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Legendary coach offers good advice

It’s not every day you get the opportunity to talk to a football coaching legend like Lloyd Carr.

Carr, the former University of Michigan head coach, spent a total of 28 years with the Wolverines football program before retiring in 2008. His last 13 years came as head coach and he is best known for guiding the Wolverines to a share of the 1997 national championship.

Carr also just happens to be the stepfather of ConVal’s football coach Ryan McCartney.

So on Thursday, after Carr spoke with the team on the eve of its season opener against Lebanon, I picked his brain about the game that has been such a huge part of his life and what he told the ConVal players.

“I told them to have fun. When they come off that field, they want to come off standing tall and proud that they played the best they could,” said Carr.

And there is little question that Carr knows a thing or two about football.

He coached some of the best college football players in the country, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and finished his career third all-time at Michigan with 120 wins.

But after retiring, Carr no longer delivers his inspirational pregame speeches on a weekly basis. Now he does it just once a year, exclusively for ConVal.

Prior to McCartney’s first game at the helm last August, the new coach asked his football mentor to address the team. Following Carr’s talk, the Cougars went on to defeat Merrimack.

While it did not translate to another win this year, as ConVal fell 34-0 to Lebanon, Carr always enjoys the opportunity.

“It’s an honor that he asked me again,” said Carr.

It also brought up memories from his coaching days and said he was glad to speak with the players. He knows just how important these times can be in a young man’s life.

“It’s great fun because it takes me back to when I first played,” said Carr.

With 26 new varsity players on the roster, Carr spoke to the 2013 Cougars about enjoying the moment and not dwelling on a bad play.

“I just tried to remind them that there are going to be a lot of mistakes and a lot of good things and ways to improve as a player, regardless of what happened on the last play. Just play the next play to the best of your abilities,” said Carr.

Carr, who coached high school football for seven years, said he will come back each year to address the team as long as McCartney will have him.

Something tells me McCartney will have no issue with that.

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