Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Connecting the Dots!

Carr . . . . Martin . . . . . Wangler . . . . . .Miles = Coach

Beginning this summer, Lloyd knew he would retire. His wife knew.

One of the reasons Laurie Carr was able to get through the difficult start was the fact she knew this would be her husband's final season as head coach. She can't pinpoint the day, but there was some moment during the summer when he informed her this season would finally be it.

Lloyd informed Martin after ASseD. Bill has been assembling a list (in his head mind you to avoid the foia inquiries) of coaching candidates since. And, Martin says he is looking for another for Lloyd Carr. Who has these characteristics. Who will respect and carry on the Michigan Tradition of Winning with Integrity? Jon Gruden? Jeff Tedford? Greg Schiano? Kirk Ferentz? Mike Debord? Ron English?

One could assume that the search committee formed will help shape the final list and ultimate criteria. And, who will serve with Martin on the search committee? Tyrone Wheatley? Tom Brady? Lloyd Carr? Desmond Howard? I think you can count on John Wangler. We already know that John Wangler has Bill Martin's ear. The coin toss on November 16 was a coin made by his company. As Wangler said:
The former Wolverines QB said the rivalry was a great one before Schembechler and Hayes walked the sidelines, “but they were the ones who really took it to the next level. They put their stamp on it, and they were the ones who made it special,” he told The Ann Arbor News. .

Bill Martin accepted Wangler's idea:

"I thought it was a great idea,'' said Michigan Athletic Director Bill Martin. "It's got a great likeness of Bo on it and of course, I wasn't going to look at the other side.''
So Wangler has the ear of Martin and Les. And, in case you haven't read it yet:
Start with the quote delivered to the Detroit News by John Wangler, former Miles teammate and current Miles friend, the one that read like this: "If the job's open and they offered him the job, I believe he would come up. I don't think there's any ands, ifs or buts about it ... Les loves Michigan. That's always been his dream. He'd come here."

And, while Les has stopped answering his phones, he's still taking calls from old number 5:

“I have great friends in that area code,” Miles said, “and I do not answer (calls from) that area code.”

The exception, he said: longtime friend John Wangler, who was in Miles’ wedding party.

“If he calls me and I don’t return that call, I’m in trouble, but other than that I am a blind eye and a deaf ear, and I’m preparing for Arkansas,”

So, yeah, Miles and Wangler are talking regularly. And Wangler and Martin are talking regularly. And if Johnny isn't on the search committee, it would avoid the appearance that Wangler has had any official capacity in contacting Miles.

While I've pimped Gruden quite a bit, it seems that anyone other than Miles is now a long shot. I cannot see Miles pulling Petrino, a Saban, or a Franscione. Which one of these guys can compete with Miles really depends on whether Martin thinks they have a character better than Miles, and are willing to accept a ginormous buyout clause:

On the type of candidate he is looking for, Martin said: “If someone is looking as a way station to move elsewhere, that’s not our guy. The one way that you can do it with the contract is have a huge buyout clause. If a guy objects to it, that’s going to tell you something about him, isn’t it?”

On the potential of paying a big buyout: “I’ll have to evaluate that. I wouldn’t let that stand in the way. I would negotiate that. That wouldn’t be one of the defining issues. If you have the right individual, that individual is going to come here.”

Link. With Miles we don't need to worry about his leaving. And, I doubt Gruden, even if wanted, would take a ginoriffic buyout clause. So, from where I sit, it's going to be Miles. Which Bertman has now implicitly confimed.

A.D. Bertman is trying to paint a contract renegotiation. He says LSU will do whatever is necessary to keep Les. Even if it means paying a Sabanesque $4 mill. But, he also claims that Miles isn't about the money:

“I don’t think this is a real money issue, No. 1,” Bertman said. “This guy’s more family-oriented and more community-minded and — this is my word — nobler than most of the coaches that I’ve dealt with.

“I think that this guy wants to come to work every day and feel comfortable. I think the people that he wants to come to work every day and feel comfortable with are on his side 100 percent of the time.”

And, while as of the 19th, the A.D. says that he has not been contacted by Michigan, that may not be the case as of today. Lloyd only announced his retirement on the 19th. Bill has assembled his team, and formal may commence literally, any hour following the 19th. DeBord has been contacted by the athletic department, and the contacts have, therefore commenced. The obligatory contacts of DeBord and Ferentz (Iowa AD has already said Ferentz will have no comment) have been made. Assume that the obligatory contact to the LSU AD has now been made as the 20th or 21st, which would coincide with the Bertman statement that LSU wants to renegoiate Les' contract and coach LSU in the MNC if he takes the Michigan job before then.

Meet Coