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Who said this...
"It's flattering," [Coach] said ... "But this is not the right time for anyone to discuss anything other than us playing for a national championship.
"I can guarantee you I have made no inquiries about the University of Michigan job, and I have not been contacted."
No, not Les Miles. This guy:
A new name has surfaced in Michigan's search to replace Lloyd Carr. A source confirms that University of Delaware coach KC Keeler is being heavily considered to take over in Ann Arbor.
Keeler's Blue Hens take on Appalachian State this weekend in the I-AA Championship game. Prior to Delaware, the UD alum coached at Rowan College in New Jersey. His 2003 Delaware team won the national title.
Meanwhile, I have a source of my own who states Michigan is "talking to" Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin's about ten and is currently leading the Raiders to a miserable season in his first go as a head coach and seems a really iffy candidate, but hey, at least they're talking to people.
OFFENSE DATE: 12/08/07 740 PM
....COUNT 1 C/M/F: C 1320 ORD#10:1A/257.625A(2)PBT REFUSAL IN NON-CMV, 21 AND OVER
(Source: search for "Moeller" here.) At 7:40 PM on Saturday, Michigan offensive line coach Andy Moeller got pulled over for DUI. He refused a breathalyzer test.
What's going on? At this point, I don't know and I don't think anyone else does either. The last "reliable" piece of info to come in was the Miles conversation. Now that avenue seems truly dead, and yesterday's post on Grobe was based on internet buzz and little else -- sorry if I didn't make that clear. A few people are complaining about regular sources of information being completely in the dark, so I assume the "leakers will be shot" memo has gone forth to the high and mighty.
Now we enter the deeply crazy -- yes now we enter -- phase of the search, when the chastened AD starts running silent and a Miles-free rabble starts latching on to every name floated by sports talk radio.
An approximate timeline of events so far:
- Carr retires, claiming the timing of said retirement has nothing to do with helping or harming anyone's chances at the job.
- Kirk Ferentz is the first hot candidate. I still believe if he was willing to accept a paycut (and, possibly, Carrassistantpalooza) he'd be the coach and the search would have been brief. A few days after Carr retires, he's out again.
- Les Miles is now a "done deal" for about a week.
- ESPN and Kirk Herbsreit create the brief Miles-Tenuta era. Flowers sprout across the state. Wolves stop their eternal thirst for deer meat and sit down to have a nice cup of tea with representatives of the local ungulate population. GM announces six plant openings. Honda declares bankruptcy.
- Sailboat Bill Martin sails on sailboat as Frantic Telephoning Agent Guy frantically telephones Sailboat Bill.
- Miles announces he's staying at LSU. Flowers die. Honda buys ad space on Jennifer Granholm's forehead, tatoos "Suck It, America" on said forehead, crushes auto industry wholesale. Deer viscera everywhere.
- New hot candidate: Kirk Ferentz. That dies again.
- Actual new hot candidate: Greg Schiano, who reportedly turns down a contract offer comparable to the one he turned down from Miami last year. Reports that Schiano had tentatively accepted an offer before reversing course twist the knife.
- Another new old hot candidate: Miles, who has a conference call with Mary Sue Coleman and Martin.
- Miles shoots down hopes once more with a tersely-worded press release. Off camera, Skip Bertman holds a gun to his wife's head, Jack Bauer-style. Flowers die again. Toyota tatoos something unspeakable on Granholm's butt. Wolves start eating people.
So what now? Ferentz, Schiano, and Miles are off the table. There has been exactly one indication that Jeff Tedford is being considered and that wasn't from either Berkeley or Ann Arbor but Los Angeles. By all indications, Brian Kelly isn't even being considered. The three known interviewees: Debord, English, and Hoke.
This search no longer has a public direction, which is an improvement from a public fiasco but, given the whole fiasco thing, unsettling. If the search had been dark from day one, we could sit and wait and trust in Martin's ability to acquire Beilein and hold onto Rich Maloney and get the stadium renovation through. But Michigan has been exposed as prancing jackanapes; at this point fans should expect a detailed daily briefing from someone in the athletic department justifying everything they're doing to reassure us about the prancing. Slides make everyone seem competent.
This is not likely to happen.
What should happen: a bucket of money gets thrown at Tedford, and if that gets shot down Brian Kelly is brought in. Sadly, this is also not likely to happen. We have seen incompetency in this department from the fellows in South Bend and competency from the ones in Gainesville (check out this old article on the hiring of Urban Meyer); at this point there's little question which side of the fence we're on.
On the same day Bobby Petrino takes the Arkansas job, Jim Grobe becomes the hot name in the Michigan coaching search.
