Best and Worst: Coaching Search

Submitted by bronxblue on December 28th, 2014 at 8:19 PM

This post was initially designed to be a "so far" diary because it was written right around the time the initial Harbaugh offer was made.  Then the holidays happened, the narrative fluctuated a bit at the fringes but didn't change much, and now we basically have confirmation that It's Happening!  So some of this might sound a bit more reserved than intended, but I tried to update it where I could. I am sure much more will be written, perhaps by me, as it relates to Harbaugh in the coming weeks.  Still, I figured I have more than enough content to surround animated gifs and references to professional wrestling, late-90's movies, and funny dog pictures.  So enjoy.  Also, Harbaugh!

Best:  Big Boy Pants

 

The absolute biggest concern I had coming into this coaching search was watching Michigan's athletic department flub, flounder, and fart its way through the process like it did in 2007 and 2011.  In 2007 it was Bill Martin floating around on a boat, seemingly caught off guard by Lloyd Carr's decision to retire despite Carr saying he wanted to in 2006 and having to be convinced to give it one more go by both Martin and President Coleman.  This of course led to Les Miles being asked about taking over for Michigan while preparing to play for the national championship, which looked pretty bad when it happened and looks even worse now given how disorganized the search turned out to be behind the scenes.  At the time, I think most people figured it was just Herbstreit reporting rumors prematurely, and when Michigan wound up with Rich Rodriguez it felt like an irrelevant misstep at worst.

Then in 2011, with RR gone after a desultory bowl loss to the Fightin' Mullens (until this season probably his 3rd or 4th most-impressive victory in his career), we all expected Dave Brandon to, I don't know, not be an idiot and actually perform a legitimate coaching search for a viable replacement.  It isn't worth rehashing here for the same reason I don't let the 1 train's doors slam shut on my fingers, plus there are so many rumors and half-truths (Harbaugh said yes, Brandon scared him away!  Brady Hoke was Michigan's #1 choice after Harbaugh!  My gawd King, is that Kirk "Puntasaurus" Ferentz's music!) that is is hard to ascertain fact from fiction.  What we do know is that Michigan wound up with a guy with basically a .500 record who coached like one, save for a glue factory of horseshoes in his ass during the 2011 season.

Now, there have been a couple of themes throughout the past two coaching searches: a dogged preference for "Michigan Men" who can placate a calcifying segment of the fanbase that maybe doesn't think football stopped innovating in 1997 but absolutely thinks those changes don’t apply to Michigan, "Fort Schembechler " having so much palace intrigue and agenda-driven leaks that nobody had control of the narrative, and displaying some of the worst timing this side of a 2014 UM 2-minute drill.  But probably the biggest theme over these past 2 coaching changes, and really of the last decade or so, is the second-rate nature of it all.  For a university so renowned for its educational and research accomplishments, for proclaiming itself a "leader and best" in so many fields and backing it up, and for having one of the most storied athletic programs in college sports history, its search for a head man seemed to lack much in the way of foresight, professional execution, or, frankly, prestige.  It isn't uncommon for teams to "settle" on a second or third option, but usually after a strong play for their first choice.  With Michigan's most recent coaching transitions, though, it seemed like they thought "This is Michigan" was enough.

That's why this search, even with its extended googly-eyes session with Harbaugh, was so refreshing; it finally felt like the Powers That Be were treating this like a big deal and actually acted accordingly.  While the exact terms might still be a bit in flux, $49M over 6 years represents the type of offer a school like Michigan should be making for the man who will spearhead its multi-million dollar football team.  No pussyfooting around, not "preliminary offer" to get negotiations started.  Hackett and co. looked at the landscape, identified Harbaugh as the top candidate, and made it rain.

 

For all of Dave Brandon's odes to marketing buzzwords and bottom-line business acumen, and Brady Hoke's passion for "Big Boy" football, they never seemed to willing or able to translate those words into results.  It was Hackett, for what feels like the first time in an eternity, who actually acted like an executive, made a plan, and followed through on it efficiently and effectively.  Even if by some insane confluence of events Michigan doesn't get Harbaugh, it won't be for lack of effort or resources; it'll be because Jim Harbaugh doesn't want to coach at Michigan in 2015.  It'll be because he wants to remain an NFL coach, because he has "unfinished business", because billionaire private owners will pay him way more than a public state institution should ever, whatever.  And Michigan will move on, not with a sense of desperation or befuddlement that the Block M and The Victors didn't seal the deal, but with some purpose.  That's all I think most people want to see out of the AD, and though the jury's still out on Hackett being a long-term solution, there's a sense of confidence and competency displayed thus far that puts the similar efforts of Brandon and Martin to shame.

