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 Candidates to replace Carr 
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

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New leading candidate: Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia. Good coach. He does have a $4 million dollar buyout clause in his contract though. He met with UM officials in Toledo either today or yesterday.

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December 14th, 2007, 4:41 pm
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This is from today's Detroit Free Press:
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CHOSEN ONE? Michigan's search turns to West Virginia's Rodriguez
December 15, 2007

BY MARK SNYDER and MICHAEL ROSENBERG

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITERS

Michigan has a new leading candidate to be its next football coach: West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, a leading proponent of the spread offense, met with U-M president Mary Sue Coleman and athletic director Bill Martin in Toledo on Friday to discuss the open position, two people at U-M confirmed to the Free Press.

A private plane flew from northern Ohio to Morgantown, W.Va., to pick up Rodriguez early in the morning. He was flown to Toledo, then returned late in the afternoon. When he touched down in Morgantown, Rodriguez declined comment to the Associated Press, other than to say he was going to practice.

At the stadium, Rodriguez told a Morgantown-based radio reporter, Hoppy Kercheval, that he indeed had been to Toledo.

"He said he met for six hours with his agent and chief financial adviser in Toledo," Kercheval said, "and he complimented his financial adviser and said that's all it was."

When asked whether he had met with Michigan, Rodriguez declined comment.

Rodriguez, 44, has compiled an impressive record -- 60-26 -- in seven seasons with the Mountaineers. His past three teams have won at least 10 games and have contended for the national championship. He has won four Big East titles.

Rodriguez, commonly called Coach Rod by fans, has carried his version of the spread offense up the coaching ladder. (He landed his first collegiate head coaching job at 24.) A former defensive back, he realized how difficult it would be to cover four- and five-wide receiver sets and incorporated those elements into his offenses.

But his key component has been having a multifaceted quarterback who can run and throw, much like Pat White, one of the country's top players.

Rodriguez is considered a strong recruiter and has extended his base to parts of the Midwest. The nation's No. 1 prospect according to Rivals.com, quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Jeannette, Pa., has West Virginia as one of his finalists.

For nearly a month, Martin has been searching for a replacement for Lloyd Carr, who announced Nov. 19 that he would retire after U-M's bowl. Landing Rodriguez would seem to be a major coup and a popular choice, especially after the public disappointments with Louisiana State's Les Miles and Rutgers' Greg Schiano.

However, there are other factors to consider:

• Rodriguez, like Schiano, declined a high-profile job after last season and received a hefty new contract.

Rodriguez flirted with Alabama almost exactly a year ago; some reports even stated that he had accepted the job. At the time, the contract offer was reported to be worth $12 million over six years.

When he told his team he was staying, there was significant applause, according to the AP. Then he told the Wheeling (W.Va.) News-Register: "I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career."

Rodriguez will make more than $1.8 million this season, according to a recent USA Today study of coaches' contracts. He signed a second amendment in August, and his contract now runs through 2013.

• Rodriguez's contract, like Miles', includes a large buyout clause. He must pay $4 million if he leaves before Aug. 31, 2008. The buyout was part of an amendment signed last year that boosted his pay from around $1 million.

• While Wolverines fans love the phrase "Michigan Man," if ever there was a "West Virginia Man" it would appear to be Rodriguez. He grew up in Grant Town, W.Va., walked on at West Virginia and eventually earned a scholarship. He also married a cheerleader. His first stop was tiny Salem (W.Va.) College; after two seasons he was selected its head coach. (After a 2-8 season, Salem dropped football.)

He spent seven seasons as head coach at Glenville State in his home state. His 1993 team reached the NAIA championship game.

After four seasons following Tommy Bowden from Tulane to Clemson, Rodriguez became West Virginia's 31st coach in November 2000.

This season he was one of only 18 major-college coaches at the helm of his alma mater.

Rodriguez does have at least one tie to Ann Arbor: He played at West Virginia under the legendary Don Nehlen, a U-M assistant under Bo Schembechler.

• Although Rodriguez's teams have been close to reaching the BCS championship game, they always have stumbled. On Dec. 1, the Mountaineers were 10-1, No. 2 in the country, 28 1/2 -point favorites and playing at home. A victory would have guaranteed a title shot against Missouri (which would lose that night) or Ohio State; instead, West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh, 13-9. White, though, was injured much of the game.

Now ranked 11th, the Mountaineers will play No. 3 Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.

Spokesmen for Michigan and West Virginia declined to comment to the Free Press about the search and Rodriguez's status.

Citing university policy, athletic director Ed Pastilong would not tell the AP whether West Virginia had granted U-M permission to talk to Rodriguez. Asked if he knew whether Rodriguez was talking to U-M, Pastilong told the AP: "Rich has not mentioned anything of that nature to me. ... I think it would be unusual that he would be doing that without sharing it with us."

Friday's meeting was surprising for other reasons, too.

Rodriguez reportedly laughed when asked about the job after Carr retired and simply said he had just signed a new contract. That appeared to push him out as a realistic candidate, and there has been little buzz about him since.

Michigan has had serious discussions with Miles and Schiano, as well as interviews with its coordinators, Ron English and Mike DeBord, but no significant big-name candidate emerged in the past week.

Only one flight traveled from Morgantown to Toledo and back Friday, a 10-seat Piper Cheyenne 2 twin turboprop that left Morgantown at 7:50 a.m. and landed at Toledo Express Airport at 8:50 a.m. The same plane returned to Morgantown, landing about 5:15 p.m.

Martin has experience hiring a West Virginia coach. Last spring, he hired the Mountaineers' John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker as basketball coach. After Friday's practice, Beilein declined to comment on the football search.

Besides being known for his spread offenses, Rodriguez garners attention for being a very personable guy and one of the few Hispanic coaches in Division I-A football. Florida International's Mario Cristobal is another Hispanic head coach.

Rodriguez has a previously scheduled new conference this morning in Morgantown to preview the team's Fiesta Bowl trip.


They were talking about this on FM 97.1 yesterday and they brought up a good point. His spread offense could have some success in the Big Ten, but his 3-3-5 defense would need to be revamped. Teams would just run the ball down their throat if he tried that defense here.

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December 15th, 2007, 8:49 am
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

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As a WVU season ticket holder, I say good riddance to Rich Rodriguez. I think you guys will hate him!


December 15th, 2007, 4:57 pm
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mwill2 wrote:
As a WVU season ticket holder, I say good riddance to Rich Rodriguez. I think you guys will hate him!

Why do you say that? Enquiring minds want to know.

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December 16th, 2007, 8:01 am
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It looks like Michigan finally has a new head coach:
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Rodriguez leaving West Virginia to coach Michigan
ESPN.com news services

Updated: December 16, 2007, 2:30 PM ET

West Virginia football coach Rich Rodriguez informed his players at a 1:30 p.m. meeting Sunday that he was leaving to become the new coach at Michigan.

Rodriguez met with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin on Friday to talk about the Wolverines' coaching job.

Rodriguez and his agent were in Toledo to talk with Martin and university president Mary Sue Coleman, according to Sporting News Radio, which cited unidentifed sources.


The meeting was confirmed to ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday afternoon by a source close to the situation.

Rodriguez, 44, was back in Morgantown on Friday after taking a flight from Ohio, and unwilling to talk about any possible interest in the Michigan job.

"Going to practice. I'm going to practice," he told The Associated Press on Friday, getting into his car after a trip to Toledo.

Rodriguez again refused to discuss Michigan's vacant coaching job on Saturday.

At the opening of a previously scheduled news conference about West Virginia's trip to the Fiesta Bowl, Rodriguez said he would only talk about the game against Oklahoma (No. 4 BCS, No. 3 AP).

"It may be disappointing to you, but I am not going to talk about any rumors or innuendo or jobs or what else is floating out there," Rodriguez said.


"I'm not going to address the rumors or anything of that nature," Rodriguez said. "If any questions are asked about that, the press conference will be over."

The questions about Michigan persisted, and Rodriguez fired back.

"You all have not understood what I just said. One more question and this conference, unfortunately, and you all have been super, but if the questions persist outside of that then this thing will be over," he said.

A reporter then asked whether Rodriguez would coach the team in the Fiesta Bowl.

"You're a tricky guy," Rodriguez said.

Some players indicated Rodriguez hadn't spoken to them about Michigan and that they were under orders to keep quiet.

"I'm not supposed to talk about that. I'm sorry," offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek said Saturday.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong spoke with Rodriguez on Saturday.

