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Former Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr Passes on Statue Issue, But Says 'That Was Not the Joe Paterno I Knew'

on July 21, 2012 9:25 PM

Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had a remarkable 9-2 record against former Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

Carr compiled a 122-40 record in 13 seasons with the Wolverines and captured five Big Ten Conference titles and a national championship before resigning under pressure after the 2007 season.

Ironically, It was Paterno who recommended that then-Michigan athletic director Joe Roberson hire Carr as the program’s head coach in the fall of 1995.

Prior to being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame Saturday night, Carr declined to speculate on whether Paterno’s statue should be removed after the release of the findings of the 267-page Freeh report.

You may recall, former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden recently said the Paterno statue should be taken down. The decision of whether or not to remove it remains in the hands of Penn State President Rodney Erickson, who is expected to make a decision by Monday.

“It’s really a hard issue for people who knew him from this standpoint: Nobody, nobody defends what happened to those kids,” Carr told reporters in South Bend, Ind. “And the jury spoke to that.

“But you know the environment is such that a lot of people find that very difficult to say anything positive, you know. And that was not the Joe Paterno I knew.”

Citing emails and handwritten notes, former FBI director Louis Freeh concluded Paterno, another College Football Hall of Famer, intervened to stop a plan by high ranking Penn State officials Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz to report a 2001 allegation against Jerry Sandusky to child-welfare authorities.

Sandusky, the Nittany Lions’ one-time defensive coordinator, was charged last month with 45 counts related to child sex abuse.

“We can all hope that those kids who are now men that they receive some justice, as much as they can because what they endured was beyond comprehension,” Carr said.

Penn State is facing possible severe sanctions from the NCAA. Some have even suggested the Nittany Lions should receive the death penalty.

“They’d better get it right,” Carr said. “What that is, I don’t know.”

Carr was asked by the Detroit Free Press on Friday how he would remember Paterno following the Sandusky scandal.

“I think you have to try to separate the two. I knew Joe as a competitor on the football field and in the meeting rooms down through the years,” Carr said. “He was a larger than life figure.

“So I think to see his legacy be tarnished certainly, and maybe worse, is not something that anyone who knows him feels good about.”

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