Best:  Harbaugh!

 

If you want to read my thoughts on the idea of Harbaugh coaching, go back and check out my OSU recap.  Not a lot has changed, save that I am a bit more optimistic now that he's coming to Michigan with intentions on sticking around for a bit, with the siren song of the NFL less appealing than I first thought.  I mean, there are options out there for him if he wanted to stick around in the pros (Jets and Chicago are big-market teams, while the Raiders are at least nearby), yet he's shown no real interest in doing so.  This is obviously a great hire for Michigan, and it feels like, for once, a confluence of events has led to everyone involved finding each other as the best option.  Given what has happened the past decade or so, that feeling of contentment shouldn't be discounted.  Plus, it looks like he is going to breathe some fresh air into the program by bringing in people he's familiar with, including those with (Wheatley) and without (Durkin) connections to the university.  That can only help clear out some of the lingering staleness of the recent past, and any concerns about lost "institutional memory" are pretty trivial given how dysfunctional this program has been with the stalwarts in place.

I will be a bit of a wet blanket on two fronts, though, as it relates to the hire.  First, in the short term (i.e. the 2015 season), I'm not expecting an amazing turnaround, at least against the good-to-elite programs on the schedule.  Michigan is going to play 3 Power-5 quality outfits in the OOC (BYU is an independent but would be in the upper-half of the B1G if they joined tomorrow), including opening at Utah.  The Utes might be going through a coaching transition (they are already down a couple coordinators), but that's still a very good defensive team that should be competitive in the PAC-12 next year.  They do get MSU and OSU at home, but good lawd is OSU terrifying offensively and MSU should be pretty solid offensively with Cook back in the mix to complement that stout defense.  I think MSU's fall from elite to very good will continue, but this isn't the MSU-UM rivalry Harbaugh probably remembers (3-1 during his four years, including wins of 27-6, 31-0(!!), and 42-0(!!!)), and all the good vibes and memes aren't going to make the WRs any faster, the QB any more experienced, and the cornerbacks any better at sticking with receivers.  Plus, Michigan is looking down the barrel of trips to PSU, Maryland, and Minnesota, so it isn't going to be the smoothest of transitions back to the college game for the new coach.  I'm not predicting another 5-7 campaign, and there is A LOT that will change between now and early September, but it is going to be a multi-year process for Michigan to get back to being the "Michigan" Harbaugh helped create, and barring Harbaugh pooping golden horses with a million lucky golden horseshoes, I don't expect a repeat of Hoke's first year record-wise for Jim.

The second, slightly more far-reaching concern...okay, not "concern", but inevitable annoyance is going to be that this will likely not be Harbaugh's last dance with the NFL, which means I'd be surprised if he completes the full term of his current contract before leaving again for the NFL.  As others have noted, this isn't a guy going back to college because he stumbled in the NFL, and there are always going to be doors open for him to return provided he is successful at Michigan.  I have little doubt that he won't, which means in 3-4 years there are going to be legitimate murmurs about Harbaugh making a return to the NFL, hopefully fueled by multiple 10+ win Michigan seasons and a return to the upper-echelon of college football.  You look at other successful programs and nobody is knocking down the door for Saban, Meyer, Fisher, Dantonio, etc., so at least they have one less distraction to deal with each offseason.  I suspect virtually all Michigan fans will accept that bargain, but it is an ongoing din that will only get louder the better Harbaugh does at UM.  My hope is that if/when he does move on, the program will be back to its normally stable position so that the next guy will have an easy transition and, heck, there might actually be a legitimate coaching tree by then. So in summation, this is totally awesome you guys!

