Rich Rodriguez, again, in the news for non-football issues
First it was ex-players complaining to a inquisitive reporter about excessive workouts. Second, it was a bad real estate deal. And today, we read about a third 'so-called' issue.
The news that broke today about Bank of Ann Arbor and the Michigan Football coaches is yet another headline trying to discredit Rich Rodriguez and his program at the University. They can't use his losing football games anymore to get him out of town, so now they have to go to reporting about outside issues.
Bank of Ann Arbor was founded by Bill Martin in 1995. He was also chairman of the board. He is now the AD at the University of Michigan. Their is no doubt that these coaches were customers of the bank. It is, however, not much of a conflict of interest as the Detroit News would make you think.
The headline on detnews.com reads, "U-M coaches borrowed from athletic directors bank." Mike Wilkinson, who reported the news on the website, said, "The disclosures raise questions about whether Martin can be objective about the coaches' performance at U-M when their dismissal could affect their ability to repay the bank."
I don't buy what Wilkinson is selling.
Is it a conflict of interest? Maybe. But to think Martin would not fire Rich Rod, when I know that he would fire him if he wasn't .500 this year, is a joke. Martin understands the conflict, doesn't like it now that he is aware of it, and quite possibly will do something about it.
It's up to them; it has nothing to do with football.
Inside the article, George Lowenstein, an expert on conflicts of interest, said, "In the scheme of conflicts of interest, this doesn't seem that major." It does raise a concern, although most of the loans have been sold to investors. Martin told the News that he would ask the rest to be sold too.
Anything to ruin Rodriguez is front page news to these reporters and editors in Detroit. They're more than happy to try to ruin a man, disparage his values, and lead their readers to see him in a certain light. It's a disgrace.
I haven't read articles about his service to Motts Children Hospital, how practice is often viewed by kids of coaches, siblings and parents of players. Or how he allowed the players to visit kids at a cancer camp near Ann Arbor during training camp. Those stories are somehow lost amongst the newspaper columns.
Who cares what bank he gets his mortgage from? Who cares about the default loan in West Virginia? Who cares if he left West Virginia high and dry?
I don't, and neither should you. People only care cause they are angry he left their program or upset Michigan didn't hire Les Miles.
Opponents of the Michigan Program and the old guard in Ann Arbor say this isn't Michigan Football.
This isn't what Bo built.
This is exactly how Bo built it. He took more money to come to Michigan, as did Rodriguez. Albeit, it wasn't a matter of millions in the late 60's, but nevertheless, he took $2,000 more than he was making to come to Michigan rather than stay at Miami of Ohio.
He was from the awful state of Ohio. He was an understudy to Woody Hayes, he coached at OSU, and was head coach at Miami of Ohio; he was a buckeye.
He came in with the same mentality, the same, get to work or get out process. "Those that stay will be Champions."
Bo, as written in Bo's Lasting Lessons by Bo himself and John U. Bacon, reminisced about day one:
"I say, whatever your philosophy, whatever your standards, whatever your expectations, you establish those on Day One. Don't waste a second! Let them adjust to you, not the other way around." Bo writes.
"You can always soften up if you need to, but you can't get tougher later on. It's a lot better to throw a bucket of cold water on them on your first day than it is to try to coax them into the cold water, toe by toe. Because they won't do it that way."
Michigan had been playing under its usual .750 winning percentage, and it was time to change the program. Bump Elliott wasn't doing it. When Bo was hired, he pushed the weak out, and only the strong survived.
He was brutal on his players, working them four days a week, pushing them harder than any program in America. Bo was about results. He lost about 30 or 40 guys the first year because of his regiment.
Rodriguez did the same thing.
He took over a stale program, happy with 8-4, 7-5 records, and poor bowl results. He took over a soft team. He knew, Mike Barwis knew, and AD Bill Martin had to know that this was the right direction.
They broke these players down, built them back up, and for those that stayed, they see the returns. A much more athletic, faster, and skilled team. The weak links are departed, those that didn't fit the system are gone, and well he got Tate Forcier as his freshman QB.
The people that think Bo is turning over in his grave, think again. Bo may not have brought the outside baggage that the media these days love to report on, but he brought the same mentality: turn this program around with football players, and do it starting on day one.
Rich Rodriguez followed the advice of Bo, and now those that adored one for what he did, loathe the other for what he's doing.
Rodriguez may have had a few skeletons in the closet, but who doesn't? It doesn't mean that he is a bad guy, lacks family values, or is a snake. He is overall a human; we're not all perfect, right?
He is coaching kids, turning them into men, and leading them into adulthood. More than two hundred parents are entrusting Michigan and Rich Rodriguez to lead their child into the free world.
You can't discredit that.
The fact he got screwed on a real estate deal, or banked at his AD's bank, or left his job as Bo almost did to go to Texas A&M, has really no value in him coaching Michigan Football. We all know he was hired to do one job, win football games and championships.
I know how much family values matter in the program. I hear about it every week. I don't see it, but I know about it. I know he treats the kids like family. I know the coaches have them over for family dinners. I know that he adores these kids. It shows on Saturdays, because these kids play there butts off for them.
People love to talk about tradition, history, and the Michigan way. Fans only care about one thing—wins. They love tradition and history, but they love winning more. They can cite how this isn't how Michigan does business, but if they win, they don't care.
We can look at Michigan this year, and examine how the force, which is winning football in Ann Arbor, is out-dueling the critics looking to run him out of town. The fans, even the ardent supporters of Les Miles for coach, are buying in.
They have fought through adversity and started the season out 2-0. They beat hated rival, Notre Dame. They did it with a true freshman at QB. They did it with their backs against the wall. They did for there coach.
Now Michigan fans are seeing the fruits of Rich Rods labor. Little pieces like the one I talk about here will keep popping up because critics will continue to look for anything to undermine the coach or that will hurt his reputation. All I know, is that he will continue to win football games for Michigan either way.
In the end, that was why he was hired. We all know it, we just don't want to say it. We'd rather worry about how he is handling the program from an outside perspective. From the inside, he is doing just fine. These kids don't look like kids that are turning on their coach. They look like kids who are 'All-In for Michigan.'
Former Michigan running back returns to the Big House as a visitor
Tyrone Wheatley, the great RB for Michigan in the early 90's, is now an Assistant Coach/Running Backs coach for Eastern Michigan University. Along with Ron English, Wheatley will be coming back into the Big House as visitors.
Speaking to annarbor.com, Wheatley said, "For me to be on the visitors side, I’m coaching, I’m an Eastern Michigan Eagle now. But that part of me is still there. That will never, ever be taken away."
"Everybody asks me and I say you know what," Tyrone continued, "I played at Dearborn Heights Robichaud so my pumps red, black and white. I bleed maize and blue but I cry tears of victory green and white. So no matter how you strike it up, that’s a part of me."
It will be good to see Wheatley doing what he loves and knows, coaching kids playing football.
Jonas Mouton suspended by the Big Ten for One game
LB Jonas Mouton was suspended for Saturdays contest due to catching a ND player with an uppercut.
The responses that I have seen in the blogosphere are ridiculous. People calling this a thug move by a thug coach, is asinine. Carr recruited Mouton, actually, Ron English, coach of Eastern Michigan whom he is ineligible to play against, recruited him.
Looks like they'll be one less player on the field English is familiar with!
A five-star recruit from Venice, California, Mouton was starting linebacker for the Michigan defense. He will be missed, but J.B. Fitzgerald looks to get playing time at that position on Saturday. He should fill in nicely.
Michigan 39 Eastern Michigan 10