As background, I am lifelong Michigan fan that grew up in Ohio but did not actually go to the school, so I'm hoping this might provide me some insight into a concept that I never grasped the importance of.
What's the deal with demanding a Michigan man? I don't understand why a seemingly incredibly smart man like Dave Brandon would willfully limit his pool of resources in one of the biggest decisions of his professional life.
Now, like I said I didn't grow up in Michigan (only born), go to Michigan, play for Michigan, or anything like that so this might be my naivete. I just don't seem to think it's that important for a coaching candidate to be in this extremely exclusive club that doesn't seem to take kindly RR types that dare shake the tree a bit. Is the Michigan football program, at its core, that different from any other major program in the nation? Yes, we have the most wins, boatloads of historical benchmarks, Heismans, et al. But this seems to be an antiquated idea rooted in the Schembechler era, and I don't think "we've always done it that way" should be the reason to do anything.
College football is far too competitive to rely on tradition alone. Notre Dame has proven that. You have to adapt with the players and schemes and norms of the times, and I feel like we're stuck in the 80s and 90s. Do you really need to have intimate knowledge of the school before you take the job to succeed? Look at the BCS national champion coaches:
Gene Chizik: Prior Auburn DC for 3 years (does this make him an "Auburn Man")
Nick Saban: No prior connection to Alabama or LSU
Urban Meyer: No prior connection to Florida
Les Miles: No prior connection to LSU
Mack Brown: No prior connection to Texas
Pete Carroll: No prior connection to USC
Jim Tressel: Coached at OSU from 1983-85
Larry Coker: OC under Butch Davis before taking over
Bob Stoops: No prior connection to Oklahoma
Bobby Bowden: WR coach from 1963-65 before taking over in 1976
Phil Fulmer: OL coach from 1989-92 before taking over
I see a lot of coaches on that list that had no connection whatsoever to the program before winning a national championship. So what makes Michigan so much different than everyone else? It seems a little insular and incestuous to say "They just wouldn't get it." That's something Jeep owners do and it's annoying and ridicuous.
And yes, I'm fully aware I'll be negged to death. Please feel free to correct me here. I fully admit I could be naive.