Not to mention that Yost's birthplace and hometown of Fairview, WV is less than 5 miles away from Rodriguez' hometown of Grant Town, WV. There are no other towns between the two, so Yost and RR grew up in pretty much the same place.
Regarding Snarky Comments about RR's WV Origins
It could, perhaps, be defined as a bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to Sweet Home Alabama, a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash…
Irony could also be defined as follows:
A man swears under his breath and loudly and obnoxiously ridicules his team’s head coach while using demeaning rhetoric towards the state of West Virginia and towards the program for making the mistake to hire someone from such an inferior geographical region and inferior group of people.
Now, imagine this event occurring on a bench in the southwest corner of Michigan Stadium, and the man has cheered avidly all day for his maize and blue team, all while making multiple comments throughout the day about the beautiful venue steeped in history and tradition.
If you do not understand the irony, please read further.
We thankfully do not hear the belittling West Virginia rhetoric too often on the boards of mgoblog, but I am confident that we have all heard someone, somewhere, subversively or matter-of-factly, make snide, rude comments regarding the fact that our current head coach originates from the state of West Virginia.
I hear it often, and I laugh and shake my head at fans of our other rival schools who think it’s a funny joke that Rich Rodriguez was born, raised, played football and coached football in the state of West Virginia.
I do not laugh, however, when our own Michigan fans make the same snide remarks. I become frustrated and saddened, as our program’s proud history is intimately intertwined with that Wild and Wonderful state…
Fielding H. Yost, our man, our legend, the original epitome of a "Michigan Man" - who made our football tradition legendary, who oversaw 6 national championships, who designed and built our athletic campus including our beloved football stadium and hockey arena, and who gave our Athletic Department its strong identity which it maintains today - was born in West Virginia and played at WVU.
Every time a Michigan fan makes a sarcastic comment about Rich Rodriguez's West Virginian background, it is ironically ignorant - unless of course, they intended to throw Fielding Yost and the history of our program under the figurative bus too.
Now, do these things mean the current coach will be as wildly influential? I have no idea. Two data points do not equal correlation. This diary is not about his success or failure.
This diary is about our school’s history and our fans’ recognition of it, especially since we are always the first to flaunt our great history and tradition - a history and tradition footed in solid marble by Fielding H. Yost!
My plea to you is to please help educate our fan base to stop making silly remarks regarding West Virginia as some second tier state producing second tier people when the rich and beloved history of our program is based off, yes indeed, a man from West Virginia.
If you hear a Michigan fan make this mistake, simply kindly inform them of the facts about our history, as one can attempt to debate scheme, offense, recruiting, or leadership all day, but the history of the University of Michigan and its strong influences are not subject to debate.
Thanks for listening and thanks for your help!
Relevant aside: Lloyd Carr was hired from West Virginia prior to the 1980 season. Coach Carr was hired to serve under Don Nehlen when Nehlen was hired at WVU, but Carr did not stay long, as Bo Schembechler sought out his assistance only a few months later. Carr was only a coach at WVU during the offseason prior to the 1980 season.
- Jimbo Fisher
- Lou Holtz (grew up in OH)
- Larry Coyer (DC for the Colts)
- Mark D'Antoni (basketball)
- Bob Huggins (basketball)
- Bowden kids
Not a bad lineup for the 9th smallest state in the nation. I'm biased since I'm from there.
Good post. At this point, only the dumbest of UM fans will harp on RR being from WV, and those people are probably a lost cause. I think most fans could care less about where a coach originates, only that he produces a winner on the field and good students off it.
How people, anybody - let alone Michigan fans, can be so petty is beyond me.
Nice post. To be honest I've wondered if perhaps some of the issues that UM fans have with Rodriguez might have something to do with his last name...
I never understood the WV premise. As someone who has spent some time in WV, I honestly - besides the normal differences between northern and southern cultural and social norms - don't believe it to be demographically much different from Michigan. If it is the hillbilly argument, that argument is obviously invalid. I guess it depends on the defenition of hillbilly, but education stats don't put that much space between WV and MI, as they are both middle of the pack as far as the United States is concerned. If it has to do with hills, WV has more, but if has to do with dudes named Billy, I suppose more research should be done. A so-called Michigan fan with the mentality of judging a coach based on the region from which he/she came is absurd and is at best a pretty shitty fan, and at worst a ...
Agreed on all points, and thanks for the laugh.
There can be no doubt that some the vitriol hured toward rr was based upon his southern heritage and the twang in his voice. This was apparent before he ever coached a game here. There are a number of people livng in the north who hear a souther accent and think "stupid redneck" or racist.
The fact that neither of these epithets would apply to our coach is besides the point to these people. Some of them actively root against M (and the young men wearing the winged helmets) in the hope that they can effect a coaching change.