Best:  Stability + Desirability = Awesomeability

With news that D.J. Durkin was waiting on Harbaugh to go to Michigan before joining him as defensive coordinator, plus scattered reports of Swag Mattison sticking around at least one more year, Michigan is enjoying one of those rare occurrences (at least around these parts) of optimism and stability that are usually a hallmark of successful programs.  Durkin has basically been sitting on the DC position at Texas A&M for a week, yet apparently wants to get the band back together with Harbaugh and should be a welcome addition.  And yes, being a DC under a defensive coach like Muschamp brings with it the usual questions of how much influence he had at Florida, but this is still a guy with the trajectory of a top-notch assistant who'll be a head coach sooner rather than later.

With Mattison possibly returning, that should help stabilize recruiting a bit in the vacuum between now and Harbaugh getting on the road, and should help reaffirm a couple of wavering guys, to say nothing of the boost the trips will have once Harbaugh gets going.  This will be a small class, but with a crack recruiter in a position of some authority, that will only help the transition.  Again, it's a long way to even NSD, and most of the staff remains in limbo, but Michigan should enjoy the best of both worlds with this coaching change.

Worst:  Sources

 

It isn't news to anyone on MGoBlog that the internet can be both your best friend and worst enemy when it comes, well, pretty much anything, but especially when something as "newsy" and ripe for misdirection and hearsay as a coaching search.  For every legitimate insider report or guy who actually knows a guy, you'll read a dozen random Twitter handles with 10k tweets and 25 followers, and pages of forums posts fueled by someone's brother's girlfriend's sorority sister's dad's second cousin's landscaper's adopted uncle's burned-out podiatrist's receptionist's albino twin who ran into a junior associate in the athletic department at Meijer who was buying two 12-packs of Dr. Pepper (which we all know is Jim Harbaugh's 3rd favorite drink after Earl Grey tea and the tears of MSU fans OMGOMGOMG! It's Happening!), proclaiming to know what the future holds both in terms of the front-runner as well as the internal politics, backup plans, and related scuttlebutt that drives web traffic in the modern era well after the actual thing you should care about has been resolved.  Obviously you can figure out who is right and who is wrong once you have some perspective, but the internet is kinda the wild wild west when it comes to rumors, and those first couple of weeks are just chock full of idiots wanting some attention.

 

And to make matters worse, social media and the clear NFL/CFB divide in terms of biases creates a whole new class of semi-informed, semi-credible pundits with the lowest barrier to entry probably since you could literally stand in the middle of a town square and yell whatever you wanted at people as they passed by.

 

On one hand, the ubiquity of the internet lets information be relatively "free" not only in terms of who possesses it but who can disseminate it quickly; you don't need to be a friend of Ed Werder, Jay Galzer, or Chris Broussard to be given a platform to be heard; a Twitter account and $10/mo. for a "premium" account is more than enough to tell the world what you know about a hot topic, sometimes well before more established voices catch wind of it.  And that, to some, is incredibly valuable information that needs to be made available as soon as possible.  And while I'm sure some print journalists still yearn for their own "Deep Throat" (I'll wait...) with an established paper trail of sorts, it's far more likely that the "first" source to report something will be some random guy, because random people have little to lose if they are wrong and lots to gain, even temporarily, if they are right.

But on the other hand, what it also creates is just wave after wave of bullshit to sift through for these few nuggets of actual wisdom.  I joke about the circuitous route some rumors go through, but read some Reddit or 24/7 threads and it's just burner accounts from guys at airports, janitors on night shifts, and gym buddies telling you they heard from some "big money donor" or a "buddy" whose family knows someone that something big is going down, that some assistant is booking tickets to an airfield, that rooms are being repainted and new placards being designed, and all of a sudden you've got people freaking out or celebrating, while reporters and more trusted sources of information are left scrambling to verify while sifting through all the copy-cats and trolls.  It's draining to watch as an observer, and I don't even need to give a crap.  And along the way, people get burned enough that lines in the sand are drawn and opinions calcify, creating a certain level of acrimony and zealotry throughout the process that creates the perfect feedback loop, where anyone who says what you want to hear is credible and anyone else is lying, an idiot, or a troll.

This race for "scoops" also creates the shit-throwers like Gregg Henson and Football Scoop who basically "report" everything they can think of in the hope that enough of it is right that people forget everything else they make up.  I mean, technically they are true, but Paul the Octopus also had a nice streak going but I don't remember him trying to drive traffic to his blog.  And in virtually all cases, these same guys tried to inflate their numbers by claiming the most obvious things as "news" (Brandon to be fired!  Michigan is looking at Harbaugh!  Lots of money is involved!).  I'm sure these guys had some "sources" as they were; you sniff around enough and someone will talk.  But now every time one of these guys fires off some harebrained "insider scoop" about a team, they'll have that whiff of undeserved credibility.

