Big Event at Ford Field in Detroit




DETROIT —  “Make no mistake, you are fortunate to be here representing Purdue University and Western Michigan University Savor every minute,” said former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr.  He was addressing the Christmas Day luncheon participants as part of the of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl team activities.  Carr’s heartfelt talk to the college football players brought a standing ovation.  Emcee Will Tieman and LCPB exec Ken Hoffman and WMU head coach Bill Cubit and Purdue head coach Danny Hope kept their remarks short and it allowed Carr to reminisce with Bo Schembechler anecdotes. 


Retired University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr speaks to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl participants during a Christmas Day luncheon in Detroit
Photo by John Lenihan

Carr really reached the audience.  He told of lessons learned and taught by his mentor and friend.  A pin could have been heard dropping to the floor in the hushed Sound Board entertainment arena when he told how Schembechler addressed the Wolverines in 2006 before an important Ohio State game.  Again he repeated to the LCPB opposing players, „Remember how fortunate you are to be representing Purdue University and Western Michigan University.”   


The hospitality of the Motor City Casino and Hotel was noted especially the exquisite holiday turkey luncheon that the participating teams devoured.  The Executive Chef along with the servers were toasted at our table as it was noted by many that they gave up their Christmas day so that the Western Michigan and the Purdue travel parties could have a special meal.  Each team showcased short videos of season highlights.


Carr got another rousing round of applause when Hoffman referred to the recent induction of Coach Carr into the College Football Hall of Fame.  After the meal, Purdue was off to a workout at Ford Field and Coach Cubit brought tall offensive lineman and junior Dann O’Neil to talk to Coach Carr.  O’Neil from Grand Haven, Michigan transferred from Michigan to WMU.  Carr was overjoyed to see the big lineman and marveled how much he had grown, now at 6’8” and 308.


Side stories filled the conversations as Greg Hacius retold how he almost attended high school in Hamtramck for football and showcased his 1970 Nebraska national championship ring to luncheon companions.  Old time Detroit area Polish-American sports tales were in abundant order as were menus of past Wigilia dinners brought questions and ambassadorial explanations.    


Both teams were scheduled to participate in a bowling and pizza extravaganza at the 90 lane Thunderbowl in Allen Park, Michigan It is one of the most popular events of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl experience.  


The game will be televised on Tuesday, December 27, at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN HD.