"We talked about general issues within the football program," Pastilong told The Charleston Gazette, declining to be more specific.

Pastilong, who didn't immediately return a telephone message to The Associated Press, told the newspaper "we'll know something very fast" in regard to Rodriguez's decision.

Michigan, which lured basketball coach John Beilein away from West Virginia last April, is looking for a replacement for football coach Lloyd Carr, who announced his retirement Nov. 19 after 13 seasons.

Pastilong said he was unaware Rodriguez, who has a hefty buyout clause in his contract, was in Toledo.

"He has not shared that with me," Pastilong told The Associated Press.

Pastilong would not say whether West Virginia had given Michigan permission to talk to Rodriguez, citing university policy.

When asked further whether he knew Rodriguez was talking to Michigan, Pastilong said, "Rich has not mentioned anything of that nature to me. Secondly, we have a strong commitment with Rich, a strong contract. We're strongly committed to him and he's strongly committed to us.

"I think it would be unusual that he would be doing that without sharing it with us."

Michigan athletic department spokesman Bruce Madej said he was unaware of any talks.

On the day Carr announced he was stepping down, Martin said he hoped to complete the hiring process quickly.

But LSU's Les Miles withdrew from consideration before he was scheduled to meet with Martin and signed a contract extension with the Tigers.

Rutgers' Greg Schiano said last week after being contacted about the Michigan job that he was staying with the Scarlet Knights.

After a 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale knocked West Virginia out of the national championship game, Rodriguez said he wasn't going to be on the move.

"The impact of your name being thrown about is sometimes a little overrated. It probably makes for a lot of angst among families and we don't want that," he said. "Sorry but you all are stuck with me here."

Rodriguez has a 60-26 record at West Virginia. The Big East champion Mountaineers (10-2) play No. 3 Oklahoma (11-2) next month in the Fiesta Bowl.

Last December, Rodriguez agreed to a one-year contract extension through 2013 after he turned down a lucrative offer from Alabama. The extension includes a $4 million buyout clause if he leaves before August 2008. That doubles the amount from the previous contract.

Beilein had a $2.5 million buyout clause in his West Virginia contract, but under an agreement with the university he agreed to pay $1.5 million to the WVU Foundation for leaving for Michigan with five years remaining in his contract.


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December 16th, 2007, 3:37 pm
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Hopefully he brings Terelle Pryor along with him...

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December 16th, 2007, 5:06 pm
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

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Quote:
Hopefully he brings Terelle Pryor along with him...


I agree! This kid is an amazing talent. He is on record as saying UM will be among his choices because he likes coach Rodriguez and wants to play in the spread offense. He also wants to go somewhere he can play both football and basketball. I know Carr was against his players playing 2 sports, but I'm sure Rodriguez might bend. I'm just not sure about Mallet's future at UM now, though. He is not mobile enough for the spread offense. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

As for the hire, I guess I like it. Rodriguez will definitely put up some points on the board. He has done well at West Virginia. I certainly do not like the way he has choked in big games. I just hope he keeps Ron English on as D coordinator because his 3-3-5 defense he played at West Virginia will not fly in the Big Ten.

I'm just glad that the search is over with and we can look forward to recruiting now and beating Ohio State.

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December 16th, 2007, 8:43 pm
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Pryor has said that Michigan has shot up near the top of his list due to the hiring stating that Rodriguez called him and told him of the move before he told anyone else and told Pryor that he will be running the same offense which Pryor has said he would love to play in. Many are saying that it looks as though Michigan and Ohio State are the top contenders with Michigan at the top because of Rich.


December 16th, 2007, 9:15 pm
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mwill2 wrote:
As a WVU season ticket holder, I say good riddance to Rich Rodriguez. I think you guys will hate him!


In 7 years before Rich.......WVU was 46-37.

In 7 years WITH Rich.........WVU is 60-26.

His last 6 years are 57-18.......which is about 10-3 on average!!!


I guess I don't see the problem.


I think WVU has been fun to watch, and they have a great amount of success considering that they can't recruit on the same stage as U of M, OSU, USC, or LSU.

I've heard some criticize him for not winning the BIG game or having a let down game hear or there.........but let's face it........they aren't the most talented team in the country, yet they can compete with anybody.

