Rich Rodriguez Fired: Who is Michigan's Next Head Coach?

Big House BobSenior Analyst IIJanuary 5, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 06:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers watches pregame before playing the Alabama Crimson Tide  at Tiger Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

That's the $3M question right now.  Who's next? 

1. Jim Harbaugh

With his recent success and all the NFL attention, his ego could float in the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.  Don't forget about his DUI and him throwing Michigan "player" academics under the bus a few years ago.  Still, he's the fans' No. 1 choice.  Prediction: Jimmy goes to the 49ers at about $6M a year.  Even David Brandon thinks that.

2. Brady Hoke

Seems to everyone's favorite to win the job.  Why?  I guess because he spent seven seasons in Ann Arbor as the defensive line coach.  Brady had one nice season at Ball State and turned a bad San Diego State team around.  He has a losing overall record and not nearly ready for the Michigan job.  Prediction: He doesn't have enough experience to take over Michigan.  You don't fire RR to hire Hoke.

3. Les Miles 

Les is not more, it's less.  Les has a good team and shouldn't even be on this list.  The mad hatter as he is known is not a bad coach but does come with a lot of baggage.  The LSU faithful would love nothing more then to send Les and his big contract to Ann Arbor. 

Michigan is looking for a coach for the next 10 to 15 years. I'm not sure Les has that type of time.  He hasn't been contacted by Michigan either. Prediction: The Mad Hatter continues to eat grass in Louisiana. 

This is where the Michigan Man coaching tree breaks down.  Here is a list of the other coaches in the NFL with Michigan ties (only Cam Cameron has any HC experience):

Harold Goodwin, assistant offensive line Pittsburgh Steelers; Cam Cameron, offensive coordinator Baltimore Ravens; Jim Herrmann, linebackers New York Jets; Mike DeBord, tight ends Chicago Bears; Jerald Ingram, running backs New York Giants; Terry Malone, tight ends New Orleans Saints; Andy Moeller, assistant offensive line Baltimore Ravens; Bill Sheridan, inside linebackers Miami Dolphins; Mike Trgovac, defensive line Green Bay Packers.

I would take Trgovac as Michigan's next DC for sure.
So if it isn't a Michigan Man then who?
Jon Gruden? He turns everything down and zero recruiting experience
Urban Meyer? Just left the best program in football.  Not happening.
Gary Patterson? Good coach, but heading to the Big East where they will dominate.   Doesn't have strong recruiting ties to the area.
Chris Peterson? He is not leaving Boise for any job.
Kyle Whittingham? Utah is heading into the Pac-12 and will have a chance to compete in that conference.  He's a good coach (maybe the next Urban Meyer?) but doesn't have any recruiting ties to the area.  He did get a win in the Big House.  Might be worth a conversation.
Pat Fitzgerald? Maybe the best young coach in the Big Ten, recruits the area and very well respected.  Does run the spread and could keep Denard happy.  Definitely worth a conversation.
It really doesn't leave many choices for the quick right decision.  Not having a top tier coach already signed up is a major mistake by Brandon.  This is very bad timing.  If Harbaugh is not coming to Michigan then I expect Hoke or Fitzgerald.  I would pick Pat over Brady.  I also think Whittingham should get a serious look.