I get that it doesn't really matter in the end; I doubt Jim Harbaugh even knows this exists, let along how many times it's been posted across the internet.  But I get why lots of fans don't obsessively follow this stuff, those who will probably see an interview on ESPN or read an article on Yahoo! about Harbaugh coming to Michigan and say "that's nice" and forget about it until the fall.  The end result never changes, and at least they didn't spend weeks getting worked up about an anonymous purchase order for Dockers in size "Awesome!" being found in the Ann Arbor dump.

Worst:  No F*cking way League

So yeah, I'm bitching about all of the dubious stories coming out of the internet's nether-region, but most of them all pointed toward a single reality: Jim Harbaugh is going to be the next coach of Michigan football.  Sure, some tales were painted of him torn between another run in the pros and returning to the college game, and that certain teams might also be in play, but the vast majority of the rumors, especially amongst those most connected and accountable, were positive on Michigan.  Well, except one group...

With the NFL guys, you are dealing with people who basically all default to the NFL PR view, but with the critical distinction that some are willing to at least entertain the possibility of some other reality also being possible.  With the Schefter type, they live and breathed The Shield for so long that it takes them a couple of weeks to cut through the fog, but at least they are at least willing to reexamine their sources and accept the alternative reality.  It's infuriating because they've bought into the arrogant argument that coaching in the NFL is a one-way street until the League dismisses you, but given the levels of delusion we've seen from people in charge these past couple of years it's not surprising how potent that kool-aid can be.

Then you've got guys like Tim Kawakami and Greg Gabriel who, for lack of a better word, are just ignorant about anything outside of the worldview they've crafted over decades of sitting in media rooms talking to the same 10-15 people and passing off recycled dribble as interesting and thoughtful commentary.  For them, questioning the NFL isn't even possible because it seemingly violates some hard-coded rule in their own lives; you don't deviate from the norm because that would be admitting failure or, worse, that the world is evolving in ways they aren't willing to accept.  To a man, I suspect you'd get a similarly dismissive response if you asked them about the viability of "bloggers".

 

I'll admit to being biased, but beyond the money and whatever self-affirming gains you get from being at the "top" of your field, I don't see the appeal of an NFL gig anymore.  You never have complete control of a team, regardless of your titles, because a billionaire owner/group can always make your life a living hell if they disagree, you have to deal with a bunch of men who make quite a bit of money (oftentimes much more than you) and don't usually like being yelled at by their boss, the level of transgressions tend to be higher and more severe in the pros versus college, and with few exceptions you are only as good as your last season.  I mean, Harbaugh will be coming to UM after one of the most successful first-time runs in NFL history, and yet because Colin Kaepernick regressed and a couple LBs got hurt (Patrick Willis) or went kinda crazy (Aldon Smith), he is on the outs and the born-on-third/thought-he-hit-a-triple Jed York is leading the charge.  Say what you will about meddling college presidents, but most of them are smart enough to stay out of coaching situations until their hands are forced, and with the AD acting as a firewall a coach is going to enjoy far more freedom in college than he'd have in the pros, to say nothing about recruiting and player development benefits.  And in this case, Michigan is going to pay a competitive salary, one that treats Harbaugh as one of the best at his position.  This is a long way of saying I don't think Harbaugh (who just got through the inevitable clown show that ends most NFL tenures) sees this as much of a demotion, and while there will still be a couple of NFL guys dying on their wrong swords of wrongness, hopefully by the time Jim Harbaugh is running spring practice a good 75-80% of the NFL reporters will admit that Michigan has a chance.

Regardless, I do think we'll see quite a few of these responses coming from that brood in the coming weeks.

 

Best:  Puntasaurus Extinction?