I'm not going to judge a person by where he's from, unless that happens to be Columbus. Even then, I've met some decent people from there too. I think the stuff directed towards people from the south is just a person from the north being arrogant (the south does not have the monopoly on stupid, ignorant and racist people).
I was born in Morgantown raised on Grand Street baptized at St John's then my father accepted a job at Ford. My parents are both WVU Grads and raised me in Ann Arbor. So I take the facts and comparisons to heart and you forgot to mention that Yost ran it up 130-0 against the Mountaineers in 1904. But I support this team not because of my cool story (brah) but i believe standing by your team, coach and history.
it's a discrepancy between what seems to be and what is.
Wow - I never knew that about Carr. Really interesting.
First time he ever saw Bo was in '69, up in East Lansing, up by the tunnel where he and Duffy brought their teams out. After coaching in high school, he was an assistant at Eastern, and learned a lot from Jack Harbaugh who coached the secondary like Lloyd did. Lloyd got in closed practices through Bill McCartney, both Riverview guys (Riverview football is tight-knit), who proceeded Lloyd playing at Missouri (Lloyd later transferred to Northern Michigan). From there he got hired at Illinois under Moeller, which obviously didn't end well. Nehlen went to become the head coach at WV, and Lloyd was offered a job, which he took in December of 1979. In March of 1980 Harbaugh left to become DC at Stanford. So between McCartney as DC, Moeller back on the staff, and Alex Agase as AD at Eastern, Lloyd became the secondary coach, even though Bo didn't know him that well. And the rest is history. He nearly left when MSU was going to offer him the head coaching job, but Bo didn't want to coach against him, so he insisted he didn't go. And even in retirement, still hasn't left the University to this day.
I knew he was once at Eastern, but I did not know the other details. Really interesting.
I tend to classify as an idiot anyone who belittles someone based on which side of some arbitrary line they were born and raised on. (Unless that arbitrary line is the Columbus city limit.) If you do it, it makes you a prejudicial asshole.
All the WVA-bashing would have disappeared within the first few weeks of his first season. It's only the losing that has prolonged it.
I've got some clients within the University who grew up in the upper midwest who really despise him, and it's clear that they regard him as a southern hick too ignorant to quote Kipling. If we started winning games that animus would recede a bit, but I don't think it would ever go away.
Bo was an Ohioan (born in Barberton) and I don't think he spent much time quoting Kipling to his players. Nor did he make them look up a word in a dictionary and use it in a sentence when entering his office.
I do think he worked his players like dogs, yelled and screamed a lot, and generally acted much the same way Rodriguez does on the sideline.
If your clients didn't want another Bo, presumably they would've been happy with Mike DeBord, who was by all accounts Lloyd's preferred candidate for the job.
I am beyond tired of this bluehair elitist bullshit. I'm a fifth generation UM graduate from an reasonably affluent Michigan family with a long history of college-educated elitism.
I still don't fucking get it.
Couple points about the WVU-Michigan ties:
Don Nehlen, whom Rich Rod replaced at WVU, had previously been on Bo's staff.
Rodriguez tightened up the discipline from day one, and people in the program said, "Bo's back."
Rodriguez was born in Big Ten country -- Chicago -- and raised in West Virginia.
Most of the snide remarks I have heard from Michigan fans are from season ticket holders, blue-collar types who didn't go to college or to Michigan (and I have no problem with these so-called WalMart Wolverines), so I don't understand where this elitist crap comes from, either. After the OSU game last year, the guy who has sat two rows in front of me for years yelled out, "RichRod, go back to West Virginia so you can marry your sister." WTF?! He doesn't even HAVE a sister! Srsly, tho, I did remind him that FHY hailed from WV. Didn't seem to faze him.
Thank you for at least trying to set the guy straight, and thanks for the points about the Michigan-WVU ties!
There's a lot of people who think that if someone has a Southern/rural/country/whatever accent, then they're not too bright. You find this a lot at Northern academic institutions, especially high-ranking academic institutions.
Excellent post schmakj. Hopefully, those UM fans that have a problem with WV read this and get over themselves.
I hear what you're saying, but taking snide remarks about West Virginia out of a Virginian, for example, is like taking snide remarks about the Uppers out of "Thumbers" (I just made up that name and will now trademark it). That said, I think what the OP was focusing on is mean-spirited comments and that is not appropriate in any setting. Its an uncalled for personal attack and, in Rodriguez's case, an attack by people who know nothing about the man.
Nevertheless, I fully intend to start a "Rich Rod-ri-guez" chant at the Pitt-WVU game (the Backyard Brawl) to piss off WVU fans around me. That is, as long as Michigan finishes the season strong and WVU is behind in the game. Otherwise, I'll just look like an idiot.
