Why did Brandon Fire Rich?

Submitted by M-Wolverine on January 6th, 2011 at 9:23 AM
Or maybe more accurately, what percentages do you feel he weighed the different reason. Because it obviously wasn't one thing. I can think of 3 major categories, but you may be able to come up with more, or different permutations.

1. The record. I'm not going to list the details we all know, and pile on. But it obviously wasn't good. Was that the primary, or overriding factor?

2. The atmosphere around the program. Fans, alumni unhappy, media circling, national perception. Had it just gotten to the point that it had all gotten so ugly, that it didn't seem like there was enough momentum to turn it around, or fight through it?

3. The other 95%. Brandon says the W-L and the stuff we saw was only a small part; so he did like the whole picture?Maybe he didn't like either the state of the program, the talent level, or what he saw behind the scenes; whether in practice, or in interactions with players, staff, the department, the public. Everything seemed like it was good, but was Brandon saying he was seeing stuff we can't? Because if he thought 2 and 3 were great, wouldn't he put up with #1 against all fan pressure?

It's surely some combo of any number of things, but now that we've had a day away from it, we can consider why it didn't work, and why Brandon came to the conclusion he did (whether you agree with it or not).



January 6th, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

Because he wouldn't give his current coach a vote of confidence threw him through the mud, couldn't get Harbaugh anymore, and realized, "Fuck, I dont have a choice now. Hopefully I can pay someone enough money to want to come here now..."


January 6th, 2011 at 9:47 AM ^

In December of 2008 everyone lauded Bill Martin for landing a great coach with an exciting scheme. Very quickly, those same people freaked out and chastised Martin for going "outside the family" and RRs tenure here speaks for itself. 

Reserve judgment until it plays out......


January 6th, 2011 at 9:52 AM ^

I would definitely not say "everyone lauded Bill Martin" for hiring Rodriguez.  All reports speak to a very vocal internal group of alumni and boosters that were opposed from the outset and may have actually done things to undermine Rodriguez's efforts.  I'm not saying this is true or not, but the fact that multiple reports from multiple sources speak to this fact (?) make it impossible for you to say "everyone" lauded Martin.

Maize and Blue…

January 6th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

As Sam Webb repeated this morning, Rich didn't fit in with the money crowd or down in front set that runs Michigan football.  They were upset with the hire after the first meeting with RR because he wasn't one of them, didn't talk like them, and was a redneck.  He even went so far as to say that Rich wouldn't fit in no matter what he did on the field.

Another called in and asked about Patterson from TCU.  Sam stated he wouldn't be a good fit either with this set.  IMHO as long as this is the set of people DB is going to try to please Michigan football will never rise to prominence again.

Yost and Bo had no connection to Michigan and were our most successful coaches IMO.  The fact that Brandon wants someone from the "Michigan family" scares the hell out me as it appears JH (who I don't care for) will not be coming here.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:50 AM ^

I think I agree with you but its a damn shame that the "money men" get to dictate a lot of the direction of the program.  I know that's how it works, but those f-ers are no better than you and I and probably are less intelligent.  Its just a bummer that our favorite program and the source of a lot of enjoyment and grief is being directed by a few wealthy people.


January 6th, 2011 at 11:28 AM ^

I disagree, respectfully of course. 

The money men do not dictate the direction of the program.  In fact, gifts/priority seats donations have been steadily increasing year after year:

Athletic Budget 2007-2011, Annual Gifts and Priority Seating:

2007 - $13,085,000

2008 - $13,335,000

2009 - $13,600,000

2010 - $13,700,000

2011 - $20,972,000 (due to new stadium seating)

Even corporate sponsorship has increased, sometimes dramatically:

2007 - $5,041,000

2008 - $4,925,000

2009 - $9,880,000

2010 - $13,760,000

2011 - $14,021,000

That stated... I don't think the big-time donors are holding out.  It seems that they will donate along with the rest of us and even increase their donations.

Now they might be holding out on major gifts, i.e. new buildings, but the athletic complex, especially football, continues to expand and improve, so it seems there is no shortage of gift money there.


January 6th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

I think there's some truth to both perspectives. Yes, donations have continued to increase. But yes, it's possible that major donors were threatening to withhold future donations.

At the same time, yes, just having lots of money doesn't make you a better person. But yes, making a lot of money suggests an ability to be successful in some sense. How do we feel about Stephen Ross going after JH for the Miami Dolphins?


January 6th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

I don't know why people create a Conspiracy Theory around Rich Rodriguez.  His start was a little bumpy (WVU buy out, shred-gate, alternating captains, # 1 jersey, probation....) but all of that would have been forgotten and forgiven if he had won some meaningful games.

