I Thought Real Friends Would Have Stayed

Submitted by Brian on August 25th, 2011 at 12:21 PM

This is clearly not part of the 2011 football preview, except it is. It was not possible to write this year's "The Story" without closing the door on the Rodriguez era. Thus this.

rodriguez-robinson

I meant to, but never got around to, writing one of the Rich Rodriguez obituaries that sprouted across the Michigan blogosphere in the aftermath of his firing. At the time I was busy panicking about Les Miles, the lack of Jim Harbaugh, and the possibility someone with as thin a resume as Brady Hoke would get hired.

By the time I'd stopped railing about The Process and the hire it begat, Rodriguez's corpse was cool. People were already complaining about how I wouldn't let the last three years go. So I dropped it. They say things happen for a reason, though, and usually say so at press conferences.

A couple months later I was at show at the Magic Stick. We had no knowledge of any of the bands that were playing; we'd been encouraged to see the headliner by a friend of the MGoWife. Whatever talent the headliner had was overwhelmed by the impression she was the worst person ever*, but the second opener was this quirky trio from Ypsi called Lightning Love. Lightning Love is a twee indie band whose drummer (now) looks like he was acquired from the Megadeth surplus store. Most of their songs are about being a miserable discontented loser surrounded by people just like you**. MGoWife adored them, bought the album and all that, and eventually I came to think of one of their songs as The Ballad of Rich Rodriguez.

This is it. Yes, you're going to have to do this obit multimedia style:


Lightning Love - Friends

Thirty Josh Grobans agree this is more in the spirit of the Rodriguez era than Josh Groban songs. And that's hugely depressing, isn't it?

It's his kid that kills me. Scattered amongst shots of Rodriguez emoting like a mofo are pictures of his son Rhett doing the same. At this point he must wonder why the universe hates his dad. Three years ago Rodriguez was promising his son as a member of the class of 2017. A few months ago this was happening after the Illinois game…

…a few months later it was this…

sadcar2

…and some heretofore innocuous sports photographer got a terrifying glimpse into life as a paparazzi.

The universe's capper:

rich-rodriguez-brady-hoke

The universe has watched your gladiatorial antics, Rich Rodriguez, and it is not impressed. Thumbs down.

In retrospect the downed thumbs were inevitable. I mean… the Groban thing. Come on. It was always something. It was Groban or another fake controversy about how people need to "get a life" or his inability to "get it" about rivals. Rodriguez wasn't subsumed by the overwhelming Michigan-ness of Michigan. He either failed to understand the need to throw himself at the shoes of the Great Tradition or just couldn't be anyone other than the guy who grew up in the "holler" and married someone my mother would certainly refer to as "that woman." You know how mothers do.

So the legacy program and local media rejected the organ transplant. The program started throwing t-cells at Rodriguez on day one. Rodriguez chipped in with stormy sideline antics and pouting. When he swore it was weakness; when he choked up it was weakness.

All of that was unambiguously negative for a football coach, but an offshoot of that was having your kid with you in a genuinely touching way. For a human this is the definition of low expectations. You publicly express your affection for your son. You are not a grim military object; you are capable of squeezing emotions other than rage out of your gray heart. Congratulations for not being a one-dimensional character straight out of American Beauty.

But I can't recall ever seeing the kind of father and son shots Rhett and Rich Rodriguez feature in before. Coaches aren't humans. They are walking soundbites wrapped in great swirling cloaks of mythology. Rap on one of their chests. You will get a hollow clang and a statement about senior leadership. Kick sand in one of their faces. You will get a lecture from Peter the Great. Peter the Great will be confused and incensed that he cannot sentence you to hang. Tell one his aunt has been dismembered by bikers on PCP and you will get a statement about senior leadership. Seniors don't do PCP and rip aunts limb from limb, because they have leadership.

Rodriguez was human. He was just this guy. He wasn't supernatural or metallic. If you rapped his chest he would probably get a little weepy. He did not seem like a great leader of men, or a colossus astride anything, or even a dude fully in control of his shit. He, like most of us, was doing okay but sometimes—too often—he was not. When Michigan instituted "The Team The Team The Team" as its official pregame hype theme it drove the point home: there is God, and there is man, and Rich Rodriguez is not God.