 

Hold onto your butts, because with any coaching transition there are going to be changes.  But probably none will be as necessary and welcomed as (I hope) Michigan's transition away from the dinosaur "pro" punt style that existed under Hoke.  And really, it's extinction was a long time coming.  It's the perfect blend of barely-there upside (slightly easier to fake out of) and huge downsides (huge yards available for returns, over-reliance on unpredictable hangtime, less flexibility to address aggressive pressure) that made it an eyesore when it was happening and looks even more insane in retrospect.  It basically cost Michigan the bowl game against USC, let Utah's Clay strike the most unnecessary Heisman pose, and consistently gave up gobs of field position that, at best, put Michigan's defense in tough spots.  Because of rule differences between the NFL and CFB you don't see the Shield punt formation in the pros, so I guess I'm not 100% sure that Harbaugh won't keep lugging out the tired Spread punt formation, but since he seems to have a functioning cerebral cortex I expect Michigan will go with the more effective and prevailing formation.  And while that will be a good day for Michigan football, it'll be a sad day for the few remaining puntasauruses walking the earth.  Maybe InGen will bring one of them back from the fossilized remains of Kirk Ferentz.

Oh...apparently I've been informed by Google that he's still alive and being paid to coach.  My apology to Iowa fans.

Best:  Nobody Else is Happy

There is a saying that you'll know how good/bad a guy is based on how his current fans talk about him and his departure.  When a stud coach/player leaves, you'll typically read knowledgeable fans lament the loss and speak glowingly about his past accomplishments.  When he's kind of a dud, everyone makes jokes and criticizes his failings.  But an equally-useful gauge of a new hire's overall perception is how rival fans respond to him coming on board, and in this case it is pretty universal that, well, MSU and OSU partisans are having a bad time.

 

I won't link to specific threads, but go to their respective boards and you'll read a lot of "I can't wait to beat that smug look off his face" or "He's not that great anyway.  Plus, it'll be years before he's good."  Yes, there are rational fans who recognize that Harbaugh is a good hire, but these aren't the "hur hur you have a fat coach" stuff you heard when Hoke was hired.  Harbaugh is going to piss off a lot of people and give plenty of "material" for rival fans to latch onto, but this feels like Michigan is "back", and coupled with OSU and MSU losing significant cogs on their staffs (Herman to Houston, Narduzzi to Pitt), you can see the ire ratcheting up for both fanbases that absolutely took pleasure in Michigan's recent struggles.  At least with OSU, that team has been a premiere program for decades even when Michigan was at its height; this is a rivalry again, not a clear ascension.  But MSU fans seem supremely upset specifically because a returning Michigan probably pushes them down a peg in the conference; they'll still be a tough out as long as Dantonio is there, but that first handshake between the two is going to extra salty, and with more and more teams starting to "figure out" MSU's defense (at least the elite offenses are; we'll get a good idea how they respond against Baylor), I get a sense that Spartan fans are seeing that door close.

Best:  Did I Mention Harbaugh?  Also, Finally We Can All Get Back to Our Lives!

My wife sent me this gif while I was typing this up.  This pretty much sums up the last couple of weeks.

 

Go Blue!

Comments

ca_prophet

December 29th, 2014 at 2:49 AM ^

getting to coach the highest level of play.  This has two parts:

1.  The NFL chess match is grandmaster-level compared to a state-level tournament in college - see all the articles about how much you can teach to inferior players with limited practice time (and even when you get a great one, he'll leave in at most four years).  There are schemes and levels of play you simply can't reach in college.  If that's part of the appeal for coaches - if you're an X-and-O kind of guy who levels in schematic design, in-game adjustment and the constant tweaking of plays in the never-ending chess game, the NFL is the place for you.

2.  The NFL gets the best players.  You don't get to work with Peyton Manning at the peak of his powers in college.  Getting the best out of someone like that and using them to get the best out of yourself is quite the tantalizing prospect to some.

Fortunately for us, it appears that those two things are not the predominant drivers for Harbaugh at this time.  It's not unreasonable for NFL commentators to look at those two points and say "It would be a step down", though, because it is - IF they're the only relevant factors.  (It is unreasonable for them to say "No one who is successful at the NFL level could possibly fulfill their needs in college", though, because that ignores the specific issues that drive Harbaugh.)

 

 

jbibiza

December 29th, 2014 at 6:01 AM ^

A pleasure to read.,, as always.  Got a feeling these things will be trending heavily toward 'Best'.

Thank you, and keep up the great work.

ps: JH used the old spread punt at Stanford. Hopefully he has evolved since then; as you say: "functioning cerebral cortex".  

