopes his coach's future includes some relaxation.
"I hope he goes and chills out somewhere and spends some of that money he's got," Adams said. "But I just want him to have as much fun as he can."