Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coaching Carousel: RichRod Fired, and no false alarm this time



This is an update to the story posted yesterday. Scroll down for the latest.

The Coaching Carousel, 2010-11 Edition, could begin spinning in overdrive as early as this evening, as current Michigan Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez is set to meet with Athletic Director David Brandon this afternoon.

It has not been a harmonious tenure at the Big House in Ann Arbor, where some of his own players went public with alleged NCAA violations regarding excessive training and illegal practices. 

These kinds of things can be overlooked if the team is winning. But RichRod’s record at UM is 15-22 overall and 6-18 in the Big TenlevenTwelve. 0-3 against Ohio State.

Via a report at USAToday’s CampusRivalry blog:

Michigan will have a decision about the future of coach Rich Rodriguez on Tuesday. Rodriguez is set to meet with athletic director David Brandon this afternoon to talk about his job status, according to (LINK DOWN).

The website also is reporting that Wolverines players will learn of the decision at a 7 p.m. ET meeting.

Brandon said after Michigan's loss to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl that he would be completing his evaluation of the program under Rodriguez at some point this week.

Some high profile Bowl Division jobs have already been filled. Miami hired Temple’s Al Golden to lead the Hurricanes. Colorado hired alumnus Jon Embree to coach the Buffs.  Pitt hired—then fired—Mike Haywood after his arrest on domestic violence charges. Florida hired one-time Texas coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp to replace Urban Meyer and Vanderbilt stole offensive coordinator James Franklin from Maryland. Add that to the slew of NFL jobs opening, and the carousel is already spinning fast.

But Michigan is one of the top jobs in the country, much like Alabama, USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma. This is a big boy job and if RichRod is canned—as many suspect he will be—the domino effect on coaching changes across the country could be paradigm shifting.

Speculation has swirled that Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh—a Michigan Alumnus—might be tempted to leave the Cardinal if “Mama called.” But the Detroit Free Press says “not so fast, my friend!

Another Michigan Alumnus is out there, though. And this one has championship credentials to go along with his quirky personality. That’s LSU’s Les Miles—the hat wearing, grass-eating, BCS Championship winning coach that took over the Bayou Bengals when Nick Saban left for Miami and NFL bucks.

Stay tuned, sports fans.

UPDATE: Fox 2 News is reporting that Rich Rodriguez has been fired from the University of Michigan. Staff - Sources tell Fox 2 that Rich Rodriguez was fired as head coach of the University of Michigan football team Tuesday.

The decision came just three days after his team suffered the worst bowl loss in school history, a 52-14 trouncing at the hands of Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.

Rodriguez was 15-22 during three seasons in Ann Arbor. He lost a school-record nine games in his debut with the Wolverines two years ago, was 5-7 after starting 4-0 last season and turned a 5-0 start into a 7-5 finish this fall.

The Wolverines were also 1-10 against ranked teams and were 0-3 against rivals Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin during Rodriguezs tenure.

Athletic Director David Brandon would not immediately name a replacement.

Rumors have swirled that Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, a former Wolverine quarterback, and San Diego States Brady Hoke, a former U-M coach, are on the list of possible candidates.

Additional updates as they become available.


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Update II: The Wolverine says that the Fox 2 story is premature, and that the team meeting scheduled for tonight at 7:00 pm has been rescheduled for tomorrow.  The plot thickens…

Update III: This time, it’s official. Rich Rodriguez has been fired.


@chengelis is the Twitter account linked to the Detroit News Michigan Beat.

Solid source, so it looks like it’s for real this time.

Update IV: A close friend, booster and graduate of LSU tells me that Les Miles is not interested in moving back to U Mich because the Big House has artificial turf. #rimshot

Update V: Here’s the Associated Press account of Rodriguez’ dismissal.

Update VI: Adam Rittenberg of ESPN explores the possible replacements—and the obstacles they face. I found this quote interesting:

Both Miles and Hoke have the Michigan ties that Rodriguez lacked, but I'm not crazy about either one as the next Wolverines coach. Miles has too many red flags with clock management and other areas, and while Hoke has done masterful work in turning around both Ball State and San Diego State, he's unproven at the highest level. Miles certainly can recruit and his defenses have been strong, which would be a plus for the Wolverines.


Team Jerseys

Update VII: I caught most of David Brandon's presser this morning. A few key points:

  • He is convinced that he has NO SHOT at getting Jim Harbaugh. Said he personally believes JH is headed to the NFL.
  • The next coach doesn't have to be a "Michigan Man," but he does need to understand what this place is all about.
  • No search committee--says he has more than enough advice in this job.
  • Said RichRod was evaluated on a variety of factors, including on-field competition, recruiting and university image. Ouch on the last one...
  • They are DELAYING official recruiting visits for this weekend. Makes sense, since RR's entire staff was dismissed.
  • Said that firing in December would hurt recruiting.

The last one puzzled me. Firing in December means getting a coach before the bowl season ends, which means you don't compete with the NFL for the top candidates. I firmly believe that if Domino's Pizza boy had canned RichRod after the OSU game, he might have had a shot at Harbaugh.

Now he's stuck with a whole bunch of second choices.


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