Michigan's Jim Harbaugh says Bo Schembechler he knew never 'ignored' anything

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Big Rapids — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh remains supportive of his former coach, Bo Schembechler, who, according to a report commissioned and paid for by Michigan, was alerted to the sexually inappropriate behavior by former athletic department physician, Dr. Robert Anderson.

Bo Schembechler was Michigan's head football coach from 1969 to 1989.

Harbaugh, speaking to a small group of reporters Thursday at the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp at Ferris State University, was asked how the university should go forward in honoring the legacy of Schembechler, whose name is on the football building in front of which is a statue of Schembechler. Harbaugh grew up in Ann Arbor while his father, Jack, was an assistant coach at Michigan on Schembechler’s staff, and then played quarterback for Schembechler.

“I can tell you this: Bo Schemechler, there was nothing that I saw the times that I was a kid here, my dad was on the staff, or when I played here, he never sat on anything, he never procrastinated on anything,” Harbaugh said. “He took care of it before the sun went down. That’s the Bo Schembechler that I know. There was nothing that ever was swept under the rug or ignored. He addressed everything in a timely fashion. That’s the Bo Schembechler that I know.”

According to the report by the WilmerHale law firm, more than two dozen UM employees were alerted to Anderson’s inappropriate behavior and indicated they could have stopped the doctor who is accused of molesting more than 800 men. The 240-page report, released last month, concluded Anderson sexually abused patients, 90% of whom were men, on "countless occasions." 

Anderson is the former head of University Health Service, and later, team physician for the college's Athletic Department. He worked for UM from 1966 to 2003. He died in 2008.

Michigan is currently in mediation with about 850 accusers. 

According to the report, Schembechler was among those officials alerted to the misconduct. There was “always locker room talk” about Anderson, the report said.

The WilmerHale report is based on information from more than 2 million documents and 800 people including interviews with 300 former patients and 200 current and former UM employees. It also involved 2 million documents from the archives housed in UM's Bentley Historical Library. Investigators also retained experts.


Twitter: @chengelis