Rich Rodriguez admits leaving West Virginia for Michigan was a mistake

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez watches his team during their NCAA college football game against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, November 27, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATESSPORT – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Rich Rodriguez told that in hindsight, leaving West Virginia for the head-coaching job in Michigan was a mistake.


“I think it’s easy to go back now and say, ‘Gee, made a mistake.’ And you can say that now because of hindsight,” Rodriguez told “But at the time, some of the things I was looking to do and the opportunity that was there, you kind of make the move.”

“Hindsight is always easier to look back and say, ‘It was a mistake,’ ” Rodriguez said. “Because we did have a good thing going at West Virginia, and we really enjoyed it. As you look back at it, wasn’t the best move. Easy to say now.”

I think the mistake was on Michigan’s part for hiring him in the first place. He wasn’t a fit for the program, or the Big Ten, and his record in Ann Arbor speaks for itself.

There are many Wolverine fans that believe RichRod would have eventually gotten the program pointed in the right direction. And maybe he would have. But the fact of the matter is that under his watch, the defense was historically bad, the special teams were an utter joke, and the Wolverines went a combined 0-6 against Ohio State and Michigan State. That’s the ultimate sin for any Michigan coach, nevertheless one that was hyped as being someone who could potentially bring a national championship to Ann Arbor in 3-4 years.

Brady Hoke might not wind up being the answer either, but at least he knows what the Michigan program is all about. He knows that he has to beat Ohio State regularly. He knows he has to beat Michigan State yearly. And he knows he has to win some Big Ten championships or he’ll eventually be replaced by someone who will. He certainly has his work cut out for himself, especially with Nebraska set to join the conference this year. But at least the program should have some direction under his supervision.

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Michigan fires head coach Rich Rodriguez

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez shouts instructions in the 1st half of their NCAA BCS bowl football game against Mississippi State at EverBank field in Jacksonville, Florida January 1, 2011. UPI/Mark Wallheiser.

Just three days after Michigan suffered its worst bowl loss in school history, the university has decided to fire head coach Rich Rodriguez according to FOX News Detroit.

Rodriguez finishes his three-year stint at Michigan with a 15-22 record. He lost a school-record nine games in his first year and went 5-7 after starting 4-0 last season. He also managed to turn a 5-0 start into a 7-5 finish in 2010 and apparently Michigan AD David Brandon had seen enough after Mississippi State embarrassed the Wolverines 52-14 in this year’s Gator Bowl. (Michigan was also 1-10 against ranked opponents and was a combined 0-6 against Ohio State and Michigan State under RichRod.)

This news hardly comes as a surprise. Rodriguez was a freaking embarrassment to a proud program like UM and obviously a total mismatch for the Big Ten. He found a gem in quarterback Denard Robinson but his offenses struggled against top competition year in and year out. When a team racks up 65 points on Bowling Green or 42 on Indiana but only scores 17 against Michigan State and 7 against Ohio State, there’s an obvious problem with consistency. Making matters worse, Michigan’s defense was brutal this year and special teams were an absolute embarrassment. (Brandon should demand that the coaches he interviews bring a place kicker with them for on-the-spot tryouts.)

That said, if UM doesn’t land Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh (who is currently mulling over his choices after his team destroyed Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl), then whom will they get to replace Rodriguez? Brady Hoke? No offense to the current San Diego State head coach but would he really be the right fit to turn around a program in disarray?

Regardless of whom Brandon hires, the next head coach has a long journey ahead of him. Not only does he have to recruit heavily on the defensive side of the ball, but he also has to work with offensive players that Rodriguez handpicked to run his offense. Brandon will no doubt go with a “Michigan Man” as his next head coach, which means someone who will implement the run-heavy attack that they employed before Rodriguez was hired. It’s tough to go Power-I when your personnel is built for the spread-option.

Just because UM has rid itself of Rodriguez doesn’t mean its problems will be instantly fixed.

Update: Check that: reports that RichRod has not been fired. What the devil?

Update on the Update: Okay, now Michigan has officially fired Rodriguez.

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