the just released schedules were a flat-out statement that the B10 doesn't believe SOS will matter in playoff selection
Bo Schembechler was a great coach and did countless good things for Michigan football during and after his tenure as Michigan’s head coach. One of those was the idea of being a “Michigan Man”.* Now that we regrettably find ourselves embroiled in another coaching search, this topic has been raised again. In addition to former player Jim Harbaugh (obviously no longer a candidate), former assistant coach Brady Hoke has been mentioned as a potential candidate, in no small part because of his previous ties to the university – he fits the “Michigan Man” requirement in the job description – if you’re someone who puts stock in that.
* - I personally don’t think Bo ever intended for the “Michigan Man” statement to have the meaning it is now given. After all, Bo was about as far from a Michigan Man as he could be when he was hired.
Jim Harbaugh’s candidacy spoke for itself as he has turned Stanford into a national power in a short amount of time.* But Brady Hoke’s candidacy is more controversial . Brian and many readers of this website don’t feel that Hoke is a worthy candidate at all but the MSM keeps throwing his name out there.
* - To add to your depression, compare Harbaugh's record at Stanford to that of Rodriguez at Michigan. They are nearly identical through three years. Harbaugh just got a fourth year, went 12-1 with his first ever second-year starting QB, and at a time the conference's dominant team was doen. What might have been......
Here’s the primary reason Hoke is even in the discussion:
Michigan’s Coaching Tree….err, Stump
Bo’s coaching regime at Michigan essentially lasted for 38 years – from the day he was hired in 1969 until Carr retired after 2007. During that time Michigan was one of the most successful programs in the country. You would think that a few coaches would have sprouted off of that coaching tree over the course of 38 years – but you would be wrong.
I started researching assistant coaches over the past 20 years and where they are today. What I found was pretty startling. From 1990-2007Michigan has employed a total of only 26 different assistant football coaches (the year after Bo retired is as far back as I went with my research since age became a factor). I think part of the “Michigan Man” mentality also led to a lot of excessive loyalty. While stability is wonderful, you would expect there to be more turnover than 26 assistants in 18 years. Putting it in perspective, there are nine assistants per season so a total of 26 assistants means that they only averaged one replacement per season for those 18 years.
As a result, very few former assistants have gone on to become head coaches. Of the 26 assistants in that time period, only eight have ANY head coaching experience at this point in time. And while that number might sound reasonable, a closer look at the list reveals it is actually pretty pathetic:
- Cam Cameron – Failed miserably at Indiana and for the Miami Dolphins, now a successful OC for the Ravens.
- Les Miles – Very successful at LSU, despite his grass-eating craziness.
- Tom Reed – A now-retired coach I have never heard of before who was briefly at Miami (OH) and NC-State
- Mike DeBord - A frustrating offensive coordinator for Michigan who was terrible at CMU
- Kit Cartwright – Someone I couldn’t even find decent google-stalk info about who was briefly the head coach at Butler before getting fired.
- Brady Hoke – Has been moderately successful at Ball State and San Diego State
- Stan Parrish – Another of Carr’s favorites who had stints at Ball State, Kansas State, and Marshall but was never successful and at 65 years old is probably retired now after losing his latest job.
- Ron English – A flaming disaster at EMU so far.
That’s it folks – pretty embarrassing list for a coaching tree. Aside from Les Miles, the only person with a resume even worth a second look is Brady Hoke – now you know why he’s a legitimate candidate in the latest search.
Hoping that there were other candidates waiting in the wings, I investigated the other assistants to see where they are now. Here are some highlights:
- Jim Herrmann – Was at Michigan for 15 years before wearing out his welcome. Now the NY Giants LB coach.
- Fred Jackson – Will probably have the RB Coach job description named after him since he will never leave.
- Greg Mattison – Had a 6 year stay at Michigan and is now the DC for the Baltimore Ravens.
- Vance Bedford – A successful DB coach at Michigan for a few years, now the Louisville DC.
- Erik Campbell – A solid WR coach for Michigan for 13 years, showing the lack of promotional opportunities under Carr. Currently holds that position for Iowa.
- Teryl Austin – Was a defensive coach for a few years at Michigan and was Florida’s DC last year. Rumored to be headed to Texas to take that same position.
