Okay, I am not a Michigan man, a Big-10 apologist or even someone who is concerned about the overall welfare of the maize and blue, but with the news of the Rich Rodriguez possibly being firing has opened the door for speculation as to who will be the next Michigan coach. The odds on favorite is Jim Harbaugh, many people are of the opinion that “Gentleman Jim” is on his way back to his alma mater to coach. There are Michigan fans from coast to coast holding hands in prayer hoping that Harbaugh will find his way home and will be chewing his gum and yelling at officials in the Big House next year. Michigan fans I am not clairvoyant but I can tell you this; “Harbaugh ain’t taking that job!”
Michigan fan, I know you want me to be wrong but let’s look at this rationally. Harbaugh may love the university, have fond memories but the Michigan of the 1980’s is not the Michigan of 2011. The culture is different , what the university stands for is different, heck the area is different, in fact the Michigan job at this point is a tougher job than the Stanford job from a recruiting and expectation standpoint. The Stanford job is a job where Harbaugh’s recruiting pool is certainly shallower; finding Division One caliber athletes that can survive the academic rigors of Stanford is a challenge, but it narrows the pool and it helps to get recruits on campus, who really wants to be at Stanford. Harbaugh can go 8-4, 7-5, 6-6 at Stanford and stay employed, perform similarly at Michigan and well? Michigan is a good school and certainly there are not the off the field issues with athletes like say Iowa or Oregon or even Florida, but when was the last time that a Stanford player was placed in handcuffs and sent to jail, in other words no three o’clock calls to coach about player x. So with Harbaugh not taking this job who would be a candidate?
I know Brady Hoke and Les Miles will be the coaches that will garner some attention for the possibly vacant job but I will through a couple of names out and if I am right you can say you read it here first. Michigan fan when you go looking for a coach, go with this in mind, right now offensively you are a spread offense team, meaning this you have no tight ends, no fullbacks, you don’t have guys in the program that fit that mold, so it will be a long transition from spread offense to a more Big-10 type of offense. So maybe the next Michigan coach is a defensive minded coach, Midwest ties, familiarity with spread principles but still uses a tight end and fullback, and may just run that hybrid system. With those in mind I will throw out the names Mike Stoops and Gary Pinkel.
Mike Stoops is currently the coach at Arizona, but is from Ohio, played collegiately at Iowa (under Hayden Fry) and well is a Stoops (which means he is essentially college football royalty.) Stoops is a defensive minded coach and Michigan’s issues have been defense related. Stoops also resurrected the Arizona program and brought it to respectability, so Stoops has a proven track record reviving a program. Additionally Stoops did this at a program that is a basketball school, and has the seventh or eighth best facilities in the Pac-10. Imagine what he could do at Michigan?
The next candidate might be Gary Pinkel, who is currently the Missouri head coach. Pinkel runs the spread, and has had much experience with the offense. Pinkel is a Midwest guy who has his roots in Ohio. Played collegiately at Kent State and coached under Don James at Washington. If anyone remembers those days at “UDub” those Washington teams had good offenses but great defenses.
Michigan as it stands, is a job no one wants, Les Miles turned them down three years ago and may very well do it again. Brady Hoke loves Michigan may take the job if it is offered, but many Michigan fans may say; “who”? This next hire, should Rodriguez be pink slipped, will be key. It will be interesting in the coming weeks to see how this story continues to unfold. This hire for Michigan, should one need to be made, will be a key hire, a good hire and Michigan can elevate itself back to the lofty perch it once occupied with Ohio St., two bad hires and Michigan is on the brink of becoming Illinois with better DVD history.