Eight outstanding University of Michigan men were chosen to reveal Bo Schembechler’s secrets. In addition, these men exemplified the great Michigan tradition, both on and off the field. Not only did coach Gary Moeller Initially accompany Bo to Ann Arbor, he served with him in a number of coaching capacities, including his defensive coordinator. Gary went on to become the head coach of Michigan from 1990 through 1994. During his five seasons as head coach, his teams were victorious in 44 games. They lost 13 and tied 3 for a winning percentage of .758. Gary was a leader, a communicator and the players related very well to his style and creative coaching drills. The young athletic Moeller also played basketball, during the off-season, with the young footballers. His exuberant physical contact on the basketball court sent a clear message and modeled physical play. Playing sports, was not for sissies.
The seven players [Frank Gusich, Thom Darden, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Mike Keller, Tom Curtis, Jim Betts, and Reggie McKenzie] were chosen because they signify the Michigan tradition of excellence, and they are good examples of having the mentally and physically tough characteristics needed in order to play this brutal game. They also have not embarrassed the University but instead have become well-known spokesmen and representatives within their communities. And of course, the seven were outstanding athletes and contributed greatly especially in the classic 1969 Ohio State game. These magnificent seven represented the senior, Junior and sophomore classes. They played important and critical positions. On offense they played in the backfield and also on the line the scrimmage. On the defensive side of the ball, they played on the line, and in the defensive secondary. Woody Hayes had his Jack Tatum and Bo Schembechler had his Thom Darden and Frank Gusich as Wolfman [a fierce linebacker type, but also able to play in the secondary]. These magnificent men were not a random sample. They were identified and significantly chosen as a representative sample of the 1969 Michigan team. Were there other stars on that particular team, of course? But these eight were chosen to best represent the dynamic Michigan football.
After interviewing these individuals and hearing their story, I learned a lot about Coach Bo Schembechler and the magic he created both on and off the field. Did he make them champions [they won 27 out of 30 college games from 1969 through 1971?] Or, did they make him the legend? Let the historians decide. The following are the top secrets or the facts, as told, and contributed greatly to the success of Bo Schembechler’s Warriors.
To be continued at a later date.