- Andy Moeller – Currently the assistant OL coach for the Ravens.
- Scot Loeffler – Held the QB coach spot for Michigan for a while and held that same job for Florida last year. I think he should have been given a shot at OC at Michigan when it became clear that DeBord wasn’t utilizing the NFL talent fully. Would have been high risk, but would have been worth a shot the last two years under Carr in my opinion.
- Bill Sheridan – Bounced around the NFL as a defensive position coach, most recently for the Dolphins.
- Ron Lee – I can’t find any information about where he went after his forgettable two-year stay at a secondary coach for Michigan.
- Steve Stripling – After Rodriguez let him go he took the DL coach job at MSU.
- Steve Szabo – Currently the DC for Colgate.
While there are some names on that list you might be happy to see as assistants on the Michigan sideline, no one has the resume to take the Head Coaching job. Maybe you could reach for Austin, but that’s about it.
Finally, I tried to track down former players (such as Harbaugh) that have gotten into coaching. That proved to be a nearly impossible effort via the internet if I had any hope of posting this diary in a timely manner. Here’s what I have so far and could use help adding names if anyone has more info:
- Jim Harbaugh – You may have heard something about his resume lately.
- Mike Trgovac – Has been a defensive positional coach in the NFL for years and even a DC at times. Currently the DL coach for the Packers.
- Corwin Brown – Had a mediocre stint as Notre Dame’s DC, now a DB coach for the Patriots.
- Tyrone Wheatley – Relatively new to coaching, is currently the Syracuse RB coach after having the same job for EMU previously.
I like a lot of the names on these various lists for lower-level positions, but now you can see why Brady Hoke gets mentioned. If you want someone with a Michigan background who is qualified to be a head coach, he’s one of only a couple options. I have the utmost respect for Brian and I usually agree on all of his opinions related to Michigan football, but this is one situation where I don’t. I think Brady Hoke is a serious candidate on Dave Brandon’s list and could potentially be the coach in 2011 – whether that would be as horrific as Brian makes it out to be, I don’t know.
Contrast this coaching “stump” to lowly Eastern Illinois University. They have produced Sean Payton, Mike Shanahan, and Brad Childress – not to mention all of the coaches on their respective trees. In nearly 40 years of Michigan football there are only two coaches (aside from Moeller and Carr) who are even close to having a comparable resume as those three – Les Miles and Jim Harbaugh.
In my opinion this is one of the biggest detriments of Lloyd Carr’s tenure – failure to develop a viable coaching candidate. Perhaps it was being too loyal to assistants for too long. Perhaps it was the coaches being too comfortable and not wanting to leave for another opportunity. Perhaps the conservative game-plan approach limited interest in some of the assistants. Whatever the problem, it has left us with the prospect of Brady Hoke being a legitimate candidate.
I honestly have no idea how to feel about the coaching situation other than "OMFGWTF", but I did stumble across some good words about Brady Hoke, and since his name is in the mix, I thought I'd share.
Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock wrote:
"Hoke and his coaching staff know how to develop players. I've seen it.
"They know how to recruit and identify talent that works in their system. At Ball State and San Diego State, Hoke assembled coaching staffs more qualified and skilled than the schools' budgets allow.
"Good coaches love working for Hoke.
"Jim Harbaugh is the sizzle hire in all of football. He's not a better college football coach than Brady Hoke.
If Michigan would love Hoke with half the passion Hoke loves Michigan, beating Ohio State and returning to the top of the Big Ten wouldn't take more than three seasons."
Same guy that broke the story that RR fired is now saying Hoke to be named coach.
Here we go.
Edit: Additional information - Ryan Ermanni (Fox 2 Detroit) reports on ESPN 96.1 that Brady Hoke will be hired as next coach, and Harbaugh was never seriously considered.
I searched a few pages in and didn't find anything. I am NOT in any way a fan of the idea of having Brady Hoke as a potential replacement to RR. RR has a way better career track record. But I thought I should share this.
It's widely known that San Diego State coach Brady Hoke made officials aware when he was hired that his dream job would be in Ann Arbor. And Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls call it a "crazy" prediction, but he says Hoke is simply waiting to take the job after opting not to speak with Pitt about it's opening."
