Mary Sue Coleman speaking in Flint (Rodriguez, night games, etc.)

Submitted by Section 1 on May 12th, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Speaking at an event in Flint, Mary Sue Coleman said that Michigan made the wrong choice in hiring Rich Rodriguez: 

I've been to these kinds of events, where the guest of honor talks for about 20 minutes and then answers questions for another 20 minutes.  I was not at this one in Flint; it sounds like all the others. 

Coleman is not nearly as good at the task as is Brandon, who is a polished, disciplined speaker.  And in this case, it appears that Coleman stumbled badly, which does not surprise me. 

But hey, as long as President Coleman is willing to answer questions, I think it is really great, and I will have a few questions for her the next time I am at one of these events where she is speaking:

  1. So who do you think Michigan should have hired at the time?  You may not use hindsight in this question.  Jim Harbaugh was not a candidate; nor was Brady Hoke.  The committee assembled by your Athletic Director at the time recommended Greg Schiano.
  2. Why did Michigan fail to secure the services of Jeff Casteel in early 2008?
  3. Explain the sudden rise in salaries for Assistant Coaches and Coordinators at Michigan after the departure of Rich Rodriguez.
  4. David Brandon has used some unusually pointed and colorful language to describe what was wrong in the August 2009 reporting by the Detroit Free Press.  What do you have to say about the paper and its reporting?
  5. Have you read Three and Out?  If not, why not?  And before making a pronouncement on whether the Rodriguez hire had been a mistake, don't you think it would have been a good idea to read the book?  Why would you have refused to speak with John U. Bacon?






May 12th, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

Do you suppose that part of DB's charter was something along the lines of "fix this, do whatever it takes, but fix this".

I don't have a problem with your inability to let RR go, but questions like that don't do your efforts justice. I suspect that in hindsight, MSC and Martin may well have done things differently. It isn't a perfect world we live in, not even in Section 1. Where we have been plays a big role in where we are, and I rather like where we are.


May 13th, 2012 at 12:41 AM ^

This where I have a problem with this line of reasoning.  HC's don't always get their first choice and it's up to them to have viable alternatives.  This is why coaches network. 

Plus it's not like Casteel was the only 3-3-5 DC around.  About the same time Hoke hired Rocky Long for what I'm sure was not Michigan money and he is to the 3-3-5 as RR is to the spread.

Final point, how many DC's are willing to come in without being part of the decision for who his assistants will be?

Eye of the Tiger

May 12th, 2012 at 10:37 AM ^

It's over. That sh*t just didn't work out. Sure Rodriguez had a lot of underminers, and the administration didn't pony up for Casteel, but I don't think Mary Sue Coleman or Michael Rosenberg were the ones who hired Greg Robinson to run a defense he didn't understand, or hired inept position coaches like Tony Gibson. I'm pretty sure they weren't the one whose defensive recruiting classes included a vast list of busts and future transfers either. So let's just say there was blame to go around, and Rodriguez+Michigan just wasn't a very good fit, okay?

It probably could have been a better fit, if circumstances both endogenous and exogenous to the running of the football program had been more favorable, but they weren't, so it wasn't. I'll always be grateful to Rodriguez for finding and developing Denard, and for those amazing Notre Dame games in '09 and '10, but I think it's painfully obvious at this point that hiring him wasn't a great idea. 

But hey...we've ended up in a good place. We have a good team, and the best recruiting classes we've had in god knows how long. We have good coaches on both sides of the ball, and we have good position coaches too. We have a head coach who may not be a "genius," but is obviously a lot smarter than he lets on, and is clearly a LOT more street smart than Rodriguez. And he can handle the underminers. All's well that ends well, if you ask me.


May 12th, 2012 at 10:40 AM ^

Good God. This isn't even beating a dead horse anymore, the horse has long been buried. It's more like a civil war reenactment of beating a dead horse. May be time to find a new hobby bud.


May 12th, 2012 at 10:41 AM ^

At the time, Coleman said, many were criticizing former coach Lloyd Carr's style as being too old fashioned, outdated next to the flashy, spread offense-style play gaining popularity.

We know, given the first couple of candidates who allegedly turned them down, that this wasn't the mindset going into the process. 

I'm not sure how the specifics of Rodriguez' tenure are a surprise or a sin.  He was the product of a bungled process and his years in Ann Arbor are just a reflection of Martin and Coleman's weakness.  Rodriguez had his chance to emerge and take control but he too was wasn't up to the challenge, just like the people who hired him.


May 12th, 2012 at 10:46 AM ^

and perhaps had Coach Rod been given time he would have brought success to the program but THIS IS MICHIGAN. This isn't the place for a guy to learn on the job, this is a place for the right guy to take the helm and guide the greatest football program in the land on a course of further glory and greatness. I was on the Coach Rod bandwagon from day one, and I was disappointed he was let go, but now that time has passed it's easier to see that Coach Rod was not the right guy. He was a breath of fresh air, he brought some change, but he was not ready for this assignment.

