College football coaching legend and NMU alumnus Lloyd Carr will be the 2024 American Heart Association's Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The honor is given to college football's finest coaches, recognizing their outstanding achievements and extraordinary contributions on and off the field. Carr was a star quarterback at NMU, leading the Wildcats to an undefeated season in 1967. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master of arts in education in 1970, and was inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame. His 13-year coaching stint at the University of Michigan included the 1997 National Championship, five Big Ten titles and four consecutive Bowl game wins.
The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented during the annual Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Awards ceremony on Jan. 10 in Houston, Texas. The American Heart Association presents this award annually to celebrate Bryant's legacy and raise awareness and critical funds for research to eradicate cardiovascular disease and stroke, leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983, just 28 days after his final victory and retirement.
Carr amassed a 122-40 overall record at the University of Michigan and led the Wolverines to six 10-win seasons. He was inducted into the state of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2011.
A native of Hawkins County, Tenn., Carr played quarterback for Riverview Community High and led the Pirates to a 1962 conference championship. He played baseball and football at the University of Missouri and then joined the NMU Wildcats.
After eight seasons of coaching at the high school level, Carr's collegiate career began with two seasons as an assistant at Eastern Michigan University, followed by two seasons as an assistant at the University of Illinois. In the fall of 1980, he arrived at the University of Michigan to work under head coach Bo Schembechler. Carr led the team's defensive secondary for his first seven seasons in Ann Arbor before moving into the defensive coordinator role, where he remained until being named head coach in 1995.
The Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award, now in its 39th year, is given based on three areas of criteria as determined by the Bryant family and the National Sports Media Association:
- Integrity both on and off the field above reproach,
- Leadership, dedication and developing the character, integrity and sportsmanship of young people on and off the football field, and
- Inspiration and instruction in the development of skills of the game and physical fitness in their players.
Carr joins a list of college football coaching greats that includes Bob Stoops (2023), John Robinson (2022), Howard Schellenberger (2021), Bill Snyder (2020) and Frank Beamer (2019) among those honored most recently.
In total, five coaches will be recognized at the Bryant Awards Ceremony. In addition to Lifetime Achievement, awards will also be bestowed for Heart of a Champion, Fan Favorite, the Newcomer Coach of the Year and the 2023 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year.