FA Edit: Editing to not have full copy/paste. Copy/Paste is bad, especially paid content. We prefer you summarize content in your own words. I went to try it, but it was just a rehash of several Hoke things in the past without any new, original, or concrete things. I read this and I see overstating recruiting hurting and blatantly quoted "crazy" prediction. For more on Hoke, might I suggest this thread. /FA-edit
Last week, there was a thread about an alleged “MGoBubble” (thread ref)- and that led to a side discussion about the perceived level of support for Rich Rodriguez among various groups of people. In my quest to find some real data (rather than forum posts or polls on Detnews), I came across an organization called Public Policy Polling that conducts state-level polls about voter perceptions of political candidates. In May of 2010, they included questions about Rich Rodriguez for their Michigan poll. They repeated those questions in their Michigan poll this past week. The results, both from May and from December, are very interesting and may be surprising to some.
First of all, the usual caveats:
- I am not affiliated in any way with Public Policy Polling (site)
- I am not advocating one way or another anything about “CC” - I am trying to bring some accurate data (and new information) into the discussion
- The survey does not go very deep - it simply asks some basic questions about favorable or unfavorable opinions about RR, and about allowing RR to continue or having him replaced
- The survey does not claim to be representative of any particular subgroup other than the categories it specifically asks about. In other words, this poll is not representative of the UofM student body, nor of alumni. nor of former players, etc. It is representative of registered voters in Michigan who identify themselves as UofM fans, and of those fans as broken down by political ideology, party affiliation, age, ethnicity, and gender.
- The May Michigan survey was conducted May 25-27, polled 890 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% (source)
- The December Michigan survey was conducted December 3-6, polled 1224 people, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.8% (source)
- One of the questions specifically asks whether the respondent is a fan of UofM, MSU, or neither. The questions about RR were only asked to those who identified themselves as UofM fans. This also means that the margin of error for questions about RR is higher, because the sample size is smaller.
May 2010 Results
First of all, let’s look at the May results, after a 3-9 and 5-7 season, and concurrent with the announcement by Michigan of the self-imposed penalties for the NCAA violations (UofM announced those penalties on May 25).
1. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Rich Rodriguez? Based on the May results, it appears that there is a small group of people (20%) who had a favorable view of RR, and a slightly larger but still fairly small group of people (26%) who had an unfavorable view of RR. The majority (54%) were unsure.
The polling organization noted that this is a low favorable rating for one’s own coach. They compared it to the favorable rating that North Carolina fans have for their arch-rival Duke’s basketball coach (46%). For RR to have such a low favorable rating from his own fan base is “exceptionally bad,” according to the polling organization. (source)
2. Would you like to see Rich Rodriguez continue to be Michigan’s football coach this season or would you like to see him replaced? This is a very interesting result - a majority (51%) of people wanted RR to continue for the 2010 season, which implies that a majority of Michigan fans who were “Not sure” of their opinion on RR still wanted him to be the coach. In fact, there was a smaller percentage of fans who wanted him replaced (20%) than who had an unfavorable opinion of him (26%), which implies that even some of his detractors either wanted him to continue as coach this year or were unsure.
Digging a little bit deeper, although this poll doesn’t say anything specifically about UofM students, alumni, current players, or former players, it is possible to address whether age has anything to do with one’s positions on RR. A claim that I have heard on this blog is that RR’s detractors are probably older fans who are more comfortable with traditional power football, and not inclined to support a coach who brings a modern offensive philosophy to the table. In fact, this data appears to show just the opposite - the older the fan, the stronger the support for RR in May. It is the group of fans in the youngest category (18-29) who are the most polarized and who have the strongest negative views on RR.
Why is that? One possible explanation is that the idea of keeping something the same or making a change may be related to one’s political ideology - and that as of May 2010, having RR as the coach was already seen as the status quo. Assuming (the polling organization didn’t publish this specific data) that older fans tend to be conservative, and further assuming that conservatives prefer to keep the status quo, that might partially explain why older fans preferred to keep RR as coach back in May. In that sense, one could argue (although the data doesn’t necessarily say this) that RR was already accepted by those older fans as “a Michigan man” in the sense that his status as football coach was seen as the status quo.
