Hello: Adam Braithwaite, LB/S Coach

Submitted by Brian on February 11th, 2010 at 1:52 PM

Who's Adam Braitwaite? He's just a guy no one has heard of because he was a quality control assistant and at some seriously small schools before that. Googling turns up zero about this version of Adam Braithwaite before today. Press release ho.

Rodriguez Names Adam Braithwaite as Safeties/Outside Linebackers Coach

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez announced Thursday (Feb. 11) the hiring of Adam Braithwaite as the program’s safeties/outside linebackers coach. Braithwaite joins the Wolverines’ staff as a full-time assistant coach after spending the past two seasons as a staff assistant.

“We are excited to promote Adam to be our safeties/outside linebackers coach,” said Rodriguez. “He has been a loyal hard-working member of our staff for several years and knows our system. I believe he will bring a lot of energy both in coaching and recruiting.”

As previously announced during Rodriguez’s signing day press conference (Feb. 3), defensive coordinator Greg Robinson will coach the linebackers. Bruce Tall will continue to work with the defensive line.

Assistant head coach Tony Gibson will coach the cornerbacks and free safety position. He will also add the responsibility of coordinating the special teams. Rodriguez will continue to have all of the coaches remain involved with a certain phase of special teams, but Gibson will manage that phase of the game on a daily basis and on gameday.

Braithwaite was the defensive coordinator at Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) during the 2007 season. He worked with the linebackers and coordinated the special teams for the program’s conference championship team and Division III National Playoff run. Prior to accepting his position at Hampden-Sydney, Braithwaite was a defensive graduate assistant for Rodriguez at West Virginia (2005-06). He assisted with the secondary and linebackers and helped the Mountaineers win a pair of bowl games (2006 Sugar and 2007 Gator) and the 2005 Big East title.

Braithwaite was the safeties coach at William & Mary in 2004 when the Tribe claimed the Atlantic 10 Championship and reached the semifinals of the Division I-AA National Championship. He gained his first college coaching position as the wide receivers and tight end coach at West Liberty State College (2003).

Braithwaite was a four-year letterman at defensive back for William & Mary (1997-2001), and was the starting strong safety on the Tribe’s 2001 Atlantic 10 co-Championship team. He earned his bachelor of arts from William & Mary (2002) and his master’s degree in athletic coaching education from West Virginia (2007).


So… uninspiring. At least they know the guy and the chances the transplanted organ doesn't take are low.



February 11th, 2010 at 2:03 PM ^

I guess we have to trust RR on this one. I hope he isn't just a Yes-Man to RR. It just seems that an elite school like Michgan could get someone with, you know, D1 expirence. Or is that asking too much?

Anyway, Adam welcome to the coaching staff, and don't blow it kid.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

Jeff Casteel came from the same and perhaps even less "uninspiring" fabric as Braithwaite.

California University of Pennsylvania (the VULCANS!)
and then small town West Virginia college (Sheperd) and then UTEP.

When Casteel showed up at WVU for the 2001 inaugural season, WVU fans were probably whispering to themselves "WTF" as well. He turned out to be very good DC and LB coach (James "Dirty" Davis, Grant Wiley, among others).

I understand the lack of enthusiasm so I refer to the Zen Master parable:

The Zen Master says: "We'll see."

Scott Dreisbac…

February 11th, 2010 at 2:06 PM ^

What's not to like about this. After all, we of all people should understand the growing pains that accompany bringing in a new coach with different philosophies and styles.

This guy has been around and should be able to immediately continue teaching the players in the same manner or at least along the same lines that RR and Gerg want. Sure, they could have tried to pluck some NFL guy, but why? If the staff feels comfortable that Braithwaite can do the job, I'm all for it.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:12 PM ^

If our D only gives up like 35 a game in big ten play next year, this guy will look like a genius.

Also, from the comments above: "...less uninspiring..." and "...immediately continue...." Confusing.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

Give the kid a shot, it's not like there is anywhere else to go but up at this point. I say the guy brings some youthful energy to the ranks and steps in right away and helps in recruiting. RR was all over the coaches conference and interviewing people, but maybe he just wanted to hire someone that he KNOWS fits what he's trying to do as opposed to sticking a sqaure peg in another round hole.

Not every hire we make has to be a huge splash; sometimes it the quietest hires we make that make the most difference.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:48 PM ^

How could this be? RR blew it again. I really think that he should have gotten Tenuta to be our LB/S coach. He would have taken the job if only RR would have offered.

Seriously, I don't have any feelings one way or another about this. The guy is a no-name with little experience, but at the same time, all good coaches started out as no-names at some point. Also, he already knows the system and can obviously work with GERG and RR.

los barcos

February 11th, 2010 at 2:25 PM ^

cant say im enamored with this hiring. i, like many others, was hoping GERG would have much more of a say in the hiring. and maybe he did, for all i know, but from an outsider perspective it smells like a rodriguez crony.

i guess we'll see how it goes.

los barcos

February 11th, 2010 at 3:45 PM ^

1) if my eyes and general logical deductions havent deceived me, then its actually the OLB and SS. but you knew that already by reading the bold headline "Rodriguez Names Adam Braithwaite as Safeties/Outside Linebackers Coach "

2) i didnt say there was a "name" i preferred, only that i hope that GERG had the definitive say in this hiring. we saw what happened when assistant and coach werent on the same page, and it has not been pretty.

3) seeing as how this guy has been around the block with RR it seems more of an RR hire than a GERG hire. but, like i said, i have no idea whether or not that is true. which lead me to my conclusion...

"meh....i guess we'll see how it goes." no where in there do i express distaste or anger or CAPS LOCK FRUSTRATION. nor do i anoint him the next mike tomlin as a compulsive gambler does below.


February 11th, 2010 at 4:31 PM ^

no where in there do i express distaste or anger or CAPS LOCK FRUSTRATION. nor do i anoint him the next mike tomlin as a compulsive gambler does below.

Did I say you did?

I responded to your point of "cronyism". Hiring from within is not the same as cronyism, unless you're prepared to call every coaching staff Bo, Moeller, and Lloyd ever put together "cronies".

Sextus Empiricus

February 11th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

There are definitely good reasons for this at times. This has to be weighed against the alternative (whatever that might have been.)

Chip Kelly didn't even play football - came from New Hampshire by way of John Hopkins and Columbia - and he's a pretty good HC for Oregon.

The most interesting thing here to me is Gibson to special teams. That was an issue last Fall. Brandon Smith's glaring oversight on KO coverage vs. PSU comes to mind immediately, as well as the Space Emperor's ill advised fake. We're breaking in new starting FG and Punt specialists. More power to Gibson. At the time of these oversights - there was much discussion about whether we needed a special teams coach. RR said he didn't have the bandwidth (since coaching numbers are limited.) This is his answer. Gibson needs to throw some water on this fire.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

This doesn't seem like that much of a reach for me. The guy has already been an assistant at smaller schools and he's only coaching a position with three players. For a guy of his age and level of experience, that seems appropriate and I can't imagine getting an experienced guy to come in and just be a safety coach. I guess what worries me more than his relative anonymity is the fact that he clearly was a Plan C or Plan D.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:47 PM ^

On what evidence are you basing your stone-cold, lead-pipe assertion that Braithwaite was a Plan C or Plan D?

Did you take part in the interviews?

Were you a part of the hiring decision?

If you don't have any idea, it's best to stop throwing garbage in the air. Perhaps this guy was the best candidate for what Rich Rod wants to do this year with this position, and if he is, you're in no position to criticize the decision 7 months before any of Braithwaite's work product is on the field.


February 11th, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

No assertions necessary. It is public knowledge that Michigan interviewed several candidates before Greg Robinson was appointed to take over the linebackers job. If Michigan had wanted to promote totally from within, they could have done that the day that Hopson left and that hole wouldn't have been there for the critical last month of recruiting.


