As the clock neared 10 a.m., a Lexus SUV pulled up near the Junge Champions Center. Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr exited the vehicle and walked toward the building, where hundreds of reporters and friends of the Michigan football program awaited his arrival.
Carr didn’t come alone, though. He brought one of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory with him.
Carr was about to announce his retirement after 13 years as Michigan’s head coach and 28 years coaching in the program.
“I wanted to be able to walk out of here knowing that to the very last minute, I did my job to the best of my ability,” Carr said. “And I know I’ll be able to do that.”
Wearing a blue dress shirt and silver tie with a black suit jacket and pants, Carr strolled into the Junge Champions Center a minute earlier than expected. The 62-year-old coach was met by dozens of flashbulbs from waiting photographers.
Michigan’s third-winningest coach of all time then went to the podium, where he began his press conference by speaking for 12 minutes before taking questions.
After thanking more than a handful of people he worked with at Michigan, Carr got one specific point across before opening the floor for questions from the media.
“My timing is based on one thing – what’s best for Michigan and what’s best for Michigan football,” said Carr, who will stay on as an associate athletic director for Michigan. “There are no other motives.”
Carr was met with a round of applause from the left side of the room, which mostly consisted of family friends, former coaches, players and other friends of the program.
Carr then opened the floor to media questions, which he answered for 28 more minutes.
Carr spoke about reasons behind his decision (“It was time, it was the right time”), advice for a successor (“You’ve got to be able to take a punch and know that all those punches are worth it”) and what the emotions were like at the team meeting Sunday when he told his players and staff he was leaving.
“(Sunday) was one of the most emotional days of my life,” Carr said. “I cried more tears than I knew I had.”
Carr, who answered many of the questions with watery eyes, faced a couple questions he didn’t want to answer, though.
The former National Coach of the Year wouldn’t discuss his legacy, his thoughts on Louisiana State coach Les Miles, who is rumored to be a potential successor, or his favorite player during his tenure.
As 10:40 came around, Carr’s candid responses that showed a mixture of reminiscence, gratitude and humor came to an end. Athletic Director Bill Martin came to the podium and relieved the coach, whose job security Martin continually assured during past seasons.
Once Martin ended his speech with “Go Blue and Go Lloyd,” Carr went to the front row, where he hugged his wife and shook hands with other family members and friends.
Martin went on to answer questions about Carr and his future successor with the media after the press conference, as did many of Carr’s assistants.
But before looking forward to the future entirely, Martin made sure to let everyone know how much Carr’s service at Michigan was appreciated.
“I think Lloyd is going to be hard to replace,” Martin said. “You could probably get coaches in here that could equal his win-loss percentage, but will they represent this institution in all the ways that Lloyd does?”