One final interesting result from the May survey. There does appear to be a significant divide in support for RR based on ethnicity. The polling organization didn’t put forward any possible explanation for this ethnicity gap, and I honestly can’t come up with a rationale myself. It is what it is.
A lot has happened in Michigan since May, both in football and in politics. Michigan elected a Republican governor by a large majority, and the UofM football team experienced a winning season under Coach Rodriguez, but suffered double-digit losses to MSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and OSU.
So how did the events of the past 6 months affect RR’s favorable rating among UofM fans?
There remains a small core of people (20%, just as in May) who continue to have a favorable opinion of RR, while the group that has an unfavorable opinion has increased (from 26% in May to 38% in December), apparently almost completely from the “Not sure” camp in May (down from 54% in May to 42% in December). The surprising result, for me, is that the largest group (42%) is still “Not sure” about their opinion of RR.
Given that many “Not sure” fans in May still wanted RR to continue, and even some of the fans who viewed RR unfavorably in May didn't necessarily want him replaced, do fans want RR to continue as they look forward to 2011?
Again, there has been a shift in opinion away from a majority of people who wanted RR to continue back in May, to a statistically even split among those who want him to continue (32%), those who want him replaced (35%), and those who are unsure (33%). As in May, there may be some people who have an unfavorable view of RR but do not necessarily want him replaced (38% v. 35%).
Attempting to tease out where those unsure of their opinion of RR stand with respect to having him keep his job, I made a couple of admittedly invalid assumptions:
- All those who want RR to continue have a favorable opinion of him
- The difference between the larger group of those who want RR to continue v. the smaller group of those who have a favorable opinion of him consist completely of those who are unsure of their opinion of him. In other words, if 20% have a favorable opinion, but 32% want him to continue being the coach, that extra 12% of people who want to keep RR is coming from those who are unsure of their opinion of him.
Not sure of their opinion of RR but want him to continue
Again, this is probably a stretch in terms of interpreting the published data, but it appears that RR’s support for keeping his job among “neutral” UofM fans has eroded significantly.
Digging a little deeper, the May results suggested that the youngest fans (18-29) were the most strongly divided and had the highest percentage of people wanting to replace RR. By contrast, the oldest fans (65+) wanted to keep RR back in May, by a large margin. Has this age profile of support for RR changed in December?
This is a significant change. Not only has RR’s overall support eroded, his support among the “blue hairs” has completely flipped, where more of the oldest respondents (65+) want him replaced than want to keep him.
Respondents age 65+
What about the youngest respondents, who were the most divided back in May? It appears that they are now very unsure of whether they want RR to continue being Michigan's coach.
Respondents age 18-29
What about political ideology? Do even conservative fans, who theoretically would prefer to keep the status quo, still want to keep RR in his position?
Again, this shows almost a complete inversion of the results in May. Back in May, liberals tended to want to replace RR while conservatives tended to want to keep him; now in December, it’s the opposite.
And for the sake of completion, do we still see a dramatic gap in support for RR based on ethnicity?
Although there is still an ethnicity gap, it has narrowed significantly to the point where it appears that one either wants RR to continue, to be replaced, or is unsure - regardless of one’s ethnicity.
Finally, one additional question was asked in the December poll, about who the respondents would like to see as a replacement. No surprise about who leads the pack, but I should point out that Brady Hoke is running a distant third, behind even an “unnamed” candidate.
I’ll be the first to say that it is dangerous, even maliciously deceptive, to extrapolate into the future using data that is not intended to be used that way. So I believe it would be inappropriate to say anything like, “if current trends continue...”, or “another season like this one would probably result in favorable ratings of...”, or “if we lose to MSU and OSU again next year, the percentage of fans who would want to keep RR would probably be...” The data makes no claim to predict the future - it is simply 2 snapshots in time that reveal how opinions have changed since May.
I hope this diary qualifies as “bringing new information” to the table, and also brings forward some reasonably accurate opinion survey data that we can talk about, rather than statements made in a vacuum claiming that “98% of former M football players still alive despise RR” or the idea that “players that played 40-70 years ago...are not a fan of the spread offense...” (thread ref)