Bo's "The Team" Speech: Mantra for Michigan Wolverine Fans

Jonathan VanValkenburgContributor IAugust 18, 2010

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Former head coach Bo Schembechler of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the 91st Rose Bowl Game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2005 in Pasadena, California.    (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

If you've never heard it, you are missing out on one of the greatest locker room speeches ever given in college football.  For Michigan fans, it seems to be a new mantra.  Bo's speech is emphatically "Michigan Man"-esque.  He talks about accomplishing something for your team—for your school—before worrying about your contract in the pros.

He would be disappointed in Troy Woolfork's remarks about Tate Forcier.  Bo seemed to view commitment to the team as one commandment short of the 10 Commandments or the Golden Rule. 

To Michigan fans, this can be translated into respect for a coach of the team simply because he or she is part of the Michigan family, and you don't call out your family for anyone—for the press, especially.  This may have been why Bo was so deeply committed to Lloyd Carr.  To Bo, it didn't matter who the coach of Michigan was, as long as he embodied the Michigan maxim of "the team" coming first.

For Michigan fans, this could be a very enlightening mode of thinking.  Today's tendency is to gossip at the slightest of private failures; to crucify those who fail publicly.  It is the reason a great man such as Lloyd Carr left Michigan, and it may be the same reason Coach Rodriguez never gets his full chance to turn the Michigan football program into a 21st century program.

So, Michigan faithful, recite the mantra of "the team" this year during stressful times or times where weak character tries to prevail.  Guaranteed, if you do, you will want to encourage not only your fellow Michigan Men, but also those trying to become one of you.


"The Team"

- Bo Schembechler

"We want the Big Ten championship and we're gonna win it as a Team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there's gonna be one Team that's gonna play solely as a Team.

No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here.

You will never play for a Team again. You'll play for a contract. You'll play for this. You'll play for that. You'll play for everything except the team, and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team. We're gonna win it. We're gonna win the championship again because we're gonna play as team, better than anybody else in this conference, we're gonna play together as a team.

We're gonna believe in each other, we're not gonna criticize each other, we're not gonna talk about each other, we're gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it's gonna be Michigan again, Michigan."


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