IMO, since Bo left, UM has often looked not at the strength of its leaders but their weaknesses. So, it has often chosen opposite, new leaders who lack these weaknesses, but who often also lack the strengths of their predecessors. And that has led to serious problems.
Consider first coaching. UM went from the defensively-principled, tough-as-nails Bo to the offensively-minded Moeller. But Moeller was perceived to have an alcohol problem, which he reportedly refused to get help for. So (regardless of the truth or falsity of this perception), UM turned to a man they perceived as more principled and intelligent Carr. Yet, when Carr’s record began to plateau, he was called too old and predictable. So, UM turned to the inventive spread-coach, RR. But his defensive incompetence then made UM go the opposite way. So, now UM is back to a defensive-minded but offensively disorganized Hoke.
In choosing its AD, UM also has seemed to choose each succeeding leader as the opposite of his predecessor. For example, under the cloud of scandal, the aggressive fund-raiser, Roberson was replaced as AD by his opposite: the less profit-minded, more flamboyant and humanistic Goss. Then, after Goss led the UM AD to the brink of financial ruin, UM chose the opposite once again: a quiet, out-of-touch financier named Martin. Ill-equipped for the myriad public relations disasters during the hiring and demise of RR, however, Martin himself was then also was replaced by a dramatically different type of AD: the publicity-seeking brand-maker Brandon. His public relations campaign seemed to work wonders at first. But the obsession with publicity and profit ended up making UM look far worse.
So what can we learn from the past forty years of UM’s athletic leadership choices? Most clearly they have taught us what not to do—that is, just choose the opposite type of leader from the one you have now. It does not work for very long. Why? When you choose a leader, he fills his program or department with one type of student or employee. But if you then fire him and choose just the opposite type of leader, there is no growth in the program. It is like putting matter together with anti-matter. If they collide, what do you get? They annihilate each other in a violent explosion. In an organization, that means turnover, disorganization, and chaos.
So, no matter how angry we feel sometimes, we should learn from past experience. We should recognize not just the bad in our past leaders and seek their opposites. We should also recognize the good in our past leaders, then search for new ones with their best characteristics. The toughness of Bo, the fire of Moeller, the inventiveness of RR, the intellect of Carr, the likeability of Hoke. The decision about whom we should choose now I leave to others, who are far more knowledgeable than me.
But IMO, only if we seek to see the Best in our own past Leaders can we hope to find the new Leaders and Best.