Tag Archives: michigan

Harbaugh Set to Return to Michigan

By Savannah Malnar

University of Michigan has been a powerhouse in college football for ages, so when they fell to 5-7 this season it was a shock to everyone. The fans were upset. Both the Athletic Director, Dave Brandon, and head coach, Brady Hoke, were fired before the season even concluded. The situation interim AD, Kim Hackett, had to take over was abysmal. But what he reportedly managed to do has brought hope into the hearts of many Michigan fans.

According to reports on Monday, Hackett had successfully hired famed coach Jim Harbaugh to take over the head coaching job. Harbaugh boasts an impressive resume: he earned a record of 29-6 in the three years he spent at University of San Diego, he brought back the Stanford football program and coached Heisman candidates Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart there, and then went on to take a pro coaching job in San Francisco and brought the 49ers to three NFC title games and one Super Bowl (loss), finishing his time with the team with a record of 44-19-1.

While Harbaugh’s numbers look impressive, he has a habit of almost burning out after a few seasons in whatever job he is occupied with. Most recently he ended the season with the 49ers 8-8. There is speculation as to whether he quit, or if he was fired; San Francisco’s management said it was “mutual.”

Whatever the case may be there, Harbaugh appears ready to return to the college game and hopefully revive the Michigan football program. The media is speculating he chose Michigan over other possible NFL jobs because it is his alma mater; he played quarterback there under the prominent coach Bo Schembechler.

Sport media members and Michigan fans in general are convinced Harbaugh is the key to turning their program into a threat once again. Eric Bakhtiari, who played for Harbaugh at both University of San Diego and the 49ers, said this about his coach: “He takes losers and makes them winners. It’s as simple as that.”

That’s something any fan would want to hear. According to the media and an anonymous source, Harbaugh is going to be introduced to the student body as head coach at the U of M basketball game on Tuesday. That game is now sold out and tickets for it have gone up six times the average price online.

I think Harbaugh will like being a Wolverine again.

Feeling the Pressure

By Kaleb Page

It’s approaching that time of the year. Now when you hear that phrase most may think of Christmas or the holiday season. In the college football world that means the college football coaching carousel is approaching. This week two teams that joined the coaching market jumped out of the carousel ride early.

Nebraska after many tension filled season with Bo Pelini fired the coach even after posting another 9-3 season. Over his tenure Pelini went 67-27 and for what some would say brought some consistency to the Nebraska program. Another thing that could be said with the firing of Pelini is that the fan base at Nebraska could be making unrealistic expectations, but at powerhouse programs expectations can exceed reality.

With that said ESPN reports showed that early Thursday Nebraska hired Mike Riley from Oregon State to take over the team. A coach of 14 years at Oregon State he was known for his loyalty and being calm, this might have been the reason to hire Riley to just have an opposite view-point from that of Pelini. Only time will tell how consistent Riley is in comparison to how Pelini was at Nebraska.

For the time it had Will Muschamp as a coach, Florida just could never seem to hit its stride. Offensively every year it seemed to be lacking something. It might have been due to the fact that switches at coordinator on offense over the years didn’t lend to the offense at Florida being cohesive and full of continuity. The defense was not the problem though during his tenure with there being plenty of NFL talent on the defensive side, including this final season. A specialty of Muschamp’s that might land him a job as a defensive coordinator at Texas A&M or Auburn.

The same Thursday as the Nebraska hire, Florida hired from Colorado State Jim McElwain a former offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2008-11 the lead to two championship runs. This season at Colorado State saw McElwain take his team to a 10-2 record and recognition from the Mountain West conference as the best coach. From the buzz around the college football scene it sure looks like Florida made the right hire in McElwain.

Now there is pressure from these schools and schools that probably will join in the coaching carousel soon to make the home run hire. To get that “it” guy who can transcend not only the conference but also the national scene to bring all the glory to that perspective school is more important than ever now. Maybe it was the pressure that caused Florida and Nebraska to make the leap for their guy right now. Possibly it was just because they did their homework and said this is the right fit in all ways. For one school in particular this better be the best hire they have had in a long time.

The University of Michigan was one of the more premiere jobs in the country back in the early to mid-2000s. However after multiple years of complete failure in the eyes of any Michigan fans’ standards under Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke; the job saw its luster fade away. With the vacancy created after the firing of Hoke this past weekend, the task at hand to find a new coach might be the most important one in Michigan history.  As I heard SVP and Russillo today talk about the coaching hires, they brought up a very interesting point that is very important to realize.

In the college football coaching arena there are only a handful of guys you can look at and say those guys are “it.” Coaches that are consistent and no matter the scenario or team they can bring you a level of excellency not matched by any coach out there. That is why Michigan better get this right and better hit the walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth for the win to make not only a statement, but to show they mean business again.

Whether it is Jim Harbaugh, Les Miles, Dan Mullen or even Greg Schiano the man picked for the job better be the big splash needed to bring the Michigan of old back to the scene. The fans need it, the Big Ten conference needs it and even college football needs a stronger showing from Michigan. For the new athletic director at Michigan the choice better be a great one and better be that “it” guy.

No pressure.

The Michigan Debate: Should Dave Brandon be Fired?

By Savannah Malnar

“Go Blue!”

Any college sports fan will recognize that as the signature cheer for the power-house that is University of Michigan. This Big 10 school is known for its strong athletics teams; so when students are suddenly rallying and calling for the athletic director Dave Brandon to be fired, it’s going to make the news.

Brandon is under fire from students and media alike. People are unhappy with the rising costs of tickets to sporting events, especially football. Along with ticket prices, the media and fans have actively been criticizing Brandon’s decision to hire and retain football coach, Brady Hoke. Hoke has been head coach for four years, and is 28-17; a record that may look good, but in reality is disappointing for the winningest college football team in history.

The most recent event that has spurred a media outburst was Hoke’s decision to put quarterback Shane Morris back in the game after sustaining a head injury that was later diagnosed as a “mild concussion.”

Ty Duffy, a senior writer for the sport media site The Big Lead, states that “The school’s response to the crisis has been a farce.” He predicts that Hoke will be fired following this season. But he also recognizes it would cause a lot of turmoil to fire Brandon simultaneously.

Besides Duffy, the media, both local and national, have remained extremely neutral on this debate. Every outlet you will look at has been strictly stating facts and not going any farther on the subject. I think this is the proper way for these media outlets to act, especially the national ones. This allows the fans to form their own opinions for or against both Brandon and Hoke.

One interesting aspect of this incident is both Hoke and Brandon’s resistance towards the media. In fact, Brandon told Detroit radio sports anchor Tom Leyden that he wasn’t publicly answering questions because he has “more important” things to do. This is extremely surprising. You would think that as an AD for a famous college, not a lot could be more important than attempting to explain yourself and your decisions.

The fans, the media, and most importantly, the students are waiting. Brandon is in the spotlight. How will he choose to portray his role as AD in a positive light, despite rising ticket costs and a failing football team?