The next running back coach (WHEN IT HAPPENS).

Submitted by James Burrill Angell on January 17th, 2014 at 1:36 PM

First off, this post is in no way suggesting, theorizing, condoning, encouraging Fred Jackson to move on. At SOME POINT he will likely retire as most of us do from our respective jobs. If you want to go there, take it to another thread.

What I was hoping to discuss was who might make a good pick among the likely candidates we toss around WHEN Fred retires assuming things are much as they are now. Obviously we know Mike Hart is out there though I don't know whether or not he's still with Eastern Michigan now that there is a coaching change there. Tyrone Wheatley is obviously mentioned but is it a lateral or backwards move to go from NFL running backs coach to college running backs coach. Is he looking for an OC gig. I guess the third candidate with M ties I would wonder about is Thomas Wilcher the long time head coach at Cass Tech. Would a guy like that translate into better Detroit area recruiting? Are there any others with M ties out there at the position who might make sense.

Also.....not to thread jack myself but has anyone heard anything further about the recruitment. of Tyrone Wheatley Jr. My recollection is he's a 2015 TE/DE recruit and that he has an offer. I don't recall hearing about him making any trips in during the season or frankly anything about him since the summer.



January 17th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

Someone whose primary job on the team will be something other than RB coach.  Because let's face it, RB coach isn't really a job.  You have one of the smallest units on the team and you're coaching fundamentals - success at the position depends on instincts way more than technique.  Fred Jackson isn't on the staff to coach RBs, he's on the staff as a recruiting ambassador, so, replace him with another one, or maybe a ST coach if the need arises.

Forgive me.

January 17th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

M&BW's comment is generally correct. I've not done empirical research to confirm this, but anecdotally, I suspect few head coaches and coordinators come up in the ranks via the RB coaching role, which is typically oriented toward recruiting and player relations. Interestingly (and sadly, in many ways) it is one of the few coaching jobs in which minority coaches are not proportionally underrepresented. 


January 17th, 2014 at 2:30 PM ^

I think it's bullshitty to shit on the Michigan Man moniker.  Even if it didn't mean anything when it started to gain traction, why can't we/Hoke/this generation of athletes and students make it stand for something?  Take some pride in it rather than getting tired of it.


January 17th, 2014 at 2:39 PM ^

For a position like running back coach, I'm perfectly fine having a Michigan guy.  

I think position coaches in general are pretty interchangeable most of the time, in terms of their actual coaching ability, and I definitely think this about running back coaches.  The technique involved in coaching backs is going to be largely the same from one system to another.  There are only so many ways you can coach a player to take the handoff, wait for the play to develop, protect the ball, etc.  The big variable is recruiting, and there, having a guy that played here and loved the experience so much he came back to coach - that's a good thing.


January 17th, 2014 at 11:15 PM ^

On the whole Michigan man thing:

We should always try to hire the best candidate for any open position regardless of whether or not they have a connection to the school.  Limiting ourselves to candidates with a connection to the University or giving a candidate an advantage because he has some connection with the school (as many would say we did with Hoke) would really be a mistake.  With that said, I think there are also situations where we may be able to get a better candidate than we otherwise would've been able to because it's a guy who played or coached at the school.  That seemed to be the case when we hired an NFL defensive coordinator and I feel like that would probably be the case if we were able to hire an NFL running backs coach like Wheatley for the same position at Michigan.

One other thing... while I completely think that Michigan should always go after the best candidate whether or not he has a connection to the school, part of being the best candidate is embodying the values and love of Michigan that our program is all about.  This doesn't mean that you have to be someone with a connection to the school, but everything else being completely equal I'd take a guy like Mike Hart who I know loves Michigan over a guy with the exact same resume but didn't play for Michigan.

Anyway, to answer the original question about who I would hire, I think Michigan should definitely look at candidates besides Wheatley and Hart but if we could get Wheatley I doubt there are too many other NFL running backs coaches that are looking to take the same job at the NCAA level.



January 17th, 2014 at 1:51 PM ^

i am just sick and tired of the michigan man thing.  It doesn't work.  How about we hire the best available or the up and coming person or a great recruiter.  I beleive in the best man should always be hired regardless of this michigan man thing even if he is from OSU or MSU or anywhere.  we need to get over the michigan man if we want to become relevent again, or having serious head coachs consider looking at michigan or we will conrtinue make hires like hoke


January 17th, 2014 at 2:51 PM ^

No I am not disqualifying michigan men.  All I want is to hear the best man was hired, and not this guy got hired because he is a michigan man or had lunch with Bo on a random sunday afternoon.  I want michigan to hire the best coaches in the land be it from anywhere (this includes michigan men).

Bill the Butcher

January 17th, 2014 at 5:48 PM ^

No actually Fielding Yost said this:

"But do let me reiterate the spirit of Michigan. It is based upon a deathless loyalty to Michigan and all her ways; an enthusiasm that makes it second nature for Michigan men to spread the gospel of their university to the world's distant outposts; a conviction that nowhere is there a better university, in any way, than this Michigan of ours.”

- Fielding Yost

And this is where the Michigan Man moniker came from.  It is, as has been said previously, about loving Michigan and the way that we do things.  



January 17th, 2014 at 6:22 PM ^

 "A Michigan Man Will Coach Michigan"


Game: Prior to 1989 NCAA Tournament
Date: 3/16/1989
Teams: Bill Frieder vs. Bo Schembechler
Here's a hint: If you're going to take a new job before your old job is finished keep that news to yourself. In 1989, Michigan head coach Bill Frieder decided to take the same gig at Arizona State, and announced that he'd be leaving Ann Arbor for Tempe at the conclusion of the season. Michigan athletic director/football coaching legend Bo Schembechler (would you cross this dude?) told Frieder that while Big Blue's season wasn't over, Frieder's was, and that he could go ahead and pack his shorts for Arizona because he was fired. (Schembechler was far more pithy than us in explaining this, saying "A Michigan man will coach Michigan, not an Arizona State man.") Frieder's replacement, Steve Fisher, guided the Wolverines to the national championship that year, and recruited the Fab Five three years later. Frieder coached eight seasons at ASU, compiling a 132-108 record with just two NCAA tournament appearances.

Bando Calrissian

January 17th, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

I've come to realize the term Michigan Man is used about ten times more often by people who hate it than anyone who actually believes in it. Let's face it, basing a hiring decision on the fact a guy doesn't have connections to Michigan is just as dumb as the other way around.

In other words, give it a rest already, people.


January 17th, 2014 at 2:01 PM ^

FWIW, I believe that Mike Hart is one of only two assistants that the new EMU HC kept around.  Hopefully he'll have a short 20-minute drive west when Jackson retires.


January 17th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

I think Fred needs to move on. He did great things for Michigan and I don't mean any disrespect, but he should move on.

Yes yes yes, down vote me all you want, but the owner of this site even said that the down vote feature is not for disagreement. I know you folks will anyway.


January 17th, 2014 at 2:25 PM ^

Not saying he would be a bad hire but has Hart established a proven track record of coaching and progressing RBs? I have not followed closely enough to know. People seem to want to give him the job based solely on his success as a player at Michigan.


January 17th, 2014 at 4:39 PM ^

EMU the last three years has rushed for right around 2000 yards. He's had a 1000 yard rusher and another guy that had 950. Runners have gotten progressively better at EMU. I'm not sure he's the best candidate for the job, but he has proven he can coach. He loves U of M, and I am sure he could recruit well. So he is probably on a short list of potential guys. I'd like Wheatley first, but Hart would be on my top 5 list.


January 17th, 2014 at 2:33 PM ^

Is the Wilcher suggestion a joke?  His players are notorious for being very raw coming out of high school.  What makes you think he could coach at the college level?