CoachBP6

December 29th, 2014 at 6:11 AM ^

Attacking Gregg hensons credibility is classless and juvenile. What exactly did Henson say that wasn't true? Pretty sure he broke the Brandon thing in September, and has been completely dead on during this whole search. Are you pissed at him for being ahead of the crowd? How do you know he's a "shit thrower"? Pretty sure he has been around a while and is by all accounts a die hard UM fan...he also called Hoke before anyone else.... Can't discredit a guy batting .1000. Kind of funny how you call a guy out for not being credible, on a blog, looking for readers and up votes. Looks a lot like you're throwing shit, and hoping it sticks...

bronxblue

December 29th, 2014 at 8:12 AM ^

I am amazed that he honestly cares all that much.  

I'll admit I probably lobbed him into the Football Scoop territory a bit too much, but I still remember him from his time in Detroit and that has soured me a bit.  Yes, he has been right about a fair bit during this time, so I will comp to that.

GoBLUinTX

December 29th, 2014 at 8:28 AM ^

Henson's response echo's my take on this diary, snark and hate for the sake of snark and hate.  I think Henson is wrong about the diarist having an agenda.  To me it read as if narrated by a self-important petulant child trapped in an adults body.  The writing was well done but yeah, petulant.

Some people could probably do well by learning how to be a good winner.

bronxblue

December 29th, 2014 at 8:25 AM ^

Do you honestly think I give a shit about upvotes?  My god man, this is a blog that I read.  I'll admit I was probably a bit too harsh on Henson, linking him to the Football Scoops of the world, but again, lots of what he wrote was the most middle-of-the-road stuff.  

Yes, he's been right on lots of this stuff.  I'll absolutely admit to that, and nobody can dismiss him getting the contract number right (though I'm not sure about timelines on when it came out).  But I'm sorry, saying Dave Brandon is gone in September after the Morris incident wasn't high-stakes and was pretty obvious.  And Harbaugh was the #1 guy for months; Henson also mentioned Miles and John Harbaugh as other leading candidates, which again, I don't see that being much of a stretch.

Also, because I was bored, I went through his site and randomly read some other posts.  In one talking about Brandon and Hoke being fired around the end of September, he mentioned that the regents would fire the new President of the university if he didn't fire Brandon and Hoke.  Now, I get hyperbole and all, but in what world would the regents fire the just-arrived president of the school if he didn't fire two guys immediately?  It's little things like that that make me question his overall credibility.

Congrats on him getting it right, and the snark was a little higher than it should be.  But I remember Henson from his time in Michigan, and while he is a huge Michigan fan and seems to have legit sources, I'm not going to treat everything he says as gospel.

snarling wolverine

December 29th, 2014 at 1:20 PM ^

Come on man.  I think you are guilty of confirmation bias here.  There were many people here who insisted to the end that Brandon would never be fired and plenty more who ridiculed any suggestion that Harbaugh was a legitimate possibility.  Henson went on the record about those very early on.  He may not have gotten everything right, but some of that could be due to information changing over time.  One thing about radio guys is that they've got to say something all the time.  They can't just say "No comment."  Still, he called a lot of things well in advance.

Henson may be a weird guy and I don't listen to his show, but I don't think there's any doubt that he had a legit source in the athletic department this time around.

 

bronxblue

December 30th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

I will agree he has legit sources; obviously he had insights about the AD that were proven true.  And I guess I didn't make it clear that I don't doubt he had viable information and deserves some credit for being "first" on a couple of them.

But I guess my bigger issue with that type of reporting you mentioned is precisely because he HAS to say something at all times, he also says lots of incorrect/invalid things that can be damaging.  I mean, he posted the content of an email supposedly from a former captain that compared Dave Brandon to Hitler and made some pretty crazy claims while also making the newsworthy announcement that former players had signed a petition against Brandon.  So on one hand, you have viable news that was confirmed to some extent by Bacon, but then on the other hand you have this email that can't be confirmed and is pretty inflamatory.  I mean, other people get this type of information all the time, yet don't always run with it because of authenticity and relevancy issues.  That doesn't seem to bug Henson, and I guess as a fan of Michigan who has seen dozens of these little fires started because of dubious claims, I get annoyed that every one of his future claims will be given a bit more credence off the bat because of what happened here.

