I did not make this headline up
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"It's flattering," [Coach] said ... "But this is not the right time for anyone to discuss anything other than us playing for a national championship.
"I can guarantee you I have made no inquiries about the University of Michigan job, and I have not been contacted."
No, not Les Miles. This guy:
A new name has surfaced in Michigan's search to replace Lloyd Carr. A source confirms that University of Delaware coach KC Keeler is being heavily considered to take over in Ann Arbor.
Keeler's Blue Hens take on Appalachian State this weekend in the I-AA Championship game. Prior to Delaware, the UD alum coached at Rowan College in New Jersey. His 2003 Delaware team won the national title.
Meanwhile, I have a source of my own who states Michigan is "talking to" Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin's about ten and is currently leading the Raiders to a miserable season in his first go as a head coach and seems a really iffy candidate, but hey, at least they're talking to people.
OFFENSE DATE: 12/08/07 740 PM
....COUNT 1 C/M/F: C 1320 ORD#10:1A/257.625A(2)PBT REFUSAL IN NON-CMV, 21 AND OVER
(Source: search for "Moeller" here.) At 7:40 PM on Saturday, Michigan offensive line coach Andy Moeller got pulled over for DUI. He refused a breathalyzer test.
What's going on? At this point, I don't know and I don't think anyone else does either. The last "reliable" piece of info to come in was the Miles conversation. Now that avenue seems truly dead, and yesterday's post on Grobe was based on internet buzz and little else -- sorry if I didn't make that clear. A few people are complaining about regular sources of information being completely in the dark, so I assume the "leakers will be shot" memo has gone forth to the high and mighty.
Now we enter the deeply crazy -- yes now we enter -- phase of the search, when the chastened AD starts running silent and a Miles-free rabble starts latching on to every name floated by sports talk radio.
An approximate timeline of events so far:
- Carr retires, claiming the timing of said retirement has nothing to do with helping or harming anyone's chances at the job.
- Kirk Ferentz is the first hot candidate. I still believe if he was willing to accept a paycut (and, possibly, Carrassistantpalooza) he'd be the coach and the search would have been brief. A few days after Carr retires, he's out again.
- Les Miles is now a "done deal" for about a week.
- ESPN and Kirk Herbsreit create the brief Miles-Tenuta era. Flowers sprout across the state. Wolves stop their eternal thirst for deer meat and sit down to have a nice cup of tea with representatives of the local ungulate population. GM announces six plant openings. Honda declares bankruptcy.
- Sailboat Bill Martin sails on sailboat as Frantic Telephoning Agent Guy frantically telephones Sailboat Bill.
- Miles announces he's staying at LSU. Flowers die. Honda buys ad space on Jennifer Granholm's forehead, tatoos "Suck It, America" on said forehead, crushes auto industry wholesale. Deer viscera everywhere.
- New hot candidate: Kirk Ferentz. That dies again.
- Actual new hot candidate: Greg Schiano, who reportedly turns down a contract offer comparable to the one he turned down from Miami last year. Reports that Schiano had tentatively accepted an offer before reversing course twist the knife.
- Another new old hot candidate: Miles, who has a conference call with Mary Sue Coleman and Martin.
- Miles shoots down hopes once more with a tersely-worded press release. Off camera, Skip Bertman holds a gun to his wife's head, Jack Bauer-style. Flowers die again. Toyota tatoos something unspeakable on Granholm's butt. Wolves start eating people.
So what now? Ferentz, Schiano, and Miles are off the table. There has been exactly one indication that Jeff Tedford is being considered and that wasn't from either Berkeley or Ann Arbor but Los Angeles. By all indications, Brian Kelly isn't even being considered. The three known interviewees: Debord, English, and Hoke.
This search no longer has a public direction, which is an improvement from a public fiasco but, given the whole fiasco thing, unsettling. If the search had been dark from day one, we could sit and wait and trust in Martin's ability to acquire Beilein and hold onto Rich Maloney and get the stadium renovation through. But Michigan has been exposed as prancing jackanapes; at this point fans should expect a detailed daily briefing from someone in the athletic department justifying everything they're doing to reassure us about the prancing. Slides make everyone seem competent.
This is not likely to happen.
What should happen: a bucket of money gets thrown at Tedford, and if that gets shot down Brian Kelly is brought in. Sadly, this is also not likely to happen. We have seen incompetency in this department from the fellows in South Bend and competency from the ones in Gainesville (check out this old article on the hiring of Urban Meyer); at this point there's little question which side of the fence we're on.