I also think a YOUNG coach like Rich with a proven track record will be able to recruit more successfully than Carr has in recent years......especially considering that he uses an exciting offense.

I LOVE this hire!!!


I was afraid U of M was going to hire an "old school" coach that resembled the past 40 years at Michigan......or more importantly.......the last 6 years of being outcoached against OSU.


December 17th, 2007, 12:01 am
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I LOVE the hire, too! Many of us have been complaining for years about Carr's stale and predictable Michigan offense. Well, we're certainly not going to have that problem any more. I say that it's time for a change because what they have been doing hasn't been working to our satisfaction.

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December 17th, 2007, 12:36 pm
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Quote:
I LOVE the hire, too! Many of us have been complaining for years about Carr's stale and predictable Michigan offense. Well, we're certainly not going to have that problem any more. I say that it's time for a change because what they have been doing hasn't been working to our satisfaction.


The question now is how long will it take for our players to learn the spread and get the proper players to run this system? We all know Mallett is the furthest thing from an option QB. Unless Pryor commits to UM, I expect it will be a rough 2 years before we get our footing in this offense.

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December 17th, 2007, 12:42 pm
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Michigan digs deep into West Virginia to find its football and basketball coach.

Here is a pic from the press conference...

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December 17th, 2007, 1:34 pm
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TADOne wrote:
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I LOVE the hire, too! Many of us have been complaining for years about Carr's stale and predictable Michigan offense. Well, we're certainly not going to have that problem any more. I say that it's time for a change because what they have been doing hasn't been working to our satisfaction.


The question now is how long will it take for our players to learn the spread and get the proper players to run this system? We all know Mallett is the furthest thing from an option QB. Unless Pryor commits to UM, I expect it will be a rough 2 years before we get our footing in this offense.


Not really, originally the type of spread offense he ran back in his days as OC at Tulane wasn't dependant on a mobile QB at all, Look what Shaun King did in his offense, I have no doubt that RR will find a way to run a spread offense that fits Mallet if he is unable to get Pryor.


December 17th, 2007, 7:17 pm
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slybri19 wrote:
mwill2 wrote:
As a WVU season ticket holder, I say good riddance to Rich Rodriguez. I think you guys will hate him!

Why do you say that? Enquiring minds want to know.



I'll begin by saying that there is no mistake that Rodriguez left the WVU program better than he found it. He's a good recruiter and will find a diamond in the rough (read about how Owen Schmitt earned a scholarship at WVU and you'll get the idea). He demands a lot from his players. He's likable and relatively charming. His offense can be seriously explosive--having a 30-pt lead at halftime is not uncommon.

But I'm not letting him off the hook for choking in games the team NEEDED to win over the last two years. He could be preparing for a national championship right now but he couldn't beat a miserable Pitt team...and it wasn't close. WVU got MANHANDLED by Pitt. The guy couldn't win a high-pressure game. Aside from the Sugar Bowl win vs. Georgia, dude choked in crucial games. USF earlier this year, USF and Lousiville last year, etc. I know how important it is for a UM coach to beat OSU and ND; these are the games I fear Rodriguez won't be able to win.

A few general observations: The guy is stubborn beyond belief--he will make the same mistakes repeatedly. He does not make halftime adjustments. Ever. His teams are NOT built for coming from behind. These things will make you crazy.

I could probably also argue that he owes his career to Pat White. His record at WVU without Pat White is 33-22, 0-3 in bowl games. Inevitably he'll find a great QB for UM too but until he does the offense won't work. Looks like he might land Terrelle Pryor which would be a step in the right direction (I confess I'm a bit bitter that he recruited the kid on WVU's dime but I guess that's a different discussion).


December 17th, 2007, 11:08 pm
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mwill2 wrote:
A few general observations: The guy is stubborn beyond belief--he will make the same mistakes repeatedly. He does not make halftime adjustments. Ever. His teams are NOT built for coming from behind. These things will make you crazy.


Sounds like he'll fit right in!!!


That said, I have to wonder if he got "man handled" by Pitt because WV is small and doesn't have the talent that other schools have? Rodriguez seemed to do more with less, and he will likely have more talent at U of M.


The fact that he's not an old coot is enough for me to get excited about.


December 18th, 2007, 1:45 am
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