After pulling from the West Virginia ranks to find a head coach for the mens basketball team in the spring, Michigan has taken another sip of the Mountaineer Kool Aid by hiring Rich Rodriguez as the replacement for Lloyd Carr, who announced his retirement after the Ohio State game. The Rodriguez administration will be fully in place following the Capital One Bowl on January 1st, which is Carr’s last game coaching the Michigan Wolverines. Through 13 seasons in the Big House, Lloyd led the team to a 121-40 record for a .752 winning percentage. With a win over Washington State in the Rose Bowl, Michigan took home the 1997 national championship. While Carr may have seen widespread success at Michigan, critics will always remember his struggles against Ohio State following their hiring of Jim Tressel. It is true that Carr struggled against these new-breed Buckeyes, but it is also true that Carr helped continue a rich football tradition for over a decade at Michigan, brought a championship to Ann Arbor, and made winning so common that it became almost expected. Taken for granted, fans were shocked at this latest season, in which the Wolverines began 0-2, and finished the season unranked. It should be noted, however, that the Wolverines responded to their 0-2 “demise” by reeling off an eight-game winning streak, before falling in their final two contests to Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Rich Rodriguez may be the best possible option for Michigan. He comes from a winning team, and will bring that kind of attitude straight to Michigan. Being a very highly respected program in itself, the Wolverines should adjust relatively quickly. Rodriguez will certainly bring his spread offense with him to Ann Arbor. The same type of offense that was featured by Appalachian State and other teams who managed to give the defense fits will take a little time to adapt to the Big House. With the recruiting prowess of Michigan, getting the right personnel in the mix should pose little challenge, particularly over the long term. The hiring was surprising to many because Rodriguez had recently signed a one-year contract extension that was to keep him in West Virginia through 2013. The spread option offense will definitely have the power to add a much quicker, and fast-paced threat to Michigan’s offense — I cannot wait to see it implemented in its full effect.
Rodriguez introduced at Michigan [Fox Sports]
Michael Rosenberg: U-M didn’t make a good hire — it made a great one [Detroit Free Press]