Former Athletic Director Joe Roberson remembers a distinct sound coming from Lloyd Carr’s office in Schembechler Hall.
Something that didn’t seem to belong in a football building.
Classical music greeted Roberson when he poked his head into the then-defensive coordinator Carr’s office.
And that was part of what sold Roberson on Carr when Roberson appointed him as the Wolverines’ interim head coach in 1995.
“I said to myself, ‘I really want a coach who can be a role model to these young men in the educational sense,’ ” Roberson said. “Somebody who knows there are more letters in the alphabet than X and O. I felt Lloyd was that.”
Similar sentiments floated around Junge Champion Center yesterday morning when friends, media, assistant coaches and members of the athletic department gathered as Carr announced his retirement, and those close to Carr shared praise for the 13-year coach.
“I’m a little bittersweet,” said Jim Brandstatter, who has spent the last 13 years working with Carr on “Michigan Replay,” a talk show with Michigan coaches. “I’m happy for Lloyd. He’s a great guy. He’s a friend, and he now has the opportunity to get out from under the microscope.”
While working with Carr, Brandstatter recounted the late nights after games in which the two would banter – in good fun – before the camera started rolling, sometimes as late as 4 a.m.
Brandstatter added he’d have a chance to talk to Carr a little more about the decision when he filmed “Michigan Replay” with the newly retired coach later that night.
Wide receivers coach Erik Campbell, who joined the staff when Carr took the reigns as head coach, loved every moment working under Carr.
“He’s one of those guys who stood up for what the University of Michigan is all about,” Campbell said. “I had the great privilege to play for him and then come back and work for him.”
Campbell, who first got to know Carr when he played at Michigan as an 18-year-old, said the team meeting on Sunday was one of the more moving atmospheres he’s ever experienced.
The coaches retold stories, and Campbell said both tears and laughs flowed freely.
Yesterday at the press conference, Carr captivated the room with his remarks concerning the situation around his retirement. TV screens along the wall displayed Carr’s different faces over his years roaming the Michigan Stadium sidelines, and those in the audience told of similar transitions.
Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson recalled Carr opening his door whenever his colleague from the rink stopped by the football office. He said Carr would always make time to talk to a hockey recruit or discuss whatever Berenson wanted.
Berenson, who has guided the hockey team for 24 seasons, even jokingly suggested how Carr knew it was time to walk away.
“I suppose if you start forgetting your players’ names,” Berenson said. “We only have 26 players, and I haven’t got to that point. He has 100 and some players.”
Carr may be walking away from the game, but he’ll have classical music to serenade him on his trip home.