IMO, since Bo left, UM has often looked not at the strength of its leaders but their weaknesses. So, it has often chosen opposite, new leaders who lack these weaknesses, but who often also lack the strengths of their predecessors. And that has led to serious problems.
Consider first coaching. UM went from the defensively-principled, tough-as-nails Bo to the offensively-minded Moeller. But Moeller was perceived to have an alcohol problem, which he reportedly refused to get help for. So (regardless of the truth or falsity of this perception), UM turned to a man they perceived as more principled and intelligent Carr. Yet, when Carr’s record began to plateau, he was called too old and predictable. So, UM turned to the inventive spread-coach, RR. But his defensive incompetence then made UM go the opposite way. So, now UM is back to a defensive-minded but offensively disorganized Hoke.
In choosing its AD, UM also has seemed to choose each succeeding leader as the opposite of his predecessor. For example, under the cloud of scandal, the aggressive fund-raiser, Roberson was replaced as AD by his opposite: the less profit-minded, more flamboyant and humanistic Goss. Then, after Goss led the UM AD to the brink of financial ruin, UM chose the opposite once again: a quiet, out-of-touch financier named Martin. Ill-equipped for the myriad public relations disasters during the hiring and demise of RR, however, Martin himself was then also was replaced by a dramatically different type of AD: the publicity-seeking brand-maker Brandon. His public relations campaign seemed to work wonders at first. But the obsession with publicity and profit ended up making UM look far worse.
So what can we learn from the past forty years of UM’s athletic leadership choices? Most clearly they have taught us what not to do—that is, just choose the opposite type of leader from the one you have now. It does not work for very long. Why? When you choose a leader, he fills his program or department with one type of student or employee. But if you then fire him and choose just the opposite type of leader, there is no growth in the program. It is like putting matter together with anti-matter. If they collide, what do you get? They annihilate each other in a violent explosion. In an organization, that means turnover, disorganization, and chaos.
So, no matter how angry we feel sometimes, we should learn from past experience. We should recognize not just the bad in our past leaders and seek their opposites. We should also recognize the good in our past leaders, then search for new ones with their best characteristics. The toughness of Bo, the fire of Moeller, the inventiveness of RR, the intellect of Carr, the likeability of Hoke. The decision about whom we should choose now I leave to others, who are far more knowledgeable than me.
But IMO, only if we seek to see the Best in our own past Leaders can we hope to find the new Leaders and Best.
There is a fairly long article over at the Ohio website 11 Warriors on The tale of Rodriguez and Hoke. There isn't much new there. In summary, the author speculates that the difference was in 3 things:
- Institutional support. Hoke: yes. RR: no.
- Michigan Man culture. Hoke gets it, RR never did.
- Defense. Mattison: good. Gerg: beyond awful.
None of this is new to loyal mgoblog readers. However, I was struck by two things. First, it seemed odd that 11 Warriors would care that much. Whatever. Secondly, I found the following comment interesting, and one I have only heard rumored:
My childhood best friend in fact played for Michigan under Carr and then RichRod. Through that relationship I have befriended some of his friends who were teammates of his, some of whom played for all three coaches. Outside of what was mentioned in the article they all emphasized was that by and large the players didn't like RichRod, and had no drive to win for him. Things were great for the first 5-6 weeks of the seasons when they were winning, but once the losses started piling up many players just started counting down the weeks until the season was over.
I had heard rumblings of this last Fall, but never this direct. To say "by and large the players didn't like RichRod" is a pretty strong statement. For all I know, this is still a rumor. There really isn't any substantiation on the facts. I'd be interested to hear more on this. Actually, on second thought, I really don't care. RR is gone. Hoke is tremendous. Let sleeping dogs lie, and don't beat dead horses. But if any of you happen to know more, please put something up about it, if you can.
I just want to give a quick comment on what a great bunch of recruits you brought in during your short stay here. Most of the kids stayed when it would have been easy for them to bale because they didn't necessarily fit the new scheme. We have a lot of talent coming back next year which would be your first full recruiting classes senior/rs junior year and I look forward to great things from them.
Hoke and Mattison took your young D and helped shape and mold them into a very good defense. Seniors congratulations you finally got the type of season you expected when you committed to the University of Michigan. Go Blue!
Per the Intrawebnets and the Twitter-sphere-verse:
3&O has left me outraged at the pathetic levels to which some at Michigan stooped to scuttle RichRod's program ( and didn't care that that meant scuttling the program as well). But here are some counter points:
1. Three separate universities have somehow screwed over Rich Rod and none of it was his fault ( Clemson not giving him the HC job, WVU and UM). I am a 2 sides to a coin guy and find this hard to believe.He does not seem like the kind of guy that can look inwards and learn from his mistakes. I think the bunch of folks he hangs out with re-inforce the "everybody is out to get us" mentality.
2. Loyalty to Tony effing Gibson (JT Floyd and D.Warren ought to send him a giant finger for christmas every year)
3. GERG (aargh I cannot believe this clown has Michigan on his resume now)
and finally the point of this post...that quote Rod gave about Vince Lombardi...how does that sound now? I guess it only took Greg Mattison to coach these guys up to be a top ten defense! And he had only one spring and fall practice to do it with. Imagine if we had Vince Lombardi!
Hoke Uber Alles
Reading through the coverage on Penn State, I realize how much we have to be thankful for at MIchigan. The practice hours debacle, the coaching debate, all of it, pales in comparison to Sandusky and PSU.
For that matter, what Tressel and TP and everyone else at Ohio did doesn't even begin to compare to Sandusky and Penn State. (I suppose they're relieved in Columbus: "Finally!! something big enough to take the focus off of us! ESPN will leave us alone now!!")
It struck me, how would I feel if this tragedy had happened at Michigan? What about Ohio? Or even Michigan State?
The Fab Five scandal, practice gate, coaching change from RR to Hoke, Moeller's resignation, they all fade in comparison.
I really feel bad for Penn State fans. How do you recover from something like this? Your honor, your reputation, are in ruins and tatters, all gone.
It has been hard reading Three and Out. You feel as if our dirty laundry is out in public, and that the infighting and pettiness is revealed for the world to see. However, the scrutiny from Bacon and the book are like a walk in the park compared to the proctological exam PSU is going to go through.
We have an awful lot to be thankful for!