In trying to find an answer to that question, I did conclude proof that it does actually exist. However, and at the risk of committing blasphemy, using such rudimentary skills as logic and fact, your Michigan Man has nothing whatsoever to do with being a successful UM football coach and everything to do with being a student, fan and probably doesn't hurt to have graduated from that fine academic institution.
In reaching this conclusion, I merely looked at our glorious football history and matched the records of the head coaches with ties to the University and those that didn't. I could probably stop here because you probably know the rest. But for the few who don't, here is what I found.
Perhaps the first "Michigan Man" hailed from the great state of W.Va., understood not a damn thing about the University of Michigan, other than it's label as a "darn, fine school" that wanted to field a good to great football team. Needless to say, he did fall in love with AA and the university, and as to his task. Well it's pretty obvious he accomplished that. I mean he only made us the most feared football program in America and compelled Grantland Rice to come up with the now famous "Champions of the West" title we all hold so dearly. But was he a "Michigan Man" when hired?
The second man that might have earned this label coached under Stagg at University of Chicago but had a modicum of success there, prior to taking the job at Princeton. This caused great concern among the "Princeton Men" because he was the first non-alumnus to hold the head coaching job there. He merely took a team that had won one game the prior season and over his tenure there produced a record of 36 wins w/only 9 losses and five ties.
He then moved westward and took the helm at Michigan, again w/o any ties to the school as either a fb player or student. In fact, he never played college football at all. Stagg tagged him as his successor because of his "acute understanding of the game," and an "ability to bond with the young student-athlete."
Now at UM, a well recognized football power with Yost having laid the foundation for greatness, he had another similar task at hand. After the great Yost years, a not so famous gentleman by the name of Kipke took over and enjoyed great success early. However, after a nice run of five winning seasons, producing four conference champions and two NCs during that period, he finished up 1-7, 4-4 and 1-7 again. Fritz, COME ON DOWN.
Just like at Princeton, he returned UM to its former glory, but despite his outstanding winning % of .800, he had only one undefeated season and one NC, that being his final M team. He had done his job and the program was re-establshed as a national force once again. So, actually Kipke produced one more NC than did Fritz. Hmmmmm. Also, he authored the concept of two-platoon football, and just like Yost before him who created the position of linebacker and was first to utilize the forward pass as a major part of offense, were truly innovators in very sense of the word. Sounds somewhat similar to RR.
Now we begin the era of the true "Michigan Man." That was, of course Bennie Oosterbaan. How could he fail?. Up to that time, he was the greatest fb player in UM history and couldn't miss. Afterall, he was a "Michigan Man."
Inheriting Crisler's players, he finished his first seasons at 9-0, giving us back-to-back NC years. He followed that up with two successive Big Ten championship years, but would never have another undefeated record. In fact in his first season of primarily "Oosterbaan" recruits, he produced a W-L record of 4-5. He had some decent years, hitting above .600 overall, but his idea of a western recruiting trip was the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. He loved AA so damn much, he didn't want to leave it, even if it meant to sustain the program's lifeblood, recruiting. His final two years produced a record of 7-9-2 and his final year's record was 2-6-1. After 1950 w/Crisler's recruits, he never won another championship of any kind.
We follow that up with another "Michigan Man," one Chalmers "Bump" Elliot, who, just like Oosterbaan before him was a great UM player, but no fb head coaching experience. From 1961 trhough 1968 Bump resided over a pretty rough stretch, and finishing 4-5 his first season. But remember, this was with Bennie's players. He then experienced two straight winning seasons w/records of 5-4 and 6-3. But, and damn, this had to hurt, he finished 1962 at 1-7, '63 at 3-4-2, but finally got his only conference and RB championships in 1964, finishing up at 8-1 after demolishing OR in the RB. The very next year it was back to 4-6, a record he repeated just two years later, one year prior to his final season here where led by Ron Johnson, he enjoyed a fine 8-2 record, but alas again w/o a conference championship and going out with the stigma of the 50-14 loss to arch-rival OSU. He did one outstanding thing in those final few years, however. He recruited more future AAs in any five year period in Michigan History. Any caveats here? Oh yeah, we needed someone to take these tremendous athletes and turn them into the AAs they'd become. Let's get another Michgian Man, right? "Well, not so fast," as Corso like to say."
Our next head coach could hardly be described as a "Michigan Man," for the sole reason he came from (insert GASP here) fucking Ohio State and was mentored at Miami and in Columbus by none other than that feared General from the South, Woody "Fucking" Hayes. How the hell does this qualify as a "Michigan Man?" Easily, read on.
We all know what he accomplished here, and the records of Mo and Lo who followed him. So me thinks many of our fan base are confused about what constitutes a true "Michigan Man." I like to think of it as I described above, former player perhaps, definitely a "supporting" fan of the head coach, and as aforementioned, it's nice to cap it off with traceable lineage to the school itself. The others? Well, we can see by the above what the two "Michigan Man" accomplished throughout the '50s and '60s.
So based on my understanding of our great record that includes most all-time wins, highest all-time winning % and strongest all-time SOS, "Michigan Men" are described as those above. Rosenberg, btw, does not qualify because support for program is a must, especially under the most trying times. Any that attempts, either successfully or not, to undermine or sabotage the program, can in now way, fucking shape or form be labeled as such. He's just a "fair-to-middlin" reporter with lots of unnamed sources.
What about Yost, Crisler and Bo? Well, they were great Michigan coaches, who through their success on the field enjoyed what Bo liked to refer to as "the privilege of Michigan."
But, like all of you, we all have our own ideas of the criteria to actually be any and all things. These three are our greatest coache of all-time, none of which had a tie to the school prior to taiking over. You may qualify and label the term "Michigan Man " anyway you see fit.