On the same day Bobby Petrino takes the Arkansas job, Jim Grobe becomes the hot name in the Michigan coaching search.
Weeks ago, Petrino's name kept popping up among college athletic directors looking for new coaches. I wrote that Petrino sniffed around the Michigan job to no avail. GM Rich McKay and Petrino both denied that he was actually pursuing open positions on the college level.
Why not Petrino? Inveterate job-hopper, guy you'd have to worry about from time to time if he's a success, which his track record at Louisville suggests he would be. Why not? Because you might have to endure the indignity of watching your coach entertain other job offers? Isn't this Michigan? Isn't this a place that should be good enough that other job offers don't matter?
And if it isn't, whose fault is that?
A blogging associate of mine found himself talking with a prominent assistant coach in the state of Florida who could not believe Greg Schiano turned the job down. "Insane" was the term used in our discussion. And, right: insane. This is the head coach of Rutgers, and even if he gets lucky and Joe Paterno retires before 2027 everything has to fall right for him if he's going to get the job. Bradley has to be passed over. He has to remain attractive enough to be the first choice. And Penn State's athletic department has to overlook strong internal candidates like JayPa.
For Schiano to turn the job down there has to be something wrong with someone. Maybe it's Schiano, but the preponderance of the evidence says otherwise.
Petrino asked about the Michigan job and could not get an interview. Brian Kelly is running around saying he can't guarantee he'll be back at Cincinnati next year but will not be considered for the job. Les Miles... well, we all know the fiasco that turned into.
I would like to believe in the magic of smokescreens, but when a phone call with Les Miles, Mary Sue Coleman, and Bill Martin that should remain secret hits WTKA, then here, then the Free Press the problem with the search is not its obscurity but its transparency. And it's transparent that Michigan is flailing, divided amongst itself, and rapidly running out of plausible options.
Brady Hoke is not a plausible option. Neither are Mike Debord, Ron English, or current future rejecter du jour Jim Grobe. But who else is there? Michigan is determined to eliminate anyone who's "off" in any way. Grobe is not off. This is Jim Grobe:
This is about perpetuating a culture. It is not about finding a good football coach. Anyone outside of that culture faces the daunting task of conforming to it instead of changing it, and that has driven off coaches even if it's "insane" not to take the job. Something is rotten in the state of Schembechler, and it will not yield the throne.
And what about Grobe, the coach? Old. No record of how well he recruits. Runs a crazy offensive system that may or may not translate to higher levels with (possibly) better talent. A huge, huge risk to anyone who has performance foremost on their mind. Obviously, this is not the case here.
Les Miles: Uh... hello?
Mary Sue Coleman: Hi, Les. It's Mary Sue Coleman. Let me patch in Bill Martin.
Bill Martin: (faintly) Hello? Hello?
BM: (faintly) Hello?
MSC: Turn the phone around, Bill.
MSC: YOU'RE SPEAKING INTO THE WRONG END OF THE PHONE.
BM: (louder) Oh.
MSC: Les, as you know, the University of Michigan is looking for a head coach. We would like any prospective candidates to have a strong understanding of the program's history, an established track record of success--
BM: -- and sailing experience --
MSC: -- as a college football head coach, and --
BM: -- any other sort of boating-type experience. Motor. Catamaran. You know. Water-type things.
MSC: and a strong rapport with his charges. Anyway, Les, you've just won the SEC, have a 36-6 record in three years at LSU, and are well loved by your program. You also lettered twice under Bo and love this program more than any other. So...
BM: ... do you know anyone that fits our criteria?
Miles: Uh... me?
BM: I didn't see any jib or mizzenmast experience on your resume.
Miles: Right. That's because I'm a football coach. I coach football.
BM: In fact, your resume made no reference to sailing whatsoever. So you're out, asshole.
MSC: I think what Bill is trying to say is that we would like to offer you--
BM: --the opportunity to tell us who might be our perfect candidate. Reminder: Michigan ties, success, sailing.
Miles: No, sorry. I don't know anyone who fits that criteria.
BM: Well screw you, buddy!
MSC: Bill... next time let me do the talking.
BM: Lloyd says Brady Hoke dresses up like Long John Silver on most Tuesdays. Let's hire him.