The Sporting News has a really nice piece today on former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, and it’s pretty clear that he still thinks he was dealt a bad hand by the Wolverines.
“It was taking too long,” he says, “but I knew Year 4 was going to be a whole bunch of guys back and Year 5 was going to be even better, and if you build it right it’s going to stay there. … You make the cake, get all the ingredients and put it in the oven, and you don’t get to see the deal through.”
In fact, Rich Rod was so convinced that he was close to turning it around, he had to be told by Arizona’s athletics director Greg Byrne that the situation was actually pretty dire.
“The two had met during Rodriguez’s last year at Michigan, at a dinner where the coach asked for an A.D.’s perspective on his tenuous situation. Rodriguez laid it out—acknowledged some mistakes but insisted the Wolverines were just a season away from winning big—and this is what Byrne told him: ‘I think you may be in trouble.'”
Considering that, why would Byrne later hire Rodriguez? Because he got a vote of confidence from Ohio State head man Urban Meyer.
“‘Urban Meyer told me if he could sit down and talk football with three or four guys, Rich would always be one of those guys,’ Byrne says.”