Do Lower Peninsula residents really make snide comments about UPers? Growing up in the Detroit area, the U.P. (and really, the rest of the state of Michigan) was completely off our radar. Downriver was the area that people made fun of.
A fellow (former, actually) "troll" here, folk in the L.P. do poke fun at the doglanders from time to time. It's almost always just good natured ribbing, however. I know a few yoopers, they make fun of themselves as well (see http://www.dayoopers.com/, for example).
I love that bumper sticker. Classic.
The irony of it all is that the majority of Michigan is farms, small towns, or general boonies. I haven't experienced it personally, but have heard secondhand that a lot of other states consider Michigan somewhat of a hick state. Personally, I grew up in Metro Detroit and have spent my last 5 years in Ann Arbor, but I love the thumb and northern/western Michigan. I do have to admit that a lot of it however is pretty desolate.
When I first moved to each of NY, London and LA, when people heard I was a native of Michigan (but not metro Detroit), they asked me if I grew up on a farm.
The stereotype of Michigan (ex Detroit) is precisely farms, small towns and general boonies, shotguns, snowmobiles, etc.
They're stunned when I inform them that I grew up in Grand Rapids, with a metro population of 250,000-plus.
That's a lot like asking someone from Albuquerque, New Mexico if they grew up on a reservation.
I think that stereotype could be applied to almost any state minus its big city. Think of, say, Illinois other than Chicago, Wisconsin other than Milwaukee, Minnesota other than the Twin Cities, etc. I have no idea what the next-largest metro area of any of those states is.
For me, it's the complete opposite. When I was in L.A., and told someone I was from the Detroit area, they assumed I grew up in a war zone. Stereotypes are interesting.
Most of America is still rural. People from
NY or LA act like it's a different world between them, but up-state NY is a lot more like Michigan than it's like NYC. And great portions of mid and northern California are farmland, producing a huge variety of crops.
Moral of the story? People are stupid, I guess.
In the spring, I took a train trip out west (Seattle then to San Fran and back) and I was amazed at just how rural this country is. There were some pretty nice farms all along the whole trip pretty much.
Wow, a person from L.A. calling Detroit a warzone. I wonder if the irony was lost on him.
When we first moved to Boston, more than one person asked my wife if her family owned a tractor. They, in fact, did (and still do). It made for surprisingly good conversation. What really amazes me is how many New Englanders think Michigan is some sort of frozen tundra when Boston is something like 3.5 miles south of Detroit.
+1 for Steve Buscemi. Boardwalk Empire is good.
Thanks for this - I spend a lot of time in West Virginia (doing outdoor stuff) and have grown to love it. I also am happy that I see very little West-Virginia-is-an-inbred-hellhole stuff on Mgoblog.
Another commented mentioned Michigan as a rural state. That's how I was first introduced to it - I first fished at my grandpa's house in Indian River, way up north. I had never thought of Michigan as something urban until I entered UM as a first year student.
I manage to find time to travel to West Virginia usually once a year to go white water rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers. The state is absolutely gorgeous and the opportunities for outdoor recreation are great!
A lot of people outside the South think that Southerners are all like the Beverly Hillbillies or the Dukes of Hazzard. I sorta fell into that trap before living in Florida. Florida isn't quite Dixie because of all the transplants, but there is still plenty of South in it. Anyway, I heard a southerner use the word "vicariously" in a sentence, and said, "vicariously?"
Immediately, he gave me one of the worst verbal lashings I have ever sustained. I call it one of the worst because he was a hundred percent correct and I was a hundred percent wrong. It went something like this:
"Y'all think everyone from the South is like the Beverly Hillbillies? They have schools in the South, just like they do in the North, and people get '4-points' there, too."
There was more, but the point is that a lot of people from the North immediately stereotype a person with a Southern accent as "ignorant." I haven't been in Ann Arbor since RR was hired, but I can easily see that happening. I get the feeling that, even if RR brings multiple NC's to A2, some of the fanbase will still fall prey to that kind of thinking.
Instead of RR being a great coach, he will be someone who "overcame his hillbilly roots" to somehow win football games.
For more irony, I would have to ask two questions:
If Southern coaches are so stupid, why is the SEC considered to be the "best" conference? And how did Bobby Bowden win all of those NC's?
Before Big Ten fans can throw stones at anything Southern, the Big Ten needs to retake its "throne" as the number one conference in college football. Wouldn't it be ironic (sorry for the irony overload) if RR was one of the main reasons why it happened?
I like the attitude of people in the South a whole lot better. Much nicer and polite. California, on the other hand...geez.
Being from Detroit, I'm used to snide remarks about my hometown. But, hey, at least I'm not from New Jersey!