Tennessee is not recruiting well just because they got 18 dudes
A couple weeks ago, I put together a google map with all of the Michigan bars I'm aware of (and also everything from the spreadsheet that bouje has been maintaining.) The map is here.
Hopefully this will prevent the "where's the Michigan bar in Pittsburgh/Fresno/Topeka/wherever" threads that pop up every week, but if your favorite gameday hangout isn't on here, put it in the thread and let me know. I'll do my best to keep the map up to date.
This is separate from the diary that I've posted a couple days ago. Lance Zierlien is one of the better draft analyst in the business and his dad is the NFL OL coach. When it comes to OL evaluations, Lance is the most qualified out of the media draft analysts.
...days until Drew and David (assuming he isn't in jail) watch Michigan stomp Hawaii.
I figured a good way to end the day would be some real football talk. If you aren't familar with Bill Connelly's preview series, he takes a different team everyday starting in February and previews all 128 teams using S+P projections, roster, coaching, and recruiting ranks. Today the lucky team was team was Colorado who happens to our biggest non-conference opponent (thanks again Dave!). I am posting this preview because many of you probably don't know much about Colorado.
The TL;DR talking points:
- Small on defense and thin depth wise (/insert Mr. Burns excellent gif)
- Offense lacks explosive plays
- Everything on offense hinges on the health of Sefo Liufau (recovering from Lisfranc)
- The OLine is not good (/laughs maniacally)
- Secondary is veteran group and may be legitimately good
- Michigan has a 93% chance of victory and is projected to win by 25
The NCAA Assistant Coach salary chart has been released by USA Today. Their charts are always interesting and one of the more valuable things they bring to the table.
Durkin and Drevno were 2 and 3 in the B1G behind the OC at Maryland. The Terps didn't get their monies worth with that hire, but Saban thought enough of the guy to hire him as Offensive Analyst (whatever that is).
Northwestern is not included in the survey (private school) of course, but for some reason Penn State is not included. I would assume they are upper tier B1G in terms of pay.
It would behoove an assistant to get any sort of Power 5 position rather than a MAC-level job. The coordinators in the MAC, C-USA, etc. would be among the lowest in the B1G.
Will Muschamp was the highest paid assistant before getting the S Carolina HC position.
The SEC, as expected, pay the highest (I expect their players are paid at a similar level) but the B1G falls second.
Head Coach salary chart has been out for a while HERE. Harbuagh is #2 behind Saban and ahead of Meyer. They do list Franklin's salary, so PSU isn't totally under the radar.
For a while now, I've been meaning to write a series of blog entries on former players and what they've been doing since their playing days. After participating in "Talking Cars Tuesdays" I came up with the novel idea of Throw Back Thursday. Catchy, right? I made it up, I swear. I hope you find these interesting while gaining an even deeper appreciation for guys you cheered for on Saturdays who have gone on to become "Captains of Industry", as Bo liked to call them.
This first guy is 50% responsible for the worst football play I was ever involved with. I remember it today like you remember the day your child was born or your fiance said "yes". Only not as joyful. Not nearly as joyful.
Bo created a goal line package which moved starting right tackle Clay Miller over to the Tight End position next to All-American OT Jumbo Elliott. Jumbo was 300+ lbs and Clay had to have been 290. That's a lot of beef. The poor, unfortunate soul lined up across from them as the "demonstration team" defensive tackle was none other than yours truly. All 240 pounds of me. Normally I played linebacker but we were light on defensive tackles that day and Coach Agase needed a body. I picked a bad day to volunteer. (I'm assuming Warde Manuel got an early preview of the practice script from Coach Ags and suddenly developed a strained groin or some BS. Infirmary Warde I liked to call him. HA! Only kidding).
The offense breaks the huddle but there’s something wrong. Our two starting tackles are lined up next to each, directly across from me.
"You've got to be kdding me". This is going to hur.....
Harbaugh barks the snap count. Vitale hikes the ball. And the Elliott/Miller combo literally blocks me from the 5 yard line straight into - AND THROUGH - the endzone. I gave everything I had - which wasn't much - while these two behemoths took me for a ride with evil smiles on their faces.
I'm thinking, "Please dear God, blow the damn whistle".
Nope. They continued to block me until I tripped over backwards and they both land on me. They snicker, stand over me, give each a high fives, and jog back to the huddle. It was the most painful and humiliating 5 seconds of my life. The only thing that could make it worse was........
"Goddammit you ham and eggers. RUN IT AGAIN."
That wasn't the highlight of my career nor Clay Miller's. Far from it. No, this man would go on to have an excellent career on the football field and an even greater one off it. He's a 3rd generation Wolverine. His oldest daughter now makes it 4. He hails from Norman Oklahoma where he was recruited by all the big schools including OU, Nebraska, UCLA, and Penn State. He chose to follow his grandfather, father, and mother to Ann Arbor because it was the best combination of athletics and academics. But for as good as Clay was at playing football, he was better at hitting the books.
Following Michigan and a stint in the NFL, he enrolled in Northwestern's School of Law. Upon completion of his JD he entered the working world, spending time in New York and London working at a private equity firm. After a couple years, he moved back to the states and enrolled in Harvard's business school to gain a better understanding of private equity investments .
That’s not a bad resume, my friends. You won’t find too many former D1/All-Conference football players who earned degrees from Michigan, Northwestern, and Harvard. I couldn’t find the data, but you probably don’t need more than a couple fingers to do the math, if that. We’re talking impressively rare air.
Clay now resides in Minnesota with his wife, Lisa, and two kids (one a recent Michigan grad, the other a hopeful future Wolverine), running his own private equity firm and enjoying vacations at a lake in northern Michigan. He's given back to the University of Michigan through generous donations and also served on an advisory board for LS&A. He is the definition of a Michigan Man, and he and his wife Lisa are the epitome of supportive alums.
But supporting their alma mater by "writing check" wasn't enough. He wanted to do more. On one of their long rides home from the lake back in 2007, Lisa asked him, "what would you have wanted when you were playing?" After considering the question, Clay suggested that having a connection to guys who had been through it and were out on their own would have been beneficial. So with Lisa’s help, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Human Resource Management and Organizational Development, a plan was hatched.
In 2009, with cooperation from Coach Carr, Coach Rodriquez, and former Senior Associate Athletic Director Joe Parker, the Michigan Football Alumni Mentoring program was launched. The idea was to hold a meeting where former players would come talk to current players about life after football, answer any questions about their field, and perhaps open a few doors. Clay made some calls and got commitments from 8 former players who agreed to meet in Ann Arbor on a cold night in February to talk to a few dozen players. From that first meeting in ’09 to now, the program has grown to almost 200 former players mentoring nearly the entire football team. The players form small groups and spend about 15 minutes with a group of alumni from a specific business sector for an informal visit while asking questions, taking notes, then rotating onto the next sector. The fields include: Law, Engineering, Financial Services, Health Care, Management, Consulting, Real Estate, and Entrepreneurship among others. The program also includes an introduction to the Letterwinners M Club, the office of Alumni Engagement, and features a special guest speaker. Past speakers include Jon Runyon (former NFL lineman/US Representative/TV&Radio personality), Jim Hackett (Steelcase CEO and a pretty good AD), and Tom Dixon (former USFL lineman/prominent Detroit attorney). There are doctors, business owners, restaurateurs, salesmen, teachers, law enforcement officers, and one guy who’s made a pretty good career coaching football.
You've heard of the Michigan difference? This is it. There's not another formal program like it in the entire country. The feedback from the players and coaching staff has been unanimously positive. More and more alumni are getting involved and the annual symposium is something the current players look forward to. Clay’s even had ex-players from other teams (Iowa's Chuck Hartlieb) contact him for guidance on how to start their own mentoring program. All of this motivates Clay to improve the mentoring and make it more beneficial. Conversations are ongoing with Warde Manuel about how to collaborate with the athletic department and people “up on the hill” while adhering to strict NCAA compliance rules. A collaborative effort with a future LS&A program called M Opportunity Hub is also in the works. The Hub will be an actual office on campus that provides undergrads with guidance, and career placement. Focus will be placed on building an alumni data base which would help students find and secure vital summer internships.
I asked Clay to give me an example of a success story resulting from the mentor program. He gave me former WR Jeremy Jackson (son of long time assistant coach Fred Jackson) who connected with Dave Dever at one of the annual meetings. Dave is a former lineman for the Wolverines and father of former WR Bo Dever. He works at a plastics firm in Chicago and after a successful interview, offered Jeremy a position. Jeremy is "killing it" according to Clay, and is just one of many former players who have benefitted from connections forged through the alumni network. There are no guarantees, however. It’s not a job corps. The mentor program is a tool made available to student-athletes, much like academic counselors for undergraduate students. It’s up to the individual to walk through the door that’s been placed in front of them.
Clay continues to work with players, coaches, and administrators to refine and enhance the program. Creating a secure portal, increasing participation, and broadening the alumni network are all part of making it more practical and successful. There's an enormous amount of work involved and it requires tremendous organization throughout the year. As you can imagine, it’s not easy managing all of this from 700 miles away while also running your own business and devoting time to your family. But this is what Clay knows: hard work, dedication, perpetual improvement, and motivating people. He’s not doing it for the notoriety and he’s not taking a salary. He does it for the love of his university and to give back to something he believes gave him so much. Giving back and paying it forward is part of what makes us Leaders and Best.
Those who stay……
A couple quick tidbits about Clay:
He played from 1981-1985 and wore #79
He came to Michigan as a defensive tackle then moved to the offensive line.
His favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor is Zingerman’s.
The best dish he cooks are BBQ Ribs
If he had a son, he would definitely let him play football. "Football is such a great game and teaches so much."
What other school did you seriously consider: Penn State.
 While researching for this blog post, I came across a "Where are they now" piece Bruce Madej wrote back in 2011 for MGoBlue.com. It’s a great read and includes a funny story about Clay’s first play in the Big House.