Everybody loves Denard and we all know that DR is a result of RR's system.  IWhat he was trying to do would have been accepted if the team won games.  He just didn't put a very good football team on the field after three years and that forced DB's hand.

Sure, some wealthy donors and people in the Athletic Department might not have been thrilled with the hire but everybody would have been on board if he had won more games.  He didn't and the negatives outweighed the positives.  That's why he had to go, not because anybody was out to get him.

Blue in Seattle

January 6th, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

But being a clone of Bo means, "I like Big Ten Championships but don't care about the National Championship".  Gary Moeller did very well at getting the team to the Rose Bowl and had a better than Bo average of Bowl Game wins, much better.  And still fans weren't satisfied.

Brandon sounded like he was stating that he just wants Big Ten Championships, but he also said he wants Michigan to be better than OSU, which is the year in year out premier team in the Big Ten.

Bo nailed it because he beat his mentor soundly against all predictions AND had a high winning percentage.  This gave him the credential to never be fired as long as his winning percentage was great and he beat OSU half the time.

Gary Moeller was expected to exceed that, and that is unrealistic, especially since in the 1990's the National Championship was a pure vote.

Then Lloyd steps in salvages the season in 1995 by beating OSU in the end and is allowed another season, minor grumbling as we don't contend for the Big Ten Championship, but then we stun OSU in Columbus.

1997 Lloyd nails it and is untouchable.

Rich Rodriguez was hired into the tough position as the rebound from a great coach retiring, and couldn't even beat MSU let alone OSU.

My prediction is that whoever we hire there will be plenty of press reports about why the fan base and alumni don't like him, and then if he wins the "red letter games" he will stay.

If he doesn't then he's gone after three years.

If you look back into history, this is exactly what OSU went through until they found Woody.


Maize and Blue…

January 6th, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

Where are all the upperclassman that should have been playing that LC recruited?  Better yet where are all the high draft pick the last couple of years that LC recruited?   Brandon Graham was doing nothing special until Mike Barwis got a hold of him and he became BG the stud. 

As Bo himself said when Moeller got fired by Illinois, three years isn't enough.  If we are not going to get the so called big fish we want why change the HC this year.  Bring in a new D staff, but keep Tall who has done a good job with the DLine.  Texas just poached Diaz from MSU. 

Whoever ends up getting hired will have a lot of starters coming back pending transfer and should be able to win 8-9 games.  What happens if they don't?


January 6th, 2011 at 1:15 PM ^

Sure, anybody that wins alot will be accepted by the down in fronts holding the purse strings. However, anyone that has the ability and talent to win in 21st century college football won't please them unless his name is Jim Harbaugh. Seeing as that ship has sailed and ol Les Miles had to get an ESPN OTL piece dedicated to his lack of ethics, I dont see us becoming a top program in a long long long long long time. Frankly, I think it is just punishment for the arrogant down in fronts who run anyone they don't like out of town or attempt to undermine them from day one. 


January 6th, 2011 at 11:50 AM ^

This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off.  You criticize people for not liking RR regardless of what he does of the football field and then state that you don't care for JH, which must not be based on what he does on the field, either.  The guy has proven to be a hell of a coach.  The hypocrisy around here is ridiculous.  I don't feel that we have to have a coach that has a Michigan connection directly, but I agree that he better come in understading the school and its traditions.  


January 6th, 2011 at 12:13 PM ^

I probably sound like a broken record, but I don't want a guy that openly bad-mouths Michigan players and academics like Harbaugh did simply to boost opinion of his own program.  I am/was a pro-Rodriguez guy and don't really fit in with who you refer to in your post but am definitely in the anti-Harbaugh camp.  That would not change if Harbaugh had 4 national championship rings.


January 6th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

I can respectfully disagree with your position on Harbaugh.  You have every right to not like a guy, as long as you don't bag on others for not liking someone else. That is when it jumps the line into hypocricy. 


January 6th, 2011 at 1:53 PM ^

I'll assume you're not calling me a hypocrite because nothing I have done thus far is hypocritical.  I "railed" against the firing of Rodriguez and now that it has happen, I am outspoken about not hiring Harbaugh.  And I definitely do not hold it against people that like/want Harbaugh.  I'll just like them less for their differing opinion.  (Kidding)


January 6th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

I am not calling you a hypocrite.  Like I said, I can respect your opinion.  I would only call you a hypocrite if you were mad at people for not liking RR and then saying you didn't like Jim Harbaugh.  I am afraid that all of the people who were for RR and were quick to say "we need to support our head coach" will now be upset that he got fired and complain about the new hire.  He are just going to end up in the same situation with everyone on a new side of the fence.  If we can all remain calm, have our opinions on who we like and don't like and then rally behind whomever is hired whether they were our choice or not, we might actually put this thing back on track.