There was no clearer evidence of that than his answer to a question posed days before the Wisconsin game. Michigan was 7-3 but a teetering 7-3. The question was something about "how he projected the third season at Michigan." A coach would have blustered something about senior leadership. Rodriguez told it like it was, and though it was already kinda over this seems like the moment when Rodriguez accepted his fate:

"I thought we'd be further ahead.

rich-rodriguez-stadium

stonum-doom

tate-forcier-rich-rodriguez-2009-9-12-20-11-5

gerg[5]

Fire-Rich-Rod

"I thought a lot of things when I got here."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

*[The chorus of every song was functionally "I'm sorry I don't care about you or any of the things you care about, except I'm not sorry."]

**[Or they've been arranged for marimba by a Michigan State fan… which… wow, internet. Vast and deep are your reaches.]

Comments

M-Wolverine

August 25th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

But to be fair, the violations didn't span the time over LC...the horribly shoddy paperwork that might have caught the problems (or not, we'll never know) started before RR, but CARA forms aren't in fact require, or a violation. Might they have revealed issues, and prevented a bigger one, and certainly contributed? Most likely.  But they're not actually violations. Which I agree, are ugly just because as Don so aptly put it, make someone getting a minor speeding ticket labeled a "criminal".

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^

 

We can forget about the unwillingness to adapt his style to his talent and conference, his refusal to pay any meaningful attention to defense, and Josh Grobin, but the NCAA stain will never go away. 

 

This was the cold-blooded, evil fucking genius of Michael Rosenberg.  Hit Rodriguez where Michigan was most sensitive.  Right in the respectability.  Pow.

It would never have been enough to write a series of columns criticizing Rodriguez.  Nor would it do, to simply turn the July CARA memo over to Mark Snyder, and let him ask Compliance Services about it.  No; there needed to be an "investigative report."  Turn it into a breach of the iconic Michigan respectability.  Make certain that a full-fledged NCAA investigation would result.  And to insure that outcome, what you do is make sure that no one at Michigan knew what was going on, until you splashed it on the front pages.  The weekend before the season-opener.  With about 20 hours' warning to the Athletic Department.

And that required the kind of anonymous-sourced stuff that Rosenberg got from unnamed "former players."  And the icing on the cake, the sandbagging of Stokes and Hawthorne in their interviews on the record.  (Good God, if there were ever any abuse of Michigan student-athletes, that was it!)*

Let's just be really fucking clear about this; the NCAA investigation was a purely intended product of what Rosenberg did.  The investigation hurt Michigan's program, simply by virtue of its existence.  while it lasted, it cast doubt on the future of Michigan.  It cast doubt on the future of Rodriguez.  All because Michigan's "storied program" was exquisitely sensitive to that kind of pressure, and because recruits and assistant coaching hires were highly sensitive to those kinds of problems.

That was all precisely as Rosenberg intended.  He ought to be the most hated person in the history of Michigan football.  Benedict Arnold, Tokyo Rose and Aldrich Ames rolled into one.  Julius and Ethel and Michael Rosenberg.

"The NCAA stain"?!?  I really loathe Michigan fans like you, 81.93. 

*The story/interview that somebody ought to be doing now, is the exit interview with Stokes, about his abuse at the hands of Rosenberg.  Because the real monstrosity in the Freep's arrogant sanctimony, was that the paper claimed it was just acting in the public interest with the story.  That they were trying to uphold NCAA rules that were designed to protect players from abuse.  In fact, what Rosenberg did was to flout his own paper's ethical rules, and abused his two interview subjects, Stokes and Hawthorne.  So let's be real clear -- I say Michael Rosenberg violated his own paper's guidelines.  I say Rosenberg is unethical.  If he doesn't like it, he can sue me.  He knows who I am.  But he'd never dare to do it.

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

gets a "Freep" along with it.  I would not like to ever see any mention of Michigan and the NCAA in 2009, without some scathing reference to the Free Press.  Messaging needs to be simple, and direct, and it needs to be repeated, if it is to have any effect.

So, to answer the question.  Yes, when it comes to the NCAA investigation of Rich Rodriguez and Michigan, it most certainly does have to be about the Freep.  Yes it does.

81.93

August 25th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

I am not just a fan.  I am a former player who was a part of a run of five straight Big Ten titles.  My teammates and I, like decades of players before and after us, were part of a clean program that cherished its well-deserved reputation for integrity.  You can blame the Free Press for inviting the NCAA to the doors of Schembechler Hall.  But what the NCAA found inside those doors is on RR's shoulders.  We did, in fact, break NCAA rules.  Silly rules, yes.  But rules nonetheless.  We are better than that, and I think you know that. 

