RICH RODRIQUEZ IS FAR FROM A SLAM DUNK
Michigan finally has their coach and it’s Rich Rodriquez. I will say this; Michigan needs to beware the “expert from afar.” You may remember that premise sent forth by self-help guru Robert Ringer, who couldn’t sell himself or his goods locally, so he made himself the “expert from afar” and became a big shot. Michigan seemed to be consulting the experts from afar through this process, and were turned down left and right with the likes of Les ‘Mini Bo’ Miles, Kirk Ferentz, Greg Schiano, Sean Payton among those saying no thank you, so don’t let the Wolverines fool you, Rodriquez was far from Michigan’s top choice.
Michigan got Rodriquez to say yes, but in my opinion this is not a slam-dunk and perfect fit for the Wolverines for a number of reasons. First, Rodriquez is WVU alum that was hurt deeply after the booing he received after losing to Pitt, and because of the subsequent death threats that were made against WVU’s kicker Pat McAfee for missing two field goals. Understandably, it is not everyday you get to play for a National Championship and both sides were deeply hurt and angry. However, this means someone might end up with buyer’s remorse after the ink is dried. Rodriquez is deeply sensitive to criticism and you have to be thick skinned to coach the Wolverines and their rabid alumni. This meeting with UM AD Bill Martin and UM President Mary Sue Coleman may have been more reactionary for the WVU head coach more than anything else, and yet with criticism building, Martin and his staff threw caution to the wind to go after Rodriquez.
After turning down Alabama last year, several promises were allegedly made to Rodriquez
and were not kept. Some of those promises had to do with facility upgrades apparently, and it left some bad blood inside the athletic department with AD Ed Pastilong, and a guy a named Mike Parsons, who works in the athletic department as well. So if you throw in the flirtation with the Crimson Tide along with the broken promises, you have a wound that is still festering.
Secondly, there is a huge buyout of four million that won’t drop until August of 2008. When UM went raiding WVU last year for basketball coach John Beilein, WVU and Beilein were able to negotiate his 2.5 million dollar buyout down to a payout of 1.5 million to the WVU Foundation.
That likely won’t happen with Rodriquez because of the ill feelings created between him and WVU administrators. Last December WVU President Mike Garrison painstakingly worked on a one-year extension to 2013, came up with the huge buyout, but more importantly, spent $50,000 more dollars to help defer large amounts of the contract so it would not be a heavy tax burden on Rodriquez.
Another troubling aspect about Rodriquez is that he struggled to communicate with the WVU athletic department. The President, the athletic director, nor no one else knew he was in Toledo talking to UM officials. Also, after Bill Martin was criticized for asking permission to talk to Les Miles and being outflanked by LSU AD Skip Bertman, Martin has set a dangerous precedent by meeting on the sly first with Greg Schiano, and then Rich Rodriquez.
Frankly, Martin was being criticized for the wrong thing previously, and yet is now being praised for something that could be unethical. If Les Miles didn’t want to come to Ann Arbor, it would make no difference if Bill Martin were floating around on a boat waiting for the SEC Championship to conclude. However, what you don’t want to do is set a trend of meeting college coaches in dark alleys and coffee shops or wherever they met in Toledo, without the other school knowing about it, but that is what Michigan did.
Lastly, Rodriquez has been know to recruit less than stellar citizens to WVU and his resume mirrors that of John L. Smith in that they both have a 3-3-5 defense and use a spread, although John L. Smith passed the ball to attack, while WVU runs the ball out of their offense. Plus, Rodriquez has no recruiting base in the Midwest, and he has a reputation for losing the big game, which means more future losses against Jim Tressel and Ohio State.
Didn’t UM learn from MSU’s attempt with an expert from afar, the gimmicky offense, and the bandit? Apparently not. The lack of passing and halftime adjustments from Rodriquez have to concern the average UM fan as well. Michigan has the resources for Rodriquez to make a better run at UM, but only time will tell.
Clearly, the UM program missed Bo Schembechler during this search, and the steady behind the scene influence he wielded. The rabid alumni were demanding a big name, and after Bobby Petrino went to Arkansas, I joked with a friend and said, “Watch, in a couple days UM will have a big name they are courting on the front page,” and now we have Rodriquez as the new coach, which is almost laughable. I can almost imagine the rabid UM alums inundating Martin and Coleman with e-mails asking why Petrino is at Arkansas while UM doesn’t have a coach.
Sometimes… the expert from afar is not the guy to get the job done and maybe he is, who knows? Yet the Mountaineers were upset with yet another coaching flirtation with Rodriquez and didn’t seem to want to keep him either. Said one WVU message board poster prior to the hiring, “He needs to leave, he is dishonest, arrogant, and self-serving.” Hey, wait a second; maybe he is the perfect fit in Ann Arbor after all. LOL
Peace and go Spartans!
Hondo thinks that Coach Rod was a great hire for the Wolverines. He will have more on this later, but the above is simply my thoughts.