You think Rich Rodriguez may have been happier just staying in his home state of West Virginia! A former walk-on under Don Nehlen at West Virgina University, Rodriguez was on pace to be as beloved as any athlete or coach in the history of the state. His spread option offense was fun to watch and West Virginia was building one of those programs that doesn’t rebuild, they just reload. Unfortunately, that wasn’t good enough for Rich Rod. I fully respect guys wanting to improve their lot in life and take on new challenges. Just be careful what you wish for.
The hypocritical nature of college athletics is that coaches expect loyalty and honesty from their players, but rarely give it in return. Four months after renegotiating a new contract with WVU (spurned on by rumors of him accepting the Alabama job), Rich Rod left for Michigan. The departure gave new meaning to the word ugly with lawsuits and Mayor Robert Riggs ordering two signs tbe taken down that proclaim Grant Town as the “Home of WVU Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez”.
Rich Rod is no longer welcome in his home state and may not be welcome in the state of Michigan for much longer. In his first season, the Wolverines finished 3-9 and failed to make a bowl game for the first time in 33 years. Earlier this week, allegations came out from former and anonymous players of the Michigan team practicing well beyond the allotted time. Rich Rod denied these in a tearful press conference
Rodriguez joined WDFN in Detroit to talk about the allegations and what the past 48 hours have been like for him.
On the difficulty of these allegations:
“This is not something that anybody wants to go through and obviously it completely blindsided me. I was emotional and I’ll stay emotional Matt because we care very deeply and I always have in the 25 years of coaching about the young men I work with. I take great pride in that and that’s at the very essence and the core of what we believe in coaching-wise.
Are you still having fun?
“You know what I love the most? Is being that time on the field with our players and obviously spending some time with our coaches and watching with film, which is what we’re doing now, we’re watching film in the mornings, and in the afternoons, spending time with our players out on the practice field. That’s the best time for me of the entire day. Then, evening back meeting with the coaches, watching more film with the staff, those are the times that you enjoy the most, ’cause it is, it’s all football, it’s always the people that you enjoy being around.”
Will these allegations affect your ability to recruit players?
“Well, I’m sure in recruiting there’s always some negative recruiting that always goes on. We faced a little bit of it last year because of the record, and some before that because of the West Virginia situation, but I think if you have enough credibility amongst your current players and with your past and your history and so many of those former players, there are guys that have played for me that are now in the NFL that have contacted me in the last couple days, voicing their support. It shows you that really what kind of people you are and the kind of people you have on your staff. So, we feel very good about that and we can work on any issues that potential recruitment have.”
How are the players taking this?
“Everybody wants to talk about our players, a lot of our players were upset yesterday – I don’t wanna say today – they were upset because they were like coach, ‘We’re working hard, we’re doing all we can, and we’re focused, and we’re hungry.’ And, I said, ‘I know it.’ I felt bad for them because they are focused, and hungry, and excited for game week, and that’s why we’re moving forward and we had a great practice yesterday and I expect another one today.”