Go Blue.

Michael

August 25th, 2011 at 2:14 PM ^

What the NCAA found has just as much to do with our compliance department as it did with the coaching staff. Was it RR's responsibility to understand and follow the rules? Yes. Was it also the responsibility of the compliace department to understand and ensure the rules are followed? Also yes. Both parties are at fault, and even some in compliance woefully so, and that's why they were fired for not doing their jobs.

The blame does not rest SQUARELY on RR's shoulders; he just happens to be the most public figure.

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 2:22 PM ^

It wasn't just on Rodriguez.  You'd have known that, if you had read the Notice of Allegations for the Committee on Infractions' Case No. M-324, the Michigan Response, the Rodriguez Response, and the final findings.

Indeed, you could argue, if you were somebody like Drew Sharp, that some of what the Free Press wrote was true.  But beyond any doubt, what the Free Press got MOST wrong, was their original emphasis on Rodriguez and Barwis personally, and allegations of their wanton abuse of CARA time.  And that was what was almost entirely wrong.  The NCAA barely paid any lip-service to Barwis, although people nominally assigned to S&C were mentioned.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'd have known that much of the problem was with Labadie and a number of other Department people.  I still have no idea why Alex Herron lied, but that also had no apparent connection to Rodriguez.

There was an allegation against Rodriguez, along the lines you suggest:  Failure to Promote an Atmosphere of Compliance.  And the NCAA ate that allegation.

As I say, you are a perfectly good example of what I am talking about.  That cadre of Michigan people who, God Bless You All, prize the Michigan Way of doing things properly.  If only you would start with Rosenberg, on how to do things the right and ethical way.

Rodriguez is gone, and he isn't coming back.  I'm not deluded about that.  But Rosenberg is still around these parts.  And why any current or former Michigan player would ever speak to Rosenberg other than to tell him to go fuck himself, is completely beyond me.  I'm talking about you, Jim Harbaugh.  And to anybody else to whom it might apply.

You past letterwinners have a lot to answer for, in the Rodriguez debacle.  Some of your fellow letterwinners distinguished themselves.  Rick Leach was certainly one of those.  I just don't understand why there weren't 1000 Rick Leaches lined up for a Michigan Head Football Coach.

81.93

August 25th, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

Ahh...such condescension.  Well-earned, no doubt.  You have a view on what Michigan should stand for and I respect it.  rss ssssvI I r, and ford 

Rosenberg hurt the program, without question.  But you are truly shooting the messenger, however flawed and conflicted might be.  To essentially blame a reporter for the NCAA finding violations is absurd.  RR was the captain of the ship.  And any man worthy of coaching Michigan knows that the buck stops with him.  It happened on his watch.  Period.  You cannot seriously dispute this.

Setting aside the NCAA's findings, Michigan football admitted to four major NCAA violations.  That is unacceptable to me, and it should be to anyone else who loves Michigan.  You are giving RR a pass that he doesn't deserve, irrespective of the Freep's role.

But why don't we take a peek at the findings that you referenced.

Page 1

"The Committee was particularly concerned that, even after the head football coach and his staff were specifically educated on multiple occasions regarding the rules that were eventually violated, the violations continued.  The duty to ensure that his staff abided by all applicable rules resided with the head football coach.  At the hearing he could not say with certainty that he read the educational materials provided to him."

Such words should not be uttered about Michigan's coach, particularly not by the NCAA.  We deserve better from the man who holds that honor.

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

What the NCAA found in our case was a whole lotta piddling shit.  Absolutely nothing -- not one freaking thing -- that made me think that Michigan's student athletes in the football program had been benefitted by the general results of the reporting, or by the investigation.  Not one thing that made me think any less of Coach Rodriguez or his staff.

On the other hand, what I know, and what Brian Cook knows and what David Brandon knows and what Frank Beckmann knows and what Rick Leach knows is that the newspaper reporters in this case were really, really sleazy.

I don't have one single problem with how Brandon and the Athletic Department responded to the Notice of Allegations.  They pled guilty to all of the funky technical stuff.  And they denied that Coach Rodriguez had failed to promote and atmosphere of compliance.

I am, quite literally, on the same page as Dave Brandon is on this particualr topic.  More so than you.  You, and other former letterwinners like you, should have gotten with the program a hell of a lot sooner.

And the next time you see Jim Harbaugh, ask him why he'd be giving such privileged access to a guy like Michael Rosenberg (for the SI profile of last fall).  

81.93

August 25th, 2011 at 4:52 PM ^

Thank you for the advice to me "and other former letterwinners like [me]" on how to think and behave with respect to Michigan football.  I am not sure where your perceived moral authority to do so is derived from, but unless you are channeling Bo then perhaps you should STFU.  I "got with the program" for hundreds of hours a year and have a fist full of Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl Championship ring to show for it.  You may disagree, but I consider myself more "with the program" than 99% of those, like you, who talk tough and/or pretend to be well-informed on blogs but never wore the helmet and only really know a fraction of what goes inside a football program. 

You hate Rosenberg.  I get it. 

You think the violations were trivial.  I agree.

But the NCAA's definition of repeat violations would certainly include these trivial "major" violations, and this is the very stain I spoke of in my original post.

I have no beef with Jim Harbaugh, and I am pretty sure he doesn't give two sh*ts about what you think.

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I'm not claiming any superior moral authority, or any personal maize-and-blue authority.

We seem to be in agreement on two essential points -- that (1) Michigan's confessed violations were in fact trivial ones, and (2) that Rosenberg's reporting was "grossly exaggerated" if not wholly false.  You say you agree with point #1.  I presume you agree with #2.  David Brandon agrees with #2.  Brandon has, uh, some interest in the situation and a bit of knowledge of the relevant facts.  And like you, he wore the helmet and has a few rings.  I might feel differently, if I was hearing something very different, from Dave Brandon.  The quoted phrase, "grossly exaggerated"; it's a Brandon quote.

So my question is where have all of you guys been, in calling out Rosenberg?  Why wouldn't you be instinctively and forcefully defending a Michigan head coach?  Why would Jim Harbaugh be giving Rosenberg an exclusive story?  Is Lloyd Carr still talking to Rosenberg?  Does Percy Bates talk to Rosenberg?

We had an honest-to-goodness villain in this story; someone whose goal it was to hurt the Michigan football program.  You say you love the Michigan football program.  Why would you be so tolerant of someone who did it so much harm?

Rosenberg was not simply a messenger of bad news.  Rosenberg is why the allegations that you and I agree are "trivial" were turned into Major Violations which seem to cause you so much pain.  Rosenberg chose not to report this story.  Rosenberg chose to make this story.  That's pretty important.  And given the grave personal harm it did to Rich Rodriguez, I would think that you'd be a lot more supportive.

chitownblue2

August 25th, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

Section 1,

In the hundreds of thousands of bold and italicized highlighted words you have spilled on the subject you always, without fail, refuse to see is this one truth:

The NCAA would not have found Michigan guilty of anything had Michigan not been guilty of anything.

No matter how amoral, unethical, and underhanded Rosenberg was, that is a fact: if there was no violation, we would not have been found guilty of one.

You can choose for yourself how seriously you take the violation that Michigan was guilty of (my suspicion is that you will not take it seriously). But understand that the Football Alumni who you are arguing with seems, doubtlessly, to take it more seriously than you do. You can disagree with that opinion, but it does not make it wrong.

He, and, I imagine, others, did not speak out because they feel that the fact that Michigan committed this violation, no matter how many dirty tricks Rosenberg needed to pull in order to write his columns, was wrong.

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 5:56 PM ^

I admit it; Michigan was guilty.  Guilty of the silly, hypertechnical, unimportant things that were noted in Allegations I, II, III and V.

And I deny that Rich Rodriguez was guilty of the stuff alleged in the original Allegation IV, which was the only allegation that named Rodriguez.

David Brandon agrees with those admissions, and that one denial.  So does Rich Rodriguez.  And so does the NCAA.

We wouldn't be having this conversation if the whole thing revolved around allegations pertaining to Brad Labadie.  No, this whole conversation is about Rodriguez's personal responsibility.  And there just isn't much fault to lay at Rodriguez's doorstep.  That's why the blaming of Rodriguez is such a fail. 

There is a real story, that has to do with someone who hasn't left Michigan, and who is still tangentially related to the football program.  That story is Rosenberg, and Snyder.

dahblue

August 25th, 2011 at 6:40 PM ^

What about WVU?

there just isn't much fault to lay at Rodriguez's doorstep.