January 6th, 2011 at 2:50 PM ^

I understand your point and agree in general.  However, it is somewhat disingenuine to call Rodriguez supporters that are skeptical of a new coach hypocrites when Rodriguez detractors are now trying to rally support for a new coach.  If I wanted, I could easily argue that those same people should have taken some of their own medicine and supported Rodriguez more whole-heartedly and we may not be in this position now.  I don't necessarily believe it would have turned out differently than it has, but I think you get my point.


January 6th, 2011 at 2:56 PM ^

gone public with his criticisms, but if you look closely at the content of what he said I think it offers more reasons to hire him, not less. 

His comments show that were he to come to Michigan, academics would be a high priority for him and he would do everything within his power to ensure that every player had a great future after Michigan, whether they end up playing on Sundays or not.

Also: I've always defended RichRod, but I do think that we would be unlikely to have more Demar Dorsey-type situations if JH were to come to Michigan.


January 6th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

I can't speak to this poster, but the pro-RR crowd generally doesn't take the stance that "off the field stuff doesn't matter".  They take the stance that RR hasn't done anything off the field that is wrong (NCAA infractions notwithstanding, but that was a witchhunt that could be launched against any major football program in America if they had vindictive local media too).

Otherwise, he's been a very standup guy, personality-wise.  As for his understanding of M, he knew OSU/MSU/ND were rivalry games, he just happened to lose a lot of those.  He admittedly wasn't aware of some tradition about a #1 jersey that really only was invented in the late 90s.  He ran an offense that wasn't "traditional" Michigan, even though it's more three yards and a cloud of dust than any team since Todd Collins was QB.

In other words, I don't see hypocrisy in not liking Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles because they seem to be cads, even though they win.  Off the field issues should be a concern, as long as people focus on the off the field issues that matter, like character, instead of those that don't, like understanding M traditions.


January 6th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

Really?  Because Rodriguez wasn't offered the same pass you're giving Brandon.  He had 2 more years on his contract "to play out".  At what point do you pass judgement on Brandon?  Now?  After the hiring of Hoke?  After a pair of 7-6 seasons from the next coach?  When is it fair to offer a criticism of how this is playing out?

It seems like we've got one standard for the coach, and one for the AD.

I think if it's fair to look ahead at where you thought the coach was taking you and say "I don't want to go there, let's make a change", it's at least fair to freaking criticize where it looks like this AD is taking you prior to everything "playing out".


January 6th, 2011 at 1:01 PM ^

I think that's an overreaction.  No improvement was shown and the Defense and Special teams regressed horribly.  I think RR was given a more than fair shake by a lot of the fan base and he happened to lose most of us this year.  I know I was a supporter until this season.  At some point you have to recognize that the wheels have come off.


January 6th, 2011 at 1:57 PM ^

Again, I understand the point about improvement and lack thereof and the lack thereof spelling doom for Rodriguez.  But to be critical of your post, your statement that no improvement was shown is simply incorrect.  There were many signs of improvement and to ignore those further demeans the efforts of Rodriguez.  The incoming coach is definitely going to enjoy the fruits of Rodriguez's efforts and wins next year should carry some sort of an asterisk that they come, in part, as a result of Rodriguez's sweat and tears.


January 6th, 2011 at 9:54 AM ^

We lost the only viable candidate that the fanbase as a whole wanted. Now we are starting a national coaching search in January. That is not good and it is something to criticize. Brandon was counting on Harbaugh and you could hear it yesterday in the presser. After putting RR through the ringer he had no choice. Maybe my verbage was a little lame and for that I apologize.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:13 AM ^

It could be argued he wanted him to stay, and gave him a chance to change the narrative in the bowl, and instead, got killed and made it harder to keep him (kinda the theory Brian just said on the radio). Not sure I agree with it, but curious how you took Brandon's actions to be sticking it to Rich.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

We didn't even belong in that bowl game.  The only reason we got invited is because of the potential ratings because of the large national fan base.  I can't figure out why so many people(DB included) really thought 15 practices were going to make a difference.  If we were in the Pizza Pizza Bowl where we belonged, we would have won but still had the same glaring issues.  Would RR have been kept then?  We needed a new defense, not a new HC.  We have just become ND.  The real question should have been:  Who gives us the best chance to win in 2011 and 2012.  It sure as F' isn't Brady Hoke or any other coach other than RR.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:38 AM ^

We were going to win that game. I didn't see a lot of people predicting a loss, no more a historic ass-whipping. The way we played, we might NOT have won the Pizza Bowl...how would that have looked? This was an opportunity to play well against a good team...and again it showed we're not close.
<br>The question isn't who will help us win most in 2011...it's who will make us good 2012-2020.


January 6th, 2011 at 11:51 AM ^

At one point on ESPN they were showing nearly 80% of the pools had MSU winning that game.  It closed closer to 50% but you're completely high if you think we had any business whatsoever being in that bowl.

The way we played had a lot to do with who we were playing.

And for the record, I'd take Rodriguez + a new DC / scheme over anyone else out there with this team 2+ years from now.

Steve in PA

January 6th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^


We needed a new defense, not a new HC.  We have just become ND.  The real question should have been:  Who gives us the best chance to win in 2011 and 2012?


So now what do we do since we've already been spurned by what appears for all purposes to have been the only other coaching option on DB's list.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:53 AM ^

I agree whole heartley with your OP. RR did not stand a chance since he arrived, because this University is nothing more than a bunch of Wine Sipping Cheese Nibblers that have to have it their way!


Makes me sick to be a MI fan the way the last 3 years have gone!

Section 1

January 6th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

for firing Rich Rodriguez.  That's been done.  We know about that, for sure. 

I think our team would have a better 2011 recruting class, and be in a much better position to perform well on the field in 2011, if Coach Rodriguez had not been relieved of his position.  I think Brandon has made that mistake, already.  I don't have to wait and see, to be able to criticize that.

I'll watch and wait to see what the process produces, for a next coach.

And please; now we have to pull together?  Now we have to support our future coach, because we support our team?  I may throw up.

Robbie Moore

January 6th, 2011 at 2:59 PM ^

What universe do you live in? There was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that happened against a mediocre Penn State, Wisconsin, Ohio State or Mississippi State that should give anyone any confidence that Rodriguez could turn the ship around in 2011. For heavens sake man, we got trucked by Mississippi State. Mississippi State!! The Indiana of the SEC.

I stuck with Rodriguez as long as I could. There is a lot of things Brandon will have to answer for but canning Rodriguez is not one of them. 

Section 1

January 6th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

Some people thought that game was so inconsequential, that it would have been a waste to put Devin Gardner into the game.

And now it is seen as a historic, era-ending defeat.

Good to know that people in Ann Arbor are still smoking the same stuff as we were in the 1970's.

Mr. McBlue and…

January 6th, 2011 at 2:16 PM ^

Rodriguez's record in those seven years at U-M and WVU is 43-43. In 10 years at two major-conference schools, Rodriguez has won seven games against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25 -- and only one against a team that finished in the top 10. (Those numbers jump to eight and two if you give Rodriguez credit for West Virginia's victory in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl after he left for Michigan.)

Read more: Michael Rosenberg: Here's why Rich Rodriguez failed at Michigan | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20110106/COL22/101060525/Here-s-why-Rich-Rodriguez-failed-at-Michigan#ixzz1AHfv0NSM

Section 1

January 6th, 2011 at 2:57 PM ^

if he's offered the job.

How's that workin' out?

Harbaugh, who was 29-21 at Stanford.  With fewer wins "against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25" than Rich Rodriguez.

This has been a bad week for Rich Rodriguez; and a terrible week for David Brandon.  But NOBODY has had a worse week this week, than Michael Rosenberg.   He won the battle, to undermine Rich Rodriguez.  But it appears that he's lost the war, to install Jim Harbaugh.


January 6th, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

I've been a RR defender too but I just can't understand how you could diminish what JH has accomplished at Stanford.

1.  29-21 is a pretty impressive accomplishment for someone taking over a 1-11 team, especially given Stanford's built-in recruiting challenges

2.  Yes, he would have fewer wins than RR against teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25 b/c he's only coached in a BCS conference for 4 years, as opposed to the 10 year span that Rosenberg mentions for RR

3.  One of those big wins came in his first year at Stanford when they beat an undefeated #2 USC team, leading a squad that would finish 4-8

You are right about Rosenberg having a bad week however.  It was funny to see him have to reverse himself, then later huff "Elite programs aren't run like this..."


January 6th, 2011 at 2:20 PM ^

Let's not forget that Cooper was fired after Ohio State's bowl game, and OSU had to do a national search at that point, in order to find a guy who had spent a long time in a lower division.  Granted he had been winning national championships but this idea that whoever the next guy is must be a big-name coach with decades of experience at a BCS school that is not in the Big East or ACC is a ridiculous thing to argue, and that's why everybody needs to just calm the eff down and remember that Dave Brandon is the CEO of a subsidiary corporation of the University of Michigan, and he has to identify a talented general manager to oversee the production of his most profitable product.  I'm not 100% sure he's going to get a home-run guy but I don't think any of us will know until at least a year has gone by and we can see what the new guy is capable of.