Alan Dell

Lloyd Carr knows about football battles and those against cancer

For eight years, Lloyd Carr was half of the fierce Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry that we heard doesn't take prisoners.

The former Michigan head football coach knows the pain of defeat that you feel when you walk away from one of the biggest rivalries in a losing cause.

He coached Michigan from 1995 to 2007, won five of his first six games against Ohio State and lost six of his last seven.

But nothing prepared Carr for the feelings that engulfed him when his 5-year-old grandson Chad Carr died of cancer in November. The enormity of the moment will be on display Friday night when Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh share the stage to help a cause that transcends football. Support from people around the country and the University of Michigan football family helped Carr and his immediate family get through the tough

times, and Jim Harbaugh was a big part of that.

"Jim has more energy than the law allows and I am glad he is using it to help in this fight against cancer," Carr said.

Urban and his wife created the Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer research, which dedicated to advancing cancer research for all cancers.

"Urban has done some unbelievable things in raising dollars and helping in the fight against cancer," Dick Vitale said.

"It's a great story that Urban and Jim, two fierce competitors, are here to help with this cause. We are going to have about 70 celebrities and they all pay their own way and for their own rooms, and many give us donations."

Chad Carr died of a rare brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which has no know cure and is underfunded in research money.

"Jim and the team were absolutely unbelievable. You could never ask anyone to do more than what Jim and his wife and the captains of the team have done," Carr said.

"Much of the time of Chad's illness they were in the football season. But still Jim donated a lot of his time to raising awareness and had an incredible impact."

Carr, his son Jason and daughter-in-law Tammi helped create the ChadTough Foundation, which raises money for pediatric cancer research.

"We are focusing on raising money. This is one of the diseases that hasn't received much in terms of research money because there are so many diseases and illnesses out there," Carr said.

The 70-year-old Carr won a national championship at Michigan and five Big Ten titles. Michigan finished each season but one under him ranked and he became the first head coach of the Wolverines to win four straight bowl games.

Carr said he is forever grateful how Harbaugh and his football program enabled Chad to pack so much into his short life, making him honorary captain for one game and inviting him to spend time at Bo Schembechler Hall.

After his retirement, Carr spent four years helping to build a new children's hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., which has attracted many of the top physicians from throughout the world.

He is still active in football and this year will serve on the the college football playoff selection committee that will choose the four teams that will compete for the national title.

He is in favor of the satellite camps that Harbaugh and other coaches want, saying it gives more football players around the country a chance to be recognized and receive a scholarship.

"Jim kind of started that. The biggest thing is that it gives a lot of kids an extra opportunity to perform in front of college football coaches. I think it's a good thing and it's going to be here for the foreseeable future," Carr said.

Harbaugh will hold a joint camp with USF head coach Willie Taggart and his staff in Florida in June.

Taggart, the former Manatee High quarterback and Western Kentucky All-American, has often been called Jim Harbaugh's little brother dating back to when Harbaugh recruited him for WKU,

Alan Dell, Herald sports columnist/writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports