Tag:Dave Brandon
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am
 

Harbaugh 'highly unlikely' to go to Michigan?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen
 
At this point, it's the worst-case scenario for Michigan and Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon: let Rich Rodriguez twist in the wind for a month in the hopes of potentially landing Jim Harbaugh, watch Rodriguez's team get buried -- again -- in their bowl game, see recruits (and huge swaths of the fanbase) jump ship as the bulk of the free world assumes RichRod is a fired coach walking, watch Harbaugh destroy Virginia Tech in Stanford's bowl game as an indication of what the Wolverines would ge getting ... and then, finally, after all that, have Harbaugh tell his alma mater he's not interested after all.

But that's exactly the scenario Detroit Free-Press columnist Michael Rosenberg has laid out for the Wolverines, reporting that a source "with direct knowledge of Harbaugh’s thinking" has told him that the Orange Bowl champion is "highly unlikely" to accept an offer to become the new Michigan head man:
Harbaugh plans to decide this week whether he wants to take a job in the NFL. If he stays in college coaching, he has decided he will stay at Stanford, where he has built a potential powerhouse. It would take an extreme change of heart for Harbaugh to end up in Ann Arbor, according to the person, who did not want to be identified because Rich Rodriguez is still U-M’s coach.
If you're Stanford, it's time to do some cartwheels, since the assumption for nearly the entire bowl season has been that if Michigan didn't poach him away, some NFL suitor would. For the Cardinal to still be a serious option for Harbaugh at this late stage would be something of a victory in and of itself.

But if you're Michigan, well, whatever the opposite of a cartwheel is (pantomiming bashing one's own head with a hammer?), it's time to do that. If Rosenberg's source is accurate, the Wolverines are left in an almost untenable position; they either let Rodriguez coach (and recruit, or, more accurately, fail to recruit) another year with the guillotine publicly perched over his head, or they enter into a full-on coaching search with lots of other attractive candidates already spoken for and less than a month to go until Signing Day.

By waiting until after the bowl games, Brandon has essentially put all his eggs into Harbaugh's basket. If Harbaugh returns that basket with a note saying "thanks, but no thanks," Rodriguez's rocky tenure might only be the start of the Wolverines' misery.

Posted on: January 3, 2011 10:56 am
 

Dee Hart decommits as sharks circle Rodriguez

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The writing may not be on the wall yet for Rich Rodriguez, but by this point, the guy on the ladder with the black paintbrush in his hands may as well get to work whether Dave Brandon has told him to or not.

An utterly miserable weekend for the Wolverine head coach wrapped up yesterday with the news that the jewel of Rodriguez's 2011 recruiting class, running back Demetrius Hart, had decided to back out of his commitment to Michigan. (Though Hart maybe hasn't made it officially official yet, it's hardly any kind of a secret at this stage.) Multiple credible reports state that Hart will be pledging to Alabama instead at this week's U.S. Army All-American game.

Keep in mind that Hart isn't just the highest-ranked prospect in this year's Wolverine; he's a top-100 recruit to mutliple recruiting services (though Maxpreps' Tom Lemming is less enthused , and ranks Hart as just the No. 11 running back, behind another Michigan commit, Justice Hayes), a consensus four-star recruit, and the potential answer at a position where the Wolverines received adequate-at-best production this season. In other words, he might also have been the best, most important recruit of Rodriguez's entire tenure ... and now he's gone. (Dee-committed, we might say.)

But it wouldn't be accurate to say Hart's departure is the final nail in the coffin. More likely, it's the latest, maybe clearest sign we've gotten that that nail has already been driven in. Yesterday we saw a coach who led his team onto the field for a bowl game the night before leave for another program the very next day; if we see the same tonight and tomorrow with Jim Harbaugh, though, it won't come as nearly as much of a shock as it did with Randy Edsall.




Posted on: December 11, 2010 11:43 am
 

Brady Hoke would leave San Diego for Michigan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke was mentioned quite a bit as a candidate for the Minnesota job before the school decided to hire Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill.  Hoke had interviewed with Minnesota AD Joel Maturi in San Diego at the job before deciding to stay in southern California and sign a two-year contract extension at the school.  Though just because Hoke signed an extension, that doesn't mean there isn't one job he would leave the school for this winter if it became available to him.

Even his school president knows that.  SDSU President Stephen Weber says that if the job at Michigan came open, he's almost certain that Hoke would leave his school for Ann Arbor if the job was offered to him.  And he's happy about it.

