Power ranking top-5 coaches in Michigan athletics after 2017-18 year

Submitted by Human Torpedo on May 31st, 2018 at 4:23 PM

1. John Beilein: Bottom line, even if he doesn't openly run for governor of Michigan, the number of write-ins this November might be enough to cost somebody the election. Anyone who thinks he hasn't earned the #1 spot now can kick rocks for all I care

2. Mike Bottom: Granted he's been slacking on the men's side a bit since Connor Jaeger graduated, but he's really gotten the women's side to take off now

3.Carol Hutchins: I will never sell short how incredible a women and hall of fame coach she is. That being said, while she's not even close to entering Berenson lame duck status, we need to solve these batting issues soon as these past two years just haven't up to par for our expectations. I'm starting to fear our window to a second title is closing fast

4. Mel Pearson: The promise is more than just there. It's actually getting overbearing right now. The body of work just needs to get bigger

5A. Jim Harbaugh: How you respond to getting kicked in the nuts once is just as important as not getting kicked in the nuts in the first place (which is saying something in a literal sense). Our savior complex of him is definitely broken, but it's not necessarily going to undo him

5B. Erik Bakich: Under strikingly similar circumstances to Harbaugh in which he had a big time youthful rebuilding year and just couldn't carry them over the finish line


Wolverine Devotee

May 31st, 2018 at 5:07 PM ^

This is a hard list to do, OP.

First, the 2017-18 season is not over yet. Men's and Women's Track & Field are gonna close it out next weekend at the NCAAs.

Harbaugh has won nothing of significance yet. All the coaches the OP listed have including Mel Pearson who won an NCAA Regional in his first season. I think Harbaugh is a great coach but he hasn't done anything that special yet.

Hutch is gonna be #1 until either A) we stop winning the B1G on a yearly basis or B) she retires. People including myself got very spoiled by the Romero years. She's the winningest coach in Michigan Athletics history and while 2018 did NOT finish how anyone liked, we still went 18-3 and won the B1G for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons. Anyone concerned about the future under her need to relax because we just signed the #7 class and the 2019 class has the #1 pitcher in the nation as well so things are gonna get better quickly.

Bev Plocki tied the all-time B1G Championship mark in all sports at 23 when W Gymnastics won again this year so she should be on that list, probably and 2nd or 3rd. 

Marcia Pankratz just had the best season in Michigan Field Hockey history as far as wins go. We went 21-3, 9-0 in the B1G and won the B1G Tournament which led to our first NCAA Final Four since 2003. Pankratz won the first-ever National Championship at Michigan by a women's team in 2001.

Dr. Marcelo Leonardi continues to keep Water Polo at the top of its conference in the CWPA. 3rd straight conference championship and NCAA bid (8 team tournament), finishing the season at 32-9. Leonardi is the winningest coach in program history as far as percentage goes.

The ages-old problem that is diving is what kept Mike Bottom from winning the B1G on the Men's side as Indiana pulled away due to their diving points. They're gonna lose their best swimmer next season so we shall see what happens. 

There is only one head coach who needs to be gone. Chris Whitten of Men's Golf. Dave Brandon screwed up big time by not trying to keep Andrew Sapp who left for his alma mater UNC, because everything Sapp built with the Final Four run in 2009 and regional title in 2011 has been destroyed. Whitten is 458-478-27 all-time, has only made the NCAA Regional 3 times in his 8 years and has never even advanced out of it. You don't even have to win the regional to advance. 

Rowing is concerning me because OSU has completely bypassed us as a program in short time so Rothstein might be next if things don't change soon. Got an unprecedented recruiting tool in the indoor rowing center that just opened so if things don't change......


May 31st, 2018 at 5:07 PM ^

1. Jim Harbaugh. If Harbaugh leaves the trajectory of the football team and the athletic department budget nosedives. There isn’t a person near his ability to replace him, including Don Brown. His 2016 team was the most talented team in a decade plus and the 2018 team should be on par. A few bounces one way or the other and he would already be considered a legend after 3 seasons and rightfully so.

2. John Beilein. The perfect coach for this university and we are blessed to have him. Last year was amazing and the program has a sky is the limit feel right now. Near Harbaugh, but if Michigan could only keep 1 coach between the two it would be Harbaugh hands down.


May 31st, 2018 at 6:14 PM ^

I'd also include how important the sports are. For example, people don't pay much attention to softball despite how successful it is, so that is a hit because of the marketing failure there.


Harbaugh, for all his problems still gets Michigan in the news a lot with his publicity stunts so that would shoot him up. Same thing with Dave Brandon in 2014, even though he sucked he still got us in the news with the Shane Morris stuff and all the off the field stuff.


Any publicity is good publicity in my book.


May 31st, 2018 at 7:07 PM ^

First, the thing about DB having been good at gaining attention is ill-concieved and short sighted, and it garnered you a downvote from me.

Second, please tell me what publicity stunt Harbaugh 'pulled'.  And be sure to include the part where he called the press and told them to come by - because that's what makes things a "publicity stunt".

Wolverine Devotee

May 31st, 2018 at 7:09 PM ^

Marketing failure? Michigan Softball sells out nearly all their games. Tickets were impossible to get when Sierra Romero was here, they sold out in three minutes for the NCAA Super Regional. 

Softball isn't a popular because it doesn't have the media coverage Football and Basketball do. 


Matte Kudasai

June 1st, 2018 at 1:56 AM ^

Year 1 - With the exception of OSU 2nd half, the team played well.  Utah was very winnable, I'd put that on Ruddock.  The MSU debacle stung bad, but really that was more luck than anything.  Popular sentiment is that Durkin's head may have been elsewhere in the OSU game.  Impressive bowl romp.   Overall grade - B

Year 2 - Going into Iowa we were a Top 3 team.  This was the first game where I think poor coaching actually cost us.  We were conservative on offense and when we needed 5 yards on 3rd down, it seemed like time after time we had a 25 yard pass called.  Speight got hurt as a result of this and really we were playing to let the defense win, which they didn't do.  We all know what happened in Columbus.  The refs and secondly a wounded QB that couldn't get it done.  Could still have been an excellent year but a sub par performance in the Orange Bowl in a game we still should have won if not for Jourdan Lewis getting beat (in one of his worst games at M) and Jordan Glasgow missing a huge tackle on the kickoff.  Overall Grade - B

Year 3 - Not a good year for several reasons.  The 3 main reasons IMO were poor QB play, an offensive coaching staff that just didn't gel & some may not agree with this but reason #3 was a defense that wasn't good enough to take over a game when we needed them.  Youth and inexperience was also a factor.  This season really boiled down to 2 games that we shouldn't have lost MSU & SC.  I think the coaching error in the MSU game was that we weren't aggressive enough in the 1st half when we knew a monsoon was coming in the 2nd half.  That and really poor QB play that was too much to overcome.  Still we had 2 weeks to prepare, and we laid an egg.  Highly disappointing.  Wiscy was winnable if not for Peters going down and the defense failing to win it on their own.  The coaches did an excellent job and were prepared for OSU.  Again, without a QB we just couldn't execute the plan.  The bowl game against SC really summed up the season.  We got out to a comfortable lead, couldn't put them away, again part to poor QB play (this time Peters) and the defense simply couldn't win a game on their own that they should have.  Grade = C- 


June 1st, 2018 at 10:20 AM ^

What Barnes Arico? Coaching women's basketball at U of M is not an easy gig, and in the Big Ten era for WBB, no head coach has gotten us to a postseason tourney as many times as Kim has...and she's done it every year she's been here so far to boot.

Given the success she's had with the level difficulty that comes with here, I think she deserves a spot on that list.


June 1st, 2018 at 1:11 PM ^

Where's Yaklich? 

You could actually make the arugment that both Yaklich and Don Brown are two of the most important coaches at Michigan. Without the defense on both teams, each team takes a huge step down.

SMart WolveFan

June 1st, 2018 at 6:21 PM ^

Wouldn't it have been easier to power rank the "bottom 1" coach in Michigan Athletics?

That way, you wouldn't have insulted all these fine UofM coaches by not knowing who they were, in your poorly researched ruse.

If want to talk about Harbaugh, just do it.