For better or worse Coach Hoke is the new man. You need to ask yourself if you a Coach Rod Man or a Michigan Man?

I think we both know the answer to that...Go Blue.


May 12th, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

I'm not sure why everyone responds to any RR post with "We have a great team... Hoke is the coach now... enjoy the #1 recruiting class etc etc..."

Appreciating the talent and success we're currently experiencing, and debating the RR situation are not mutually exclusive. If you truly don't want to hear/talk about him, don't bother visiting the thread. 

I appreciate these threads, because I still enjoy hearing any news that comes out of his time here, and the reaction and insight of those willing to share on the board. So please don't discourage these discussions, because I (along with may others I believe) still find the topic interesting.


May 12th, 2012 at 10:53 AM ^

We'll never know the whole story, and frankly, this isn't one of those things where it's important to figure out the whole thing. As the monkey from the Lion King said, "It doesn't matter. It's in the past."

Bando Calrissian

May 12th, 2012 at 10:58 AM ^

These threads always just have that feel of those Japanese WW2 soldiers who emerge from a Pacific Island jungle in full-out survival combat mode thinking the war is still going on.


May 12th, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

The following is a message from the Michigan Man PD:

Dear Section 1,

We would like to inform you that it would not be very Michigan Man-like to ask these questions in public. Your Michigan Man membership would be suspended immediately pending action from the Elder Council of Michigan Men, and you would be facing the possibility of having your Michigan Man status revoked. Also, it would be in your best interest to move on from the past and let Mary Sue do her job. Go Blue!

Seriously, let it go.

Michigan Man Police Department

snarling wolverine

May 12th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

Given that the football program now appears to be in good shape, why do you want her to focus on made in the past?  How is that relevant now?

Also, have you considered that Three and Out might not have told us the complete story?  You bring up the book like it's been brought down from the heavens.  John U. Bacon's made a journalistic career out of writing fluffy, feel-good pieces.  Three and Out was originally intended to be such a piece about Rodriguez.  Only gradually - as the Rodriguez years turned out to be much worse than expected - did the project change into an "exposé," the kind of book Bacon had never written before.  And even then, he continued to allow Rodriguez to have the right to review anything before it was printed, which kind of defeated the whole purpose.

Section 1

May 12th, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

There is a big difference, however, between John U. Bacon and all of his antagonists.  John is answering questions.  John is willing to talk, to be challenged, to explain his work and his thinking.

Coleman; Brandon; Carr; Rosenberg; the Freep; not so much.

Which is why, on the occasion of Coleman actually answering such a question, I simply posed some additional questions for the subject that she opened up.

Feat of Clay

May 12th, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

And i remain a pretty big RR fan.

This topic came up based on one question from the crowd, and you weren't there, and now you are critiquing MSC's speaking style and gunning for her to answer questions the answers to which wouldn't satisfy you.


May 12th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

Of course it was a mistake.  It was a desperation hire of an outsider.  Martin had done shit in terms of securing a replacement for Carr.  It seemed he just figured he'd grab Les Miles or something (a move MSC and Carr blocked).  Whoever we hired was going to be a last minute desperation grab after a bunch of failures.  

The Michigan fanbase was pissed after the boating incident, the striking out on a freaking Rutgers coach (in hindsight, thanks for not coming Schiano), etc.  Hiring RR was a mistake in that it was a grab at someone who had a bit of a national name without any regard for if he'd actually fit in.  He clearly didn't.  Part of that is on the AD for not prepping him properly for the press conferences, part of that is on how RR himself acted (the manner in which he fired Carr's staff for example).  Even if RR had gone 12-0, the hiring process itself still would have been a screwup and Martin would deserve criticism for how he conducted the search for Carr's replacement.  

At the end of the day it isn't like we profited while RR suffered.  The man was paid millions of dollars, we paid his buyout (instead of trying to use the sanctions or something as an excuse to fire him with cause), he did a year at CBS, and now he has a whole new BCS program to try again with.  

Also your point about the salaries is just plain pointless.  Martin was a cheap bastard with assistant salaries, he always was.  It wasn't like Carr era assistants were raking in the money.  When Brandon took power he may have realized we were paying below industry average, but he also had to realize the alumni base would go up in flames if we handed out raises to the first coaching staff to manage back to back losing seasons at Michigan since the 1950s.  Actually for that matter aside from Mattison, we weren't paying Hoke's assistants that much (relative to say Alabama) until they won the Sugar Bowl and Brandon kicked out the bonuses and new contracts to retain the talent.  