Weeks ago, Petrino's name kept popping up among college athletic directors looking for new coaches. I wrote that Petrino sniffed around the Michigan job to no avail. GM Rich McKay and Petrino both denied that he was actually pursuing open positions on the college level.
Why not Petrino? Inveterate job-hopper, guy you'd have to worry about from time to time if he's a success, which his track record at Louisville suggests he would be. Why not? Because you might have to endure the indignity of watching your coach entertain other job offers? Isn't this Michigan? Isn't this a place that should be good enough that other job offers don't matter?
And if it isn't, whose fault is that?
A blogging associate of mine found himself talking with a prominent assistant coach in the state of Florida who could not believe Greg Schiano turned the job down. "Insane" was the term used in our discussion. And, right: insane. This is the head coach of Rutgers, and even if he gets lucky and Joe Paterno retires before 2027 everything has to fall right for him if he's going to get the job. Bradley has to be passed over. He has to remain attractive enough to be the first choice. And Penn State's athletic department has to overlook strong internal candidates like JayPa.
For Schiano to turn the job down there has to be something wrong with someone. Maybe it's Schiano, but the preponderance of the evidence says otherwise.
Petrino asked about the Michigan job and could not get an interview. Brian Kelly is running around saying he can't guarantee he'll be back at Cincinnati next year but will not be considered for the job. Les Miles... well, we all know the fiasco that turned into.
I would like to believe in the magic of smokescreens, but when a phone call with Les Miles, Mary Sue Coleman, and Bill Martin that should remain secret hits WTKA, then here, then the Free Press the problem with the search is not its obscurity but its transparency. And it's transparent that Michigan is flailing, divided amongst itself, and rapidly running out of plausible options.
Brady Hoke is not a plausible option. Neither are Mike Debord, Ron English, or current future rejecter du jour Jim Grobe. But who else is there? Michigan is determined to eliminate anyone who's "off" in any way. Grobe is not off. This is Jim Grobe:
This is about perpetuating a culture. It is not about finding a good football coach. Anyone outside of that culture faces the daunting task of conforming to it instead of changing it, and that has driven off coaches even if it's "insane" not to take the job. Something is rotten in the state of Schembechler, and it will not yield the throne.
And what about Grobe, the coach? Old. No record of how well he recruits. Runs a crazy offensive system that may or may not translate to higher levels with (possibly) better talent. A huge, huge risk to anyone who has performance foremost on their mind. Obviously, this is not the case here.
Les Miles: Uh... hello?
Mary Sue Coleman: Hi, Les. It's Mary Sue Coleman. Let me patch in Bill Martin.
Bill Martin: (faintly) Hello? Hello?
BM: (faintly) Hello?
MSC: Turn the phone around, Bill.
MSC: YOU'RE SPEAKING INTO THE WRONG END OF THE PHONE.
BM: (louder) Oh.
MSC: Les, as you know, the University of Michigan is looking for a head coach. We would like any prospective candidates to have a strong understanding of the program's history, an established track record of success--
BM: -- and sailing experience --
MSC: -- as a college football head coach, and --
BM: -- any other sort of boating-type experience. Motor. Catamaran. You know. Water-type things.
MSC: and a strong rapport with his charges. Anyway, Les, you've just won the SEC, have a 36-6 record in three years at LSU, and are well loved by your program. You also lettered twice under Bo and love this program more than any other. So...
BM: ... do you know anyone that fits our criteria?
Miles: Uh... me?
BM: I didn't see any jib or mizzenmast experience on your resume.
Miles: Right. That's because I'm a football coach. I coach football.
BM: In fact, your resume made no reference to sailing whatsoever. So you're out, asshole.
MSC: I think what Bill is trying to say is that we would like to offer you--
BM: --the opportunity to tell us who might be our perfect candidate. Reminder: Michigan ties, success, sailing.
Miles: No, sorry. I don't know anyone who fits that criteria.
BM: Well screw you, buddy!
MSC: Bill... next time let me do the talking.
BM: Lloyd says Brady Hoke dresses up like Long John Silver on most Tuesdays. Let's hire him.
Press release from the LSU official site:
BATON ROUGE -- LSU football coach Les Miles issued the following statement on Tuesday regarding the conversation he had with Michigan last week:
"I had a conversation with Michigan last week that covered a wide range of topics. I was doing nothing more than helping them with their search for a football coach, just as any loyal alumnus might do. It was nothing more than that.
"I'm not a candidate for that job and I will not be a candidate for the job. I was only assisting them in their search for a coach. I have a great job at a wonderful place, a place that my family calls home. It's time that Michigan goes on with their search for a football coach. I'll say it again, I'm going to be the coach at LSU next season."
I don't believe that explanation for a hot second and there's always the chance of a post-bowl 180, but the flame dims once again.
Amongst the fanciful NFL names being bandied about is Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. Terry Foster:
The Michigan Wolverines want Les Miles as their coach. But do not be surprised if Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis becomes a prime candidate if he is fired at the end of the season.
The Wolverines are obviously in no rush to fill this position and Lewis could be a nice fall back. Lewis turned down coaching opportunities at California and Michigan State because he wanted a shot at being a head coach in the NFL. Now he is in trouble and he is one of those guys who wants a fall back. Do not be surprised if he resigns before the Bengals fire him and he is in line for the Michigan job in the blink of an eye.
Okay, whatever, Terry Foster is as reliable as a ham sandwich and half as tasty. This means nothing. But it did spur this out of Lewis:
Lewis refuted reports that he is a candidate for the vacant head football coaching position at the University of Michigan. ...
"Marvin Lewis doesn't know any of these reports," Lewis said. "I appreciate the fact that you guys haven't brought those up, until now. Let's beat the San Francisco 49ers."
Marvin Lewis doesn't have to take this crap! Marvin Lewis was in 'Nam! Marvin Lewis doesn't talk about jobs, he loves napalm! Marvin Lewis!
Okay, I'm a little obsessed with coaches talking in the third person.
The Free Press confirms a part of what was here yesterday:
Louisiana State coach Les Miles appears to be a Michigan coaching candidate again.
Miles had a phone conversation Friday morning with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin and school president Mary Sue Coleman, according to several people with knowledge of the call.
(Hey, look... anonymous sourcing.) This was inevitable given how widespread the information was, but the heat will be on Miles once again after his pre-SECCG performance. Read what you will into this: Michigan had no comment, Miles' agent had no comment, LSU's AD...
"He and Bo Schembechler were real close," Bertman said. "If Bo Schembechler were alive, I doubt he could have got him to go to Michigan. It's hard for people who don't live in the South to understand."
In another article:
"They're frustrated because they didn't get what they want," Bertman said. "You can't get Les Miles -- the guy signed his contract. It's over."
Said contract, of course, doesn't increase Miles' buyout one cent.
Bertman's turning into sort of an ass about these things. On Michigan's ability to contact Miles:
University of Michigan athletic director Bill Martin received permission once from his Louisiana State counterpart Skip Bertman to talk to LSU coach Les Miles and didn't use it.
If Martin has any interest in talking to Miles now, the athletic director will have to ask again.
"I'd be under the assumption that the permission to speak to Les Miles has expired," Bertman said Monday. "We've signed the contract."
Of course, three years ago when it was LSU looking for a coach, things were different:
Oklahoma State Head Coach Les Miles has met with an LSU representative, despite Oklahoma State denying LSU permission to interview Miles. Since Miles contract does not require the university's OK for him to interview, LSU is proceeding with Miles consent. Miles has a one year buyout clause in his contract, or approximately $1-1.5 million. The fact that Miles is (apparently) moving forward with LSU despite OSU denying permission signals that he is very interested in hearing what the Tigers have to say.
They're like Klingons or Commies: all they understand is strength. To negotiate is weakness. Take everything from them, and take it whenever. No quarter.
I mean, seriously: what's sure to be an irritating round of media people declaring they're shocked, shocked that Miles would even think about possibly considering the Michigan job has already begun. Sports radio was ripping him this morning. The correct response to this: who cares? There are no ethics in these situations, as southern schools amply demonstrate every time someone gets fired, LSU foremost among them. If the Tigers are looking for a new coach, all these delicate ethics will get thrown out the window. New coach requires virgin sacrifices? Someone call up the evangelicals!
Grist. So... will Miles take it and how serious is the offer? I don't know. Many people complained about the "lowball" 2.5 million figure, but other reports have the figure closer to three million when incentives are factored in. Given that Coleman was involved in Ferentz's acquisition and extremely large you-stay-here-now contract, I think her involvement is a major positive and believe Michigan will/has offered an extremely competitive salary.
Again, it's hard to parse what's real and what's not: I've heard Miles has turned the offer down and it's really truly over; I've heard he's probably going to take it if he can work out the MNC game stuff. Who knows? And why did West Virginia have to eat it against the 'Stache? Damn you, Pat White's dislocated thummmmmmmb!
One thing worth repeating: for whatever reason, Brian Kelly is never going to get even a cursory look.