So, do you take anything from the fact that WVU's program (under RR's leadership) was hit with the same (or similar) violations?  Are Rosenberg and Snyder the "story" there as well?

Section 1

August 25th, 2011 at 7:10 PM ^

If the situation in Michigan had resulted in Michigan self-reporting secondary violations, I expect that the same would have happened in West Virginia.  But Michigan was hit with Major Violations, and so then was West Virginia.

Clearly, the investigation of West Virginia had only arisen in the wake of what was happening in Michigan.  I don't deny that; why would anyone doubt it?

They were equally silly and hypertechnical.

Do you even understand what was happening with the alleged violations of coaching-number limits, or the impermissible coaching contacts?  It was because graduate assistants, hired and paid as hourly graduate assistants (making next to nothing) were sometimes attending coaching meetings and film sessions.  What it was doing for those graduate assistants, who were not otherwise acting as coaches, was giving them exposure to the profession they hoped to join someday.  There were no competitive advantages.  Certainly no abuses of players.  Only technical violations, based on job descriptions and the activities of some GA's away from the players.

dahblue

August 26th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Step out of the mgobubble.  In the real world, it's very possible for multiple (indeed the majority of) Michigan fans to have a view which differs from Brian, Section1 or many others here.

bronxblue

August 25th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

While I'll give you all the credit for what you did on the field and for the school, but it's a little naive to believe that NCAA rules (even silly ones) weren't violated well before RR showed up, and will be violated well after.  It happens - it is the nature of college sports that the governing agency will create rules and institutions will (un)knowingly break them.  Usually not maliciously, but still.  What happened with RR was a hit job, and if Hoke pissed off Rosenberg and Snyder as much as RR apparently did by his mere existence, then he would have been dragged through that same mud.  

jmblue

August 25th, 2011 at 2:41 PM ^

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes that no media outlet ever had an ax to grind against our program before RR arrived.  Obviously, given the testy relationship Bo and Lloyd had with the press, that seems implausible. 

Some of the NCAA violations seemed like honest mistakes, but having GA's supervise summer workouts is not.  There is no good defense for that.  Either we flat-out didn't know the rules (which you have to) or consciously violated them. 

BluCheese

August 25th, 2011 at 4:48 PM ^

Especially since WVU got nailed for the same things.  RR and Bill Stewart were both mentioned by the NCAA :

The violations found included “noncoaching staff members who performed duties that led the program to exceed the allowable number of coaches and coaching staff members who engaged in impermissible out-of-season athletically related activities.”

“The football program exceeded coaching staff limitations and conducted impermissible athletically related activities when noncoaching staff members, graduate assistant coaches and a student assistant coach participated in on- and off-field coaching activities. For example, five video graduate assistants monitored or conducted skills-development drills and attended position meetings where they worked directly with coaches. Their participation qualified them as countable coaches and the program therefore exceeded its allowable number of coaches.

Sounds familiar.

bronxblue

August 25th, 2011 at 9:41 PM ^

I think there is a difference between having a testy relationship with the media (which is what Bo and Carr had) and having a media that, from day one, was questioning whether that guy should be the head coach.  Carr was prickly, but he had a direct line to Bo, and nobody was going to take a chance attacking that line because it would be career suicide in this state.  Also, Carr ran a good program, won a bunch of games, and took over for a guy (Moeller) who had just embarrased the university with his drinking.  By comparison, RR was coming in and replacing a coach with an MNC to his credit and years of success, even if the last couple were on the downturn.  

As for the GA supervision, I agree that some of the violations definitely show poor judgment on RR's part.  That said, none of them would be deemed particularly "egregious" compared to the ones we've see at other schools.  And again, my sense is that these types of violations happen more frequently than are reported.  That doesn't justify them per se, but definitely softens the "OMG factor" of the word "violation"

R.I.P. Bo

August 25th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

Not sure how my post was listed as Flamebait. Perhaps I need list the levels of embarrassment:

1. The bickering/buyout mess with his former employer.

2. The Freep lynching

3. The failed investment headlines

4. Fake tears at the flick of a switch

5. Silly stuffed animals on the sidelines

6. The W/L record.

I certainly do not wish anyone ill, nor do I think that he cannot be a good coach. I just feel strongly that he could not be a good coach at Michigan. I also feel that if he ever did have a season or two with a good finishing record, he would have taken the next train out of town on his terms. To the average fan, he was not well liked. Time to move on.

bronxblue

August 25th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

Real quick counter-points:

 

1. The bickering/buyout mess with his former employer.

Brought on almost exclusively by his former employers at WVU, who as we've seen are a wee bit unstable.  Also, the buyout issue was (shockingly) a media-created "issue" that exists for most big-time coaches.

