Per Bruce Feldman on twitter. I know he wasn't really a candidate for the Michigan job, but it will be interesting to see how he does.
The board's choice for our new head coach is pretty clear: Jim Harbaugh. But who comes in second?
It turns out that's also pretty clear:
Les Miles won the board poll by a hefty margin, garnering an even 49% of the vote. The runner-up, Dan Mullen, mustered barely better than half that number (24.79%) and from there it's a steep drop to any kind of third place. Here are the results, followed by a few thoughts:
- Les Miles - 342 votes (49%)
- Dan Mullen - 173 votes (24.79%)
- Tom Herman - 64 votes (9.17%)
- Other - 64 votes (9.17%)
- Todd Graham - 23 votes (3.30%)
- Jim McElwain - 19 votes (2.72%)
- Greg Schiano - 8 votes (1.15%)
- Craig Bohl - 5 votes (0.72%)
I would attribute the lower number of votes to yesterday's news--before the confirmation of Hoke's meeting with Hackett, the votes were coming in much, much faster, but the board got understandably focused on other things by the afternoon. That said, the trends were clear: Miles stayed around 50% the entire time, and Mullen was always the clear runner-up in the 25% range. Tom Herman was a bit surprising as the #3 choice, even if he was dead even with "other."
Jim Hackett's press conference was flawlessly executed. That said, he built an idealistic picture of a coach that's going to be awfully hard to find. It seemed he weighs on-field success and character about equally, and even Jim Harbaugh has plenty of detractors in the latter category. Don't get me wrong--if Harbaugh wants the job, he's got it. But Hackett's focus on integrity is going to give the media lots of excuses to try to dig up dirt and question his commitment to character.
For that reason, I strongly believe that Les Miles will NOT be considered a serious candidate for the job. If all you know about Miles is that he has been extremely successful in CFB's best division, you only know some of the story. Les has been the subject of many rumors of scandal and impropriety over the years, and, while I'm sure not all are true, there is plenty of ammunition for the media to throw in Hackett's face should he hire Les, creating another press-fueled shitstorm the university does not want.
Our #2 guy isn't without warts either. Dan Mullen's recent scholarship withdrawal from QB Chason Virgil--whom Mullen had asked to enroll early and is just a few days from graduation now--didn't please the recruit's coach:
Chason Virgil -35 tds/6int passing -8td rushing. One of the best young people I've ever coached -only flaw was trusting "coach" Mullen.— Coach Jeff Neill (@neill_jeff) November 21, 2014
Tom Herman seems clean so far, but he hasn't run a program yet. Todd Graham switches jobs more than Taylor Swift switches crushes. McElwain also looks clean, but is a front-runner for the Florida job. Schiano has his detractors--though more in the Harbaugh vein of abrasive intensity--and most people don't even know who Craig Bohl is.
What I'm getting at here is that I believe it's likely that there is a candidate who has a good shot at winning the job that we are not currently considering. A good point was made by a poster last night that Bob Stitt might be a better fit for Hackett's criteria than many names we've on which we've fixated. Here's a good place to learn a bit about Stitt. He makes no secret about his desire to coach at the top level.
I have no idea who it might be, but it may be time for us to think outside of the names we've gotten used to in the past few months. Then again, it may just be Jim Harbaugh.
The AD change has happened, and most everyone expects a coaching change to follow. I don't know about you, but my views have evolved quite a bit since the whole CC bit started in earnest after Minnesota. Most of that change has been the result of research into the candidates, but some has also been feelingsball.
I'm curious to see what everyone else thinks. Here's my current opinion, broken into tiers:
Tier 1 - Harbaugh
Jim or John, I'd be equally ecstatic with either. Jim is the proven college HC, John is the nicer guy with the SB ring.
Tier 2 - Yes, please
These are the guys that I believe are the best candidates not named Harbaugh.
- Dan Mullen - Offensive guru who has built a defensive juggernaut. Appears to be the total package and has the added bonus of echoing the Woody/Bo relationship vis-a-vis Meyer. My top choice in tier two.
- Todd Graham - All he is does is win, wherever he's coaching. Not sure he'd move to the midwest.
- Gary Patterson - Defensive coach that decided to evolve offensively this year and is knocking on the playoff door. Would overhaul the roster as much as anyone.
- Jim McElwain - Former 'Bama OC has turned Colorado State (3-9 for three straight seasons before McElwain) into a double-digit win team that has progressed steadily on both sides of the ball and will probably win the Mountain West.
Tier 3 - Ummm...okay
Guys that make sense, I guess, but I would not be pumped about.
- Mark Stoops - Has rapidly advanced a once-pathetic Kentucky team. Will the improvement continue?
- Greg Schiano - Demeanor aside, his HC record is good, but certainly not great. Is he a good coach?
- Tom Herman - My favorite coordinator candidate. He seems capable of adapting to his personnel and changing the plan mid-game. Also, I like the idea of taking Urban's top assistant. But can he run an entire program?
- Mike Gundy - Seems like a good coach and a great quote, but hasn't been amazing since 2011 and the Les Miles ties cocern me. Would he run a clean program?
- Kyle Whittingham - Having a pretty impressive season at Utah, and wasn't too stubborn to change his offense. Is he ready for a big-time job?
Tier 4 - DO NOT WANT
- Les Miles - Call me arrogant, naive, or whatever you want--I still don't want a douchebag running our program.
- Dave Doeren, Butch Jones, Craig Bohl, Matt Wells, Mark Hudspeth - Not proven yet.
- Scott Frost, Kirby Smart, Bud Foster - Would they stay?
If I didn't put a name on the list, I'm not currently interested. What does the board think?
OK, so he means Tom Herman, not Harmon.
Well, he might have said it......I mean it's right there in black and white.
"Tom Harmon has one of the bright young minds in college football," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of his coach who is, indeed, intellectual enough to be a member of the national high-IQ society, MENSA. "His philosophies are very similar to those of my own."
Tom Harmon at Ohio State 1940: