February 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

Terry Foster

Lloyd Carr can ease U-M's transition

Lloyd Carr, being congratulated by Kristina Marshall of Shelby Township, has been in touch with new Michigan coach Brady Hoke. (David Guralnick/The Detroit News)

Detroit Lloyd Carr is a Michigan man — and a Brady Hoke man. And those two factors will go a long way in keeping the peace within the Michigan football program.

Carr never will admit to this, but he is the closest thing to a godfather Michigan football has had since the death of legendary coach Bo Schembechler. His words and actions go a long way because he owns five Big Ten championships and a national title in 13 seasons at Michigan.

Carr loves the man who once told him as a Michigan assistant: "I want your job. Of course, after you leave."

Hoke is a Michigan man, unlike former coach Rich Rodriguez. And it's no secret that thrills Carr.

Carr was all smiles Wednesday when he was introduced as part of the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011 at the Detroit Historical Museum. The Downriver kid was proud to be part of a class that included former Steelers, Notre Dame and Detroit Mackenzie running back Jerome Bettis, Giants and Michigan State linebacker Carl Banks, Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins and former Lions great Dick LeBeau.

Smoother waters

Carr believes Michigan is headed in the right direction.

He's right, in part because there is no place to go but up.

But Carr plays a major part in the healing process in Ann Arbor. He plays the "Aw, shucks, I'm just another guy" routine, but Carr can smooth the waters if he chooses.

Fans, alumni and former players were angry when Rodriguez was hired — and it led to three tumultuous and unproductive seasons.

When Rodriguez was fired, there was a call to hire former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh or LSU coach and former Michigan assistant Les Miles.

Athletic director Dave Brandon went with Hoke.

And, you don't hear an outcry.

Why?

UnityCarr declined to comment about Rodriguez, and that is understandable.

It's time to turn the page.

"I am for (Hoke). I am for Michigan," Carr said. "And if I can help him … but I don't think he will need my help because he knows what he's doing."

Hoke and Carr will get together in the coming days. They set that up earlier Tuesday in just their third conversation since Hoke took over.

"He has been so busy," Carr said. "He has more important things to do than to talk to me."

Really?

Talking to Carr is still important. He may not have an office in Schembechler Hall, but he knows the lay of the land. He knows Michigan and Ohio, two recruiting battlegrounds Hoke must win.

"I think he is going to be a great recruiter," Carr said.

Carr is a Hoke man — and a Michigan man.

Most people don't know how important that is.

But, you can bet Hoke will mention it to Carr.

Class of 2011

The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2011 doesn't lack accomplishments — or longevity.

The inductees, announced Wednesday, include Jerome Bettis, Lloyd Carr, Carl Banks, Dick LeBeau, Carol Hutchins, Greg Meyer, John Spring and Ron Thompson.

Carr, Michigan's former football coach, enters the Hall after a 13-year career that produced a 122-40 record and national title in 1997.

Bettis, a Detroit native from Mackenzie High who played at Notre Dame, played 192 games in 13 NFL seasons with the Rams and Steelers before he retired in 2006 after Pittsburgh defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit.

Banks, a Michigan State All-American linebacker from Flint, played 11 years in the NFL for the Giants, Redskins and Browns. He was selected No. 3 overall by the Giants in 1984.

LeBeau won the Super Bowl twice as the Steelers defensive coordinator after playing 14 seasons for the Lions as a defensive back (1959-72).

Hutchins has been Michigan's softball coach since 1985. Her 2005 team won a national title, and she's captured 13 Big Ten titles and 11 Big Ten coach of the year honors.

Meyer, a Grand Rapids native, won the 1983 Boston Marathon in 2 hours 9 minutes. He also set 10 American Road Racing records and two world records.

Thompson led Detroit De Porres to eight state football championships. He died in 1994 at age 59. He coached at De Porres 21 years and was The News' coach of the year in 1989.

A Detroit native, Spring was a legendary fastpitch softball pitcher who was 483-62. He was inducted into the National Amateur Softball Hall of Fame in 1970.

terry.foster@detnews.com

(313) 222-1494

Eric Lacy

The Michigan Sports Hall of Fames Class of 2011 includes Jerome Bettis. (Chris Young/Associated Press)