February 11th, 2010 at 5:40 PM ^

plan all along -- "leaving the hole." For one, RR didn't seem to be too concerned about the hire in his public statements after Gerg role was announced. This seemed odd to me, but I was okay with it because he used Singletary in the interim with recruiting, a guy recruits were familiar with. I'm speculating, but I doubt recruits were familiar with Braithwaite (can quaility control guys contact recruits? I dunno). Right after signing day, RR made some comments that he'd probably have someone hired within a week or so (can't remember the exact timeframe, but it was short). That seemed a pretty confident prediction to me, as if he had the guy lined up already and just was waiting until signing day flurry of activity was over.

As you say, if he'd wanted to plug Braithwaite in after Hopson left, of course he could have. But I wonder if he didn't for reasons above. Or perhaps when they decided to have Robinson take on the LBs, they knew they already had a secondary coach in the wings. I'm sure RR and his staff talk career path and it was likely not the first time he thought of the guy's future.

On the other hand, you may be right. Braithwaite might have been a back up plan. But I don't think anyone outside the staff could say with any authority.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:45 PM ^

I could care less, we know nothing about these coaches and their potential effectiveness within the program. A cordinator you can kind of look at the resume, but position coaches no way. I'll assume he's the next Urban Meyer, like when Holtz promoted him to ND's staff from nerd patrol, I mean Quality control, until I see different.

1 note I did see that was odd. So it appears he is responsible for the SS(Deep Coverage) and the LB/S hybrid(run support, Cover TE, Slot). Then it says Gibson is responsible for the corners and FS(run support, underneath coverage). Wouldn't it make more sense for Gibson to have the SS if it is included with the cb's as they are more coverage related positions and the FS and Hybrid are more similar type players playing near the LOS??


February 11th, 2010 at 2:50 PM ^

This is always the best option if it is available to you (i.e., if you think you have someone who can handle the job). Take it from someone with experience in this area -- hiring people you don't know is a crapshoot. They can look great on paper and/or interview well, but turn out to be completely unable to cope with the particulars of your organization.


February 11th, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

This guy comes from "quality control" (whatever that means).

Aren't those the people responsible for the practice log thing? Even if we don't get violations levelled against us, there was major droppage of the ball. Things were not done that should have been done. The fact that not only could we not bring in a bigger name, but that we promoted someone from the department that failed in their responsibility is disconcerting. Maybe brothaman had nothing to do with all that mess, but, I don't know much about him other than that association with the practice log mess.

Secondly, this whole reallignment seems like it might stretch some people thin.

Gerg is DC and coaching LBs.
Gibson is coaching CBs, FS, an coordinating special teams (that's A LOT)
And so, this Adam guy was promoted to coach what... One position? (SS)

The fact we didn't bring in someone that can coach a whole position group leaves a lot on the plates of Gerg and Gibson... That's concerning.

And for that matter, why don't we have a Special Teams coordinator? Don't most schools have someone, who, that's their whole job (just like DC and OC?)


February 11th, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

The last time a favorite team of mine hired a nobody coach who played ball and coached a little at William and Mary, it didnt work out.

That was the Steelers and Mike Tomlin. Oh, wait, that did work out. Pretty damn well too.

Good to see most people being reasonable about this. I'm pretty sure the people freaking out about this hire will never ever be satisfied in life. Fact is, most folks on this site knows squat about coaching college defensive positions.

Complaining about not hiring Tenuta? Did I really read that? Shit, he should have gone after Muschamp. Rich Rod is clearly an idiot for not hiring a top shelf DC to take a step down and coach just positions under another DC. What the fuck is he thinking.

Bitching about cronyism and UM not having a home run hire? It's a LB coach, for gawd's sake. He needs to fit in, work hard and teach tackling. I'm pretty sure if RR thinks this guy can do it, then he will be able to do it. Coaches hiring people they like, they've worked with before and can be a chemistry fit with the rest of the staff, if thats what cronyism is, then sign me up. Besides, with just one or two exceptions, the concept of coaching cronyism pretty much worked for the 40 years prior to RR coming aboard.

Man, some of you need to find new freaking hobbies.


February 11th, 2010 at 3:03 PM ^

They need to win now. There's no time for an acclimation curve with an unfamiliar coach. If that curve costs M a game or two, that could be enough to send RR (and his nicely-resume'd LB/S coach) packing by the new regime.