DC Event with Rodriguez, Beilein, Berenson, and Bill Martin

Submitted by MGoAero on May 12th, 2009 at 11:39 PM

*This is a 'fluff piece' with no breaking news - merely a recounting of the first event with the 'Big Three' UM coaches in recent history.*

The UM Alumni Club of DC held a meet-and-greet with coaches Rodriguez, Beilein, and Berenson, as well as AD Bill Martin tonight. Matt Cavanaugh (I think - former drum major) and a guy who looked a lot like one of Beilein's assistants were also there, on the rooftop of a DC office building. Bill Martin said that this was the first time he knew of that all three coaches had met for an event outside of Ann Arbor. Kudos to the UMDC!

The evening started with an autograph session during which each coach was scattered around with throngs of people surrounding. The first humorous event of the evening was watching Bill Martin wander around with... fewer people, and at one point introducing himself to a confused little boy for someone to talk to. Rodriguez obviously had the longest line, but listening in on some of the conversations, the coaches were refreshingly honest and down-to-earth in their dealings with the fans.

"...move your body to the other side of the boat, switch hands with tiller and mainsheet and begin to bring the rudder back to straight..."

The speeches started with Bill Martin, who said mostly boiler-plate stuff. He mentioned that both Beilein and Rodriguez were hired without ever setting foot in Ann Arbor; something I didn't know. It was really awkward/funny when he was talking about Carol Hutchins' softball team, and said, "boy, they have some real horses on that team!" Uhhhhhhhhhh, whatever you say, Bill! He blabbed a little about our success this year with the APR, how some other institutions in the B10 didn't, and how well the athletes are doing academically. Had a direct quote of "Don't ask me any questions." He introduced Red as the 'Dean of Coaches' at Michigan, and the guy that he uses as a mentor for all new coaches. Also told the story of Red scoring 6 goals in one game in the NHL. Also plugged the December 2010 hockey game at the Big House. Oh, and there are only 24 private suites still for sale btw. Oh, and Red has one hell of a championship ring. Wowsa.

Red didn't say too much of note that I can remember

Bill then introduced Beilein and mentioned that Beilein's team this past year had the biggest improvement in GPA of all varsity teams. No mention of practice facility. Mentioned the SI coaches survey that proclaimed Beilein as the most creative coach in the game. Also said he talked to Ben Howland recently and Ben told him that he would never want to play Beilein again in his lifetime. While Beilein was being introduced, he was pre-occupied with helping a child fix a chair:

"You can be damn sure Coach K doesn't have to fix chairs for small children!"

A few moments later, the arm fell off again :) Beilein spoke a little of recruiting, and how his biggest recruiting success recently was keeping Sims and Harris on the team, which got a lot of applause. He fondly recounted the season, particularly Selection Sunday. Nothing else of much note but a very endearing speaker.


Then time for Martin to introduce Rodriguez. Like Beilein, stressed that his creativity, success at building programs, and doing a lot with a little are what most impressed Martin. In short, Rich Rodriguez is massively gifted at working a crowd in a 'down home' way. Snake Oil Salesman extraordinaire, to the max! I told my friend before he came onto the stage that I thought the over/under on "tickled to death"s should be set at around 8. To our dismay, there were NONE! However, the Lion King story about the monkey getting hit in the head or whatever made its standard-issue appearance. Aside from that, it was about 10 minutes of non-stop one-liners, self-deprication, and good-natured humor. When he first got the mic, said "when they told me that, after going 3-9, that I should come up to the top floor of a 20-story tall building to face 600 alums, I was pretty suspicious", and "I think I'll stand back here by this wall!" Mentioned that, even over a year later, West Virginia is still "pissed" at him. Said, "I should have murdered a family of 5 with an axe - I would've been less hated". Also, when responding to a question about his Twittering, said he isn't much of a technophile because "West Virginia just got cell phone coverage about a month ago," to which Beilein stole the mic and said, "see, he can get away with saying that stuff, but I never could!" Then Rodriguez said in response, "Hey! After the way I got sued, I owe 'em somethin in return." Much applause. Also, in response to questions about Detroit-area recruiting, said, "some may say that another school up north is doing better, but we actually get the recruits that we want." Zing! In response to questions about young quarterbacks, joked that he'll be taking many QB recruits every year because he never wants to be in the situation he was last year. Rich said that, on an academic front, that this year should break at least a 25-year record for the football team's average GPA. Also significant was his discussion of 'buying in' - he said, "last year, some people said that certain team members didn't buy in. That's not true - everyone bought in, but with questions. This year, they all know about the system and what they should be doing."

