The Rich Rodriguez era at West Virginia ended early Sunday afternoon, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
In an early afternoon meeting with his football team, Rodriguez announced he was leaving to become the head coach at Michigan.
Rodriguez walked into a scheduled 1:30 p.m. meeting with his team and emerged 10 minutes later without comment and walked briskly back to his office. Shortly thereafter the players began to file out of the meeting room, somber-faced and generally without comment.
Rodriguez reportedly met with Michigan officials this past Friday in Toledo, Ohio.
Bill Martin! I kiss you!
Update: WBOY has it, too.
Update: Detroit News article; Free Press article; NYT -- not exactly a rock of journalistic credbility -- has an article from the ur-spread QB that's tantalizing. Joe Schad is reporting on ESPN News that Rodriguez will not coach WVU in the Fiesta Bowl.
Safety note: if it doesn't subside in another hour or two, you should call the doctor.
The last hour has seen a wholesale reversal on WVU message boards about the Rich Rodriguez situation. EERHole changes course, albeit not definitively:
From my EERHole to yours. . . Part V
The rest of the board is either getting slammed with trolls or stuff is leaking out all over the place. Bob Lichtenfels at Scout is also reporting Rodriguez to Michigan based on a phone call from OMG shirtless mobile QB recruit Terrelle Pryor. I think this might be done.
RR is staying. He met with Eddie P earlier and issues have been resolved. Unless some other issue arise, he will be the coach at WVU next year. RR has a long way to go to restore my trust. But, the first step is the biggest.
Guy was dead on twice earlier; I see no reason to doubt something so unequivocal.
Update: Charleston Gazette:
"I met with him twice [Saturday]," Pastilong said of Rodriguez. "That's about all I can say. We talked about general issues within the football program."
Pastilong predicted "we'll know something very fast" in regard to Rodriguez's decision.
Further confirmation from this perspective.
"Typical West Virginia fan" at the moment. Michigan fans will return to that state if (when) this falls through.
Rodriguez did have that press conference today. The full extent of the coaching stuff:
"It may be disappointing to you, but I'm not going to talk about any rumors or innuendos or jobs or whatever else is floating out there. I'm not going to talk about that at all," Rodriguez told reporters. "I'm not talking about anything other than this year's team, this season and this year's bowl preparations."
When pressed, Rodriguez told reporters "You all have not understood what I just said. One more question and unfortunately this conference will end."
Pointed non-denial? Perhaps. This is an actual denial from RR's agent:
Mike Brown denied reports in Detroit media and "The Sporting News" saying his client met with Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman and athletic director Bill Martin. If so, Brown said, "That's news to me." Brown, who said he was in Atlanta despite reports that placed him in Toledo, said Rodriguez flew to Ohio to see a financial advisor.
Rodriguez apparently flew from Morgantown to Toledo on a chartered twin-turboprop plane around 8 a.m. yesterday and returned shortly after 5 p.m. -- the time of a scheduled meeting prior to the 11th-ranked Mountaineers' first, full Fiesta Bowl practice.
In terms of least plausible obvious lies, "he's seeing a financial advisor in Toledo" is up there with "I was advising them on possible non-Les Miles candidates." A Sporting News report says Michigan has received permission to talk to Rodriguez, probably about a long-term adjustable rate mortgage.
EERHole chips in:
This is still very much in the air. RR is conflicted and there are several issues at play. My sources say that no decision has been made as of yet. But, it is under serious consideration. It is not the lure of Michigan which concerns me - the issues with RR are more personal than that. Certain relationships are not what they should be and others will never be the same. The influences of RRs decision-making process concern me. My stance remains the same - I am done with him, regardless.
There's also another guy on that board who the rabble cries out for when news is going down named Mexman; his take:
As of late last evening (early this morning) he was leaning toward staying. I am no longer emotionally invested in this man.
He is ignoring those that he owes something to... not us as fans/donors but the kids that he has CHOSEN to drag through the mud AGAIN.
His ego has alienated me beyond repair.
A slightly more detailed post in the EERHole thread:
The latest word from those closest to him are that he is leaning a bit toward staying. A slight bit.
FWIW. These guys seem to be bonafide, though.
During the basketball search this blog tracked the posts of a particular WVU insider on their free Scout message board like a hawk. His name is "EERHole" and he apparently earned his stripes during last year's WVU panic, during which he reassured the West F-ing Virginia masses that beloved RichRod was going nowhere. He was right.
We have the great fortune in this situation to be pursuing a coach from the same institution our basketball coach came from and thus have a well-formed idea of this guy's credibility. So wander over to the Scout message boards and see...
The word "meeting" would be an understatement of what is transpiring.
That's couched in standard Oracle of Delphi insider goo, but it's pretty negative. Also negative:
I am done with him. I started the season justifying last year's act as good for the overall welfare of the program. Then, his ego prevented us from going to the national championship game. As much as I wanted to bash him after USF and Pitt, I did not. Now, he should be thrown under the bus. It was his refusal to make adjustments that cost us the game - PERIOD. Yeah, our offensive line isn't as good, but a great coach would have done some things to help them out. And, for him to go tell recruits that our WRs couldn't get off of the line -- that is dissing his current players. Talk about loyalty. When RR first came to WVa, he would berate his assistant coaches after every loss as if it were all their fault. He personally has cost Slaton millions of dollars by his refusal to put him in a position to succeed. Rather, Slaton's plays were known runnnig plays. Don't give me the Pat White has to make a read bs either. Where was Schmitt during the last few games?
You probably won't hear too much from me about whatever transpires. I am a loyalist, apparently RR is not. There have always been rumblings that RR has thought he was better than WVa. I guess it is true. If for some reason he does not go, I don't want to hear any reason why he stayed. Home should be good enough and if he doesn't want to be here I say welcome to the new coach.
He's mad. No offense to EERHole, but a mad EERHole is a good EERHole from this perspective. Obviously not 100% -- sounds like this guy has heard about the seriousness of the talks and is put off by a second straight year of flirtation. However, it's a definite indicator this may get done.
If you care, the negativity from WVU, the buzz from a couple Michigan guys, and a kinda-insider email or two (nothing solid) has made me reconsider my earlier "no effin' way" stance. This now seems a real possibility.
Update: A previously reliable source, but just one, says this is very close to being done. FWIW. Given the way this has gone I'll believe it after the press conference.
1) Confirmation of Rodriguez' presence on the aforementioned plane has been acquired. Channel 4 will have it at 11.
2) Rodriguez blew off reporters; he'll undoubtedly be blitzed at a scheduled press conference tomorrow.
3) What a weird guy to come up: Rodriguez was a WVU player under Don Nehlen, a name that may not ring bells among Michigan fans of my age or younger. Nehlen, however, was a Schembechler assistant and retains ties to the program. So he's got a tenuous connection. However: Pac Man Jones, Chris Henry, etc. If there's a guy with obvious skeletons in the closet, it's Rodriguez, who's walked a fine line with guys of questionable character at WVU.
4) I wonder what Ryan Mundy thinks about all this?
5) There are two ways this can go: Michigan comes with a mediocre offer that includes administrative oversight and significant assistant retention -- as mentioned, I believe this was the deal with Miles and Schiano -- or they just say "hey... job?" If he accepts the job (assuming he even gets offered it) it'll be fascinating to see how this all shakes out.
6) About that if: still doubtful, IMO, for a number of reasons including personal ennui about program, Rodriguez' decision not to go for the 'Bama job, an obvious focus on JUCOs and academically questionable recruits, and more of that ennui stuff.
7) But... it has legs.