Sunday, December 16, 2007

Goodbye, Rich Rodriguez

And a 2-day saga ends with Rich Rodriguez packing his bags and heading to Ann Arbor to join John Beilein. On one hand, I'm glad that this dram unfolded quickly and ended abrumptly with Rodriguez's resignation. On the other hand, I'm disappointed with the outcome. To walk out on your team as they prepare to play Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl is nothing if not cowardly. Of course, Rodriguez will say that he had to make the decision now due to recruiting considerations and the distraction the constant rumors would cause his Mountaineer squad.

The reasons for Rodriguez's departure aren't clear yet. Rodriguez apologists will point the finger at Ed Pastilong. I've already heard that all Rodriguez wanted was some additional money for his assistant coaches and some improved facilities. Seems reasonable, right? Somehow I doubt that is all Rodriguez was looking for. Some have said the threats Pat McAfee received following the embarrassing loss to Pitt made Rich look at other possibilities. Do we really believe no Michigan player has ever been threatened?

The fact is that Rich Rodriguez couldn't keep his eyes on Morgantown and West Virginia University. He readily admitted that he looked at every coaching opportunity that was offered, and there's nothing wrong with that really. But when you tell Mountaineer fans that you want to be at WVU for the rest of your career and tell members of the media that they are stuck with you whether they want you or not, you tend to believe that he meant he was staying at WVU for the long haul. Perhaps Rodriguez meant to say he was staying at WVU for his entire Mountaineer coaching career. Who knows?

Regardless, Rich Rodriguez broke a contract that he has signed with West Virginia University and walks out on players, recruits and a large and loyal fanbase that supported him through good and bad times. A West Virginia native and WVU alumnus turns his back on his school and community to chase the "big-time" that he apparently never felt he could achieve with the Mountaineers. But, be warned Wolverines fans, should any other "national" program come calling, even the hated Buckeyes, watch him closely because he obviously has no issues in deserting his teams, no matter how loyal they may be to him.

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