Michigan Monday: What is a Michigan Man?

Big House BobSenior Analyst IIJanuary 3, 2011

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Former head coach Bo Schembechler of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the 91st Rose Bowl Game against the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2005 in Pasadena, California.    (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

There were complaints about Rich Rodriguez as soon as he took his first steps on the Michigan campus. Why? Because he wasn't a Michigan Man. 

So the question remains: What is a Michigan Man? 

It goes back to when Bill Frieder took a job at Arizona State before the NCAA Tournament began. Bo Schmeblecher was the Michigan Athletic Director at the time and he said he "wanted a Michigan Man coaching Michigan." He let Frieder go to ASU right away and the Wolverines went on to win the National Championship. 

The legend of the "Michigan Man" term began.

So when it comes to football, a "Michigan Man" is a former Wolverine player or coach.  After Bo retired, Michigan never left the family for its head coach. It was first Gary Moeller, but he drank his way out of the job. Then it was Lloyd Carr who, after some initial success, needed to walk away from the game. Now it's Rich Rodriguez.  

What name doesn't fit with the others? 

There is a coaching theory that you never want to be the coach that replaces the legend—you want to be the guy that replaces the guy that replaced the legend. Rich Rodriguez is really the first coach to replace the Bo Schembechler family tree.

Most people look at Bo as The Michigan Man. He came to Michigan from Miami of Ohio.  He also was an assistant at Ohio State under Woody Hayes. That's right, The Michigan Man had Ohio State on his resume twice (1952 and then from 1958 to 1962)!

He wasn't a Michigan Man when he was hired.

My point is, I understand the idea around being a Michigan Man. I understand the tradition and philosophy. Michigan fans are also lucky (or unlucky) right now that the hottest candidate in the nation is a Michigan Man who is a former Michigan QB and current Stanford head coach.  

What if Jim Harbaugh goes to the NFL, then what? Do you make a reach for a Michigan Man that might not be ready?

Would TCU's head coach not be successful here?

What about Urban Meyer? I'm sure he wouldn't be successful, right? 

Chris Peterson (I'm not speculating that they are candidates)? 

My point is, if you limit your pool of coaches of this football program to Michigan Men, you better hit a grand slam with Jim Harbaugh or you might just strike out.

I wish David Brandon all the luck in the world, he is basically up to the plate. I hope he is a power hitter.