And the fact that people disagree with your takes obviously doesn't make it right or wrong, but the analogy that he was right when others were wrong also works against him; he was wrong when other people were right.  As others argued (and apparently he got worked up enough to post something on his blog about it), he deserves credit for being right about some insider-y things beyond the blanket claims that, IME, were more common knowledge/expected than some seem to think.  But I'm still going to be skeptical of stuff he writes until it is corroborated by others with a bit more of a track record. 

Yeoman

December 29th, 2014 at 12:55 PM ^

This is the guy that presented an e-mail that closed with "Just a start, boys, you and I have lots more" and said it was sent to the Board of Regents? An e-mail that also included a comparison of Brandon to Hitler?

It was obvious what that e-mail actually was; it should have been obvious to Henson too. I haven't been able to decide if he's too stupid to do even the most minimal sense-check on his sources of if he's too dishonest to care.

Over the last three months I've come to realize that those two possibilities aren't mutually exclusive.

CoverZero

December 29th, 2014 at 6:13 AM ^

Hey Bronxblue.....all of those words, calling people out...and you just turned out to be as clueless as the next imbecile.  Congratulations, perhaps if you suck enough, you can apply to be an NFL beat writer.

68 Wolverine

December 29th, 2014 at 7:48 AM ^

You've missed the boat on Gregg Henson. He's been spot on and not spreading misinformation, maybe you should go back and read his site. Don't be a hater cause you're jealous someone else has connections and a legit site.

Everyone Murders

December 29th, 2014 at 9:02 AM ^

These Best and Worst diaries are uniformly among the best diaries on MGoBlog.  In fact, they're among the top content of any sort here.  Thanks for the work and thought that goes into these.

And credit to you for backing off a bit on Gregg Henson.  One way to distinguish you from oh-so-many mainstream journalists is that you'll deal with criticism directly, rather than resorting to misdirection.

While I value the analysis of the Best and Worst series, what really keeps me coming back are lines like these (being your summation of the yield of the last coaching search):

What we do know is that Michigan wound up with a guy with basically a .500 record who coached like one, save for a glue factory of horseshoes in his ass during the 2011 season.

tubauberalles

December 29th, 2014 at 9:11 AM ^

I suppose your "contract" with MGoBlog may have included a thirteenth B&W and without a bowl game, well, this is the content most available, but glad to see another in your series.

So thanks for such an entertaining run-down.  I don't quite get the Gregg Henson nerve you've touched in some folks, but that seems more indicative of the level of discourse now found on the board here, so thanks for taking the time away from your wife to raise the quality average here.  Well done.

 

DarkWolverine

December 29th, 2014 at 9:32 AM ^

Nice Read, So Did So Twice
Hackett may be getting too much credit here for what was a timing/career issue. Was the OSU AD a great AD for getting Urban Meyer? No, he should have been fired along with Tressel for the lying and cheating. With Tressel gone the AD has the luck of not being fired and the availability of Meyer, who is working on ESPN. OSU is Meyer's dream job and deal is done. No search, just a deal. Now, if Hackett made the deal with Harbaugh weeks ago and then fired Hoke, then I am impressed. But, if he fired Hoke with no plan, then not impressed. If Hackett had been able to get Mullen from Miss State or Stoops from Oklahoma, then he would have done a great job. But getting a coach who is being let go by SF and clearly loves Michigan to come back is not a big accomplishment. It is also comical that Hackett disparaged the whole Michigan Man thing and the hires the most Michigan Man possible!

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bronxblue

December 29th, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^

I agree that this was kind of a slamdunk, but I've watched two other ADs flub coaching transitions, so not screwing up deserves some credit.  I do wonder if Hackett is a long-term AD solution because hiring a guy and running a program are two completely different things, but the fact this search went as smoothly as it did is a testament to his efforts as much as anything.  

DarkWolverine

December 29th, 2014 at 3:14 PM ^

Agree Bronx
Hackett did a nice job keeping the search from being a clown show and deserves credit for that. He had what Harbaugh wanted-the job and contract. Still very interested in the contract. It it really is 48M$, it may be an unprecedented deal at 8 years. Harbaugh did not need to be over paid. We do want lower prices for water! Hackett has not really changed anything at the AD yet and has not mentioned any progress on the permanent AD hire.

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