The Clarinet lessons were invaluable, and a real highlight of the evening.

This one is deserving of a best caption contest. Ideas?

*Thanks to my friend Bonners for the photos.

All in all, this was a wonderful evening, attended by around 600 alums. Signed basketballs and footballs were auctioned, and all those proceeds, plus the ticket sales, went to the UMDC scholarship fund. The kid who won it this year was introduced. Again, thanks to the UMDC Alumni Club for organizing this. In the last year or two UMDC has become what I believe is a great club. For example, during the winter and early spring, we had 2 - 3 locations around DC reserved for members just to watch regular season basketball games! We even watched hockey *gasp*! Anyway, a great time, and 3 very impressive men. Plus one accomplished sailor :)



May 12th, 2009 at 11:52 PM ^

Wait, did Bill Martin mean anything about the softball team I'm not getting? That they're strong? Perhaps that their two star pitchers are workhorses? Or is this just a blatant sexist comment?


May 13th, 2009 at 12:41 AM ^

I was there as well. You sum it up pretty well: nothing more than fluff, but a good time. Great job getting them all there by UMDC.

I would like to highlight that Rich Rod mentioned that he thought when the grades came out, they would have the highest team GPA in 25 years (I believe that was the time he quoted).


May 13th, 2009 at 8:50 AM ^

I think you're right. We must have been standing right next to each other. I was the incredibly handsome man in the light blue shirt.

Except not the incredibly handsome part. The light blue shirt part is true.


May 13th, 2009 at 9:45 AM ^

I am stuck here for the foreseeable future and I don't know wherer to go to watch the games in the fall. I am going to try and be at all of the home games, but I want a backup plan in case my ticket pipeline dries up. Thanks.


May 13th, 2009 at 10:17 AM ^

This is the Alumni Club's homepage:


I strongly recommend you get on their mailing list - they offer football tickets every year (you have missed the '09 offer, however), have all kinds of events, and will advertise where the football-watching events will take place. This past season we used Tommy Joe's (Bethesda), Bailey's (Arlington), Bungalow Billiards (DC), and other places at different times. Basketball used a wider variety of bars. Contact Cortney Robinson (info on that website) for specific plans - I think he's probably working out details for the fall right now. Look forward to seeing you at events starting this fall!


May 13th, 2009 at 10:53 PM ^

It started last year. I vowed never to watch a football game there again after I had to watch the first quarter of the Rich Rod era on a 13 inch TV w/ no sound because they had to let Florida fans watch the rest of their 56-0 blowout (not sure of the exact score but it's not far off).

I have dumped a lot of cash into that place and frankly I was pissed. Buffalo Billiards is the DC bar for Michigan now. Lot's of room, better food, and more central. They did a great job of blocking of space for us during March Madness took.

Pass the word.


May 13th, 2009 at 9:49 AM ^

I was there as well. Everything was spot on and I just wanted to write to emphasize Coach Rodriguez's hilarity. Really funny dude, who also sported a pretty serious tan. It's obvious he's been doing a lot of recruiting in Florida. I'll have a few extra pictures up this afternoon on the link below.



May 13th, 2009 at 9:53 AM ^

I was there too. Rodriguez was taller, happier, and funnier than I expected. In general, the coaches were very warm and candid. I was impressed.


May 14th, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

That's my boy that JB is helping fix the chair. We got to spend a bit of time with him in the lobby before they made it up to the roof. JB is a great guy.

(And FWIW I'm the guy standing behind JB.)

And MGoAero, any chance I could get a copy of that and any other pics you've got of him?

J. Lichty

May 15th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

"M coaches Rich Rodriguez and John Beilin reprise their famous "Who's on first routine to raucous crowd at the friar's club. Other acts included Bill Martin and Red Berenson doing their 10,000 year old man sketch."