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BYWH: When Bo Schembechler shoved a Daily reporter

BY DEVON THORSBY
For the Daily
Published February 18, 2009

In October 1979, in the midst of his legendary career as head coach of the Michigan football team, Bo Schembechler brought his game plan for a strong defense off the field and aimed it at a Michigan Daily reporter.

Dan Perrin, a senior sports editor covering football for the Daily at the time, was privately interviewing Schembechler when the legendary coach became irate after being asked about the team’s shortcomings and shoved Perrin.

Perrin had asked Schembechler how he planned to address the team’s weak kickers, who had only made one out of 10 field goals attempted that season.

“Would you emphasize the kicking game more when recruiting from now on, after what’s happened so far this season?” Perrin asked, according to a Michigan Daily article at the time.

About to respond, Schembechler became angry about the question. Schembechler proceeded to knock the microphone Perrin was holding from his hand, poke him in the chest, then grab his throat and push him backward.

“Don’t try to make me look bad, you understand, son, or I’ll throw you the hell out of Michigan football,” he said.

The incident took place at Weber’s Inn on Jackson Road, outside the press luncheon room the site of weekly press conferences with Schembechler.

Despite being shaken, Perrin was not particularly upset about the incident. Perrin attributed Schembechler’s outburst to the less-than-desired kicking record at the time.

“I think Bo was just frustrated with his kicking game, not necessarily angry with me as an individual,” Perrin told the Daily at the time.

Schembechler also appeared to have recovered from the incident. When asked by the Daily at the time about his reason for shoving Perrin, he laughed and said, “I don’t even remember; you know these kids.”

Though the 1979 football season was not the Wolverines’ best, finishing the season with an 8-4 record, Schembechler solidified his reputation as an equally aggressive opponent both on and off the field.