 

2. The Freep lynching

Again, mostly beyond his control.

 

3. The failed investment headlines

He was an investor in a guy who defaulted on some properites (if memory serves me right).  That really isn't on him, unless you are going to blame a large swath of affluent people he experience losses when the real-estate market tanked.

 

4. Fake tears at the flick of a switch

Huh?  I can't argue with your perception of his true emotions, but that is more on you than a "fact."

 

5. Silly stuffed animals on the sidelines

Greg Robinson on this one.  And yeah, that hire is on RR - probably the biggest pock on him beyond...

 

6. The W/L record.

Yeah, that is on him.  Of course, nobody was going to win 8 games with that 2008 team considering everyone who was leaving before RR stepped on campus.  His failures on defense remain the biggest reason why the team never receovered, but as we've seen numerous times RR didn't have the most stocked arsenal to work when he started working.

R.I.P. Bo

August 25th, 2011 at 5:05 PM ^

The fact remains:

1. The buyout mess was bad press

2. Not sure if it was Freep, the old guard, or a combination of the two - but again, more bad press. Never like to see the words "Michigan, football, major violations" in the same sentence.

3. Investments - Again, maybe the press had it out for him. 

4. RR whimpered more times than I can count. Not sure if that is a quality you want in a head coach.

5 and 6 in agreement.

In the end, the past three years will likely be forever known as the "RR Experiment". I was initially on board. It failed. Miserably. Time to move on.

BigBlue02

August 25th, 2011 at 8:28 PM ^

Are you fucking kidding me? RichRod yells at his players so people hate him because of the poor children that have to listen to his swearing. RichRod shows emotion and, as you put it, "whimpered" so he is looked at as a pussy.  This is exactly the reason RichRod could never and would never have made it here. People like you just look for a reason to bitch about everything and anything, whether it is relevant or not.

Also, how do you know the university didn't want RichRod to fight the buyout? I mean, when it looked like MSC and Bill Martin were going to take the stand, RichRod surprisingly settled. But you know, it was bad press so of course it had to be RichRod's fault.

wolverine1987

August 25th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

that used to populate the Freep and other mesage boards when RR was here, from M fans and trolls. The quality of the thinking behind them hasn't gotten any better since then. you forgot to criticize the fact that he was from West Virginia too and wasn't a "Michigan Man" "who gets it"

Anonymosity

August 25th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

My girlfriend took me to the Josh Groban concert in Grand Rapids a month ago (yeah, whatever, withhold your opinion).  Before he sang the infamous song from the football banquet, he said something like "... and this song is popular at weddings and football banquets..."

Got a LOL from me on that one.  Probably the only person in the stadium that got the reference.

lexus larry

August 25th, 2011 at 12:47 PM ^

The pics I saw of Rich and Miss Rita as the Groban thing went on...they looked tired.  Dead tired of the whole sordid mess...they knew what they had, they had no clue what they were walking into, and after three harrowing years, looked like they were just plain done with it all in Ann Arbor.

Rich is a decent guy, the times I've met and interacted with him (alum functions, true, but still...).  Best wishes in all his future endeavors.

M-Wolverine

August 25th, 2011 at 12:58 PM ^

But how rough would this off-season, and season if things weren't going great, have been for them? Hot seat, shouda been fired, recruits don't want to come for a coach who's not going to be around....

All that more than anything was my worry it might not work. And would be more merciful not to put them through that in the long run.

M-Wolverine

August 25th, 2011 at 12:49 PM ^

About how this post has basically been written ad infinitum for 7 months, and how you might be a bit less grim if you listened to less depressing music all the time (you pay to go out and listen to that stuff?), and HOW any final write-up can go a number of paragraphs on why he didn't work out, but leave out wins and losses....

But damn if you can't feel for the man. Whether you believe we were too hasty, we had no choice, or we made a good move, it was not a happy or proud time for Michigan.  Michigan Football should not have to fire it's coach.  And we're all sadder for that, and the families it affected.

And oh, yeah, American Beauty was hella overrated.