End of the day, the hring process was a mistake.  RR himself also provided to be a mistake based on his ability to lead the program forward


May 12th, 2012 at 11:20 AM ^

Mary Sue Coleman is one of the brightest University presidents in the country. She predicted the economic downturn well in advance and put the University of Michigan in an almost unmatched position of preperation for it. To be honest, whatever cross you're bearing about the Rich Rod era, I would have been more than a little disgusted if you grilled her about the nuances of Three and Out and other Rich Rod conspiracy theories.

Rich Rod was a mistake because he failed. We're worse off than when he came, that's all that matters. Mary Sue Coleman has made the University of Michigan a better, stronger institution, and I'd like to think she has better things to do with her time than appease your Three and Out fueld indignation over Casteel (who, according to that book, stayed in West Virginia because that was hos home and because he was familiar with the new coach, not because he got a bad deal).

Rich Rod is gone. Let it go.

Section 1

May 12th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

I think it is reaonably fair to compare President Coleman to David Brandon; they are under similar media microscopes; they have similar administrative pressures; they both have large personal fundraising burdens.

David Brandon would not have gotten caught in such a Gordon Gee-like answer, and more than anything, it is not just a matter of Brandon knowing what not to say and being more skilled with non-answers.

Because Brandon has said a lot of stuff that is more impolitic and at the same time smarter than President Coleman.  First and foremost was Brandon's calling out the Free Press for specific criticism.  That is what ya might call defending the University of Michigan.  I see Coleman as basically spineless by comparison.

STW P. Brabbs

May 12th, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

I'm learning a lot here. It's personally edifying to realize that I should just bypass any arguments people make about Coleman being a great president for the university as a whole in order to focus on what transpired with regard to a defensive coordinator from West Virginia who never had a job at Michigan. Thank god this board isn't some kind of fanboy circle jerk, or I'd still be stumbling in the dark.

Feat of Clay

May 12th, 2012 at 4:24 PM ^

Spineless? Spineless, really? Are you out of your mind? The woman who took the U all the way to the Supreme Court in defense of a policy the University valued? Who regularly stands up to legislators who want to see us change our benefits policies, police our faculty, review our course offerings, interfere in our admissions policies, control the kind of research we do? Who has stood up to our regents and our faculty on certain issues, even though that kind of dissent can make her job uncomfortable? Who speaks across the country on all kinds of higher Ed issues? You mean THAT spineless president?

Come on. You may not agree with her stance on issues, you may not like her leadership style, but spineless she isn't.


May 12th, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

Section 1 is a drain on this community. He is a ranting, raving loon who needs to see a therapist. I have no idea why he is allowed to continue taking regular shits on this community.


May 12th, 2012 at 11:08 PM ^

Calling a spade "a spade" is not a personal attack. I am of the belief that Section 1 legitimately needs to see a psychological professional. I also have no idea why the powers that be make us suffer his paranoid missives. People do not have a right to life, liberty, and messageboard. I'm not being hyperbolic: I cannot understand why he's tolerated.


May 12th, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

Hiring RR was a huge mistake.  Not becuase he is a bad person or bad coach because he is neither, but because he was a bad fit for the program both on and off the field.  

Michigan demanded a "Michigan Man."  And is ridicuous as that sentiment is, a large portion of the alumni, administration and fanbase were simply not ready to accept someone so different from that mythical ideal.  Then the press pounced on that negative reaction and RR started losing and it was over almost before it started.  


May 12th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I try to maintain at least a thin veneer of civilization. I'm supposed to be a voice of calm and rationality around here. This board only operates when the discourse remains civil, and adding to a flamewar provides nothing of value. But while I can't remove the thread (it is relevant and timely), I nevertheless feel compelled to make the followin statement:

JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST ON A GODDAMN BISCUIT LET THIS SHIT GO EVERYONE. AND I MEAN EVERYONE; MARY SUE, SECTION 1... EVERYONE. He doesn't coach here any more. Tyler went away. Tyler's gone. If I read  ONE MORE GODDAMN DEBATE ABOUT "DERR HE WASN'T A MICHIGAN MAN" vs. "OMG IF HE JUST HAD OOOOOOOONE MORE CHANCE" I swear to God I'm going to burn this goddamn place to the ground.

I mean... Christ, man. JUST EVERYONE LET THIS SHIT GO.


May 12th, 2012 at 12:03 PM ^

They love this shit and are pissed about their maize and blue Rich Rod tattoos. Rich Rod had major support from national writers, local news, and ESPN so many (myself included) became immediate fans. Some idiots will never let him go. He lost that support when everyone realized he sucked. I was wrong about Rich Rod and admit he was simply a terrible coach. However I won't go write a book to cover up my poor choice of supporting him for too long.