“If he were offered the opportunity, I have got to believe there is no way we can compete with that,” Weber told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And I kind of like the fact we have a coach who (would be) in play for a place like the University of Michigan. C’mon, this is a good thing.”

Weber says he's known this since he hired Hoke.  He said during the interview he asked Hoke how he saw San Diego State fitting into his career arc, and Hoke told him that the arc ended at Michigan.

Of course, whether that Michigan job comes open or not, we don't know yet, as Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said he's going to wait until after the bowl game to make a decision on Rich Rodriguez.  Plus, there's the question of whether or not Jim Harbaugh would be interested in taking the job, because you have to think that he would be the school's first choice.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:33 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 2:55 pm
 

Michigan players enthusiastically support RichRod

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It doesn't happen all that often -- usually college football players are fully behind their coach come bowl-less hell or high water -- but occasionally when a head coach comes under fire, the lukewarm response from the players (or even more rarely, outright hostility, as in the case of Mike Leach at Texas Tech) gives away the fact that even they aren't really sold on the coach being retained.

Given their comments this week , it's safe to say the situation at Michigan with the beleagured Rich Rodriguez is not one of those times. Junior wideout Darryl Stonum:
"I love my coach ... I committed to Coach (Lloyd) Carr and Coach Rod came in. Coach Rod treats us like his own kids. Like Denard (Robinson) said in his MVP speech, we're all brothers and we're all family. I'd be pretty devastated if anything happened."
That's one thing. But maybe the best indication of how badly the Wolverines want A.D Dave Brandon to keep Rodriguez at the helm is Ryan Van Bergen' s defense of his coach's now infamous Josh Groban -soundtracked appeal at the team banquet. Van Bergen:

The pressure he's subjected to, especially over the course of his three years here, I think he's been handling it with as strong a front as you could possibly have. I think it was really appreciated by some of the seniors. That was directed toward them. The guys who stuck around -- there's not too many of them -- they were his closest supporters."

As for some public ridicule, Van Bergen said: "He wasn't doing that for them."

Bear in mind that even Groban himself thought RichRod's banquet presentation went too far in the direction of corny. If his players are willing to not only look past but even embrace that kind of decision, give Rodriguez credit: they really will follow him anywhere. That won't do as much for him as beating Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl or, say, not losing quarterback commitments to Wake Forest, but it's something.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Stanford offers Harbaugh raise; will he accept?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That Stanford finished fourth in the final BCS standings, grabbing a lucrative automatic berth to the big-money bowls, is already a tremendous accomplishment. It's all the more tremendous, however, when you remember where the Cardinal were when Jim Harbaugh was hired: coming off of a 1-11, last-place season under Walt Harris, his two year reign of error coming on the heels of the equally disastrous three-year, 10-23  Buddy Teevens era. Stanford had gone five years without a winning record or bowl berth, and after years of poor recruiting, had become simply overmatched against Pac-10 competition.

It's taken Harbaugh only four seasons -- each better than the last -- to position the Cardinal as perennial Pac-10 contenders, becoming the hottest name in college coaching in the process. There's never been any doubt that Stanford would have to offer him a substantial raise to keep him in the fold. So, yep, it didn't take long for Stanford to offer him a substantial raise :
"We have a proposal in front of Jim and he's indicated he plans to accept it," [Stanford athletic director] Bowlsby said Sunday. "He's got this year and four more on his contract. I expect that he will be our coach in the foreseeable future."
Whether anyone else expects the same will depend on whether or not an NFL team makes an overture to Harbaugh, or, even more importantly, Michigan decides to dismiss Rich Rodriguez. With Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon having stated he would not make a decision on Rodriguez until after the bowl, his alma mater may be placing Harbaugh in an awkward position; the 28 days between now and the Orange Bowl would be a long time for Bowlsby's new contract to sit on the table.

There wouldn't really be anything other than money -- money Michigan even might pay for him -- to keep Harbaugh from signing his new extension and departing for Ann Arbor anyway. But Harbaugh's reputation as a straight-shooter would seem to preclude him from that kind of bait-and-switch; if he signs the extension, he'll almost certainly be in Palo Alto next season. If he balks, it's going to be the clearest sign possible that he's going to want to hear what Brandon (or NFL Team X) has to say.

The ball, as the saying goes, is entirely in his court.


Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:48 pm
 

Navy athletic staffer shoots down Minnesota rumor

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, some rumors started floating that Minnesota had interviewed Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and considered him a finalist for the Gophers' head coaching spot. Unsurprisingly, the rumors were started by Tom Dienhart , who -- and we don't mean this as pejoratively as it probably sounds -- does this sort of thing a lot.

Well, Navy associate SID Scott Strasemeier is on Twitter, and caught wind of Dienhart's reporting. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.

"Tom, this is not true," Strasemeier replied to Dienhart. "Coach Niumatalolo has not interviewed with Minnesota nor have we been contacted for permission."

This isn't the first time that one of Dienhart's rumors has been shot down by a school official on Twitter; just last week, Dienhart's rumor about Rich Rodriguez 's imminent firing was dismissed by Michigan AD Dave Brandon in a tweet, although it's debatable whether RichRod did himself any favors on that front yesterday.

Still, between this and the Jon Gruden follies from earlier this week, it's demonstrably important to take any rumors of coaching hires or interviews with a grain of salt -- provided that grain is the size of an ottoman. Besides, if the school's conducting its business properly, its new coach's name won't be floated until the hiring's announced.

Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:57 am
 

Rich Rodriguez still wants to coach at Michigan

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Michigan held its annual banquet tonight, and while we were all tragically spared the awkwardness of Stanford coach (and potential next Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh attending to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Rose Bowl win at Michigan, the banquet provided its own special memories all the same.

As one might imagine, the chief headline-maker tonight was Rich Rodriguez, who was forced to speak on behalf of the team without knowing if he'd oversee another season at the helm of the Wolverines. Yes, he's at least got one more game with the team, as Michigan's headed to a bowl and AD Dave Brandon has insisted that RichRod's job will not be evaluated until the end of the year. But past that, who knows? Not even Brandon knows, in all likelihood, so it's certainly not worth listening to anybody who claims to have the answers already.

So it was up to Rodriguez to make his case for staying in Ann Arbor one last (socially acceptable) time, and while his decision to hold hands with his wife during a Josh Groban song probably came off as more awkward than anything else, his commitment to the program was never left unsaid.

"My name is Rich Rodriguez," he said at the end of the banquet. "I'm honored to be the head football coach at the University of Michigan. I hope you realize that I truly want to be a Michigan man. Thank you."

Now, a pedant would make hay out of the fact that Rodriguez said that he merely wants to be a "Michigan man" and not that he already is one, but rather than using that as proof that RichRod's not a good fit in Ann Arbor, we'll just point out that it's nice to see that he at least acknowledges that the title of "Michigan man" isn't self-appointed -- especially by someone who's spent three seasons with the program. Is that provincialism? Sure, but that's what just about every major college football program thrives on already, so at least RichRod's heart is ostensibly in the right place.

At the same time, whether Rodriguez plays inspirational songs in front of reporters or feels it necessary to deem himself a "Michigan man" or not probably pales in comparison to whether he fires Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator or not. PR campaigns matter only so much, especially when any regular Michigan fan can see RichRod's 15-21 record at Ann Arbor. The wins need to happen soon, and if the Wolverines can't win their bowl game this year, "next September" might not be soon enough for Michigan brass -- regardless of how much emotion Rodriguez showed at a team function tonight.

Posted on: December 1, 2010 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 1:33 pm
 

Harbaugh not attending Michigan banquet

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It looks like we're all going to miss out on what could have been one of the most awkward moments anybody could have hoped for this season.  As you're well aware, there are plenty of Michigan fans out there who would like to see Rich Rodriguez fired and replaced by former Michigan quarterback and current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh.  Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said repeatedly that he won't be making any decision on his head coach until after the bowl game, but he also hasn't exactly come to Rodriguez's defense either.

Which makes you wonder.

Still, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened at Thursday night's banquet to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Michigan's 1985 football team.  One that had Harbaugh as a starting quarterback.  Unfortunately, while the banquet is still taking place, Harbaugh will not be a part of it. He said as much during a conference call on Tuesday, saying that he can't make it because he'll be on a recruiting trip.

Which no doubt disappoints many Michigan fans and alumni.  It would have been a great chance for Brandon to speak to Harbaugh and get a feel for what he wants to do, though Harbaugh has said that he doesn't plan on talking about any other jobs than the one he already has.

Of course, if I had a dollar every time a college football coach said he wasn't going to talk about another job, and then ended up accepting another job, I'd have at least enough money to take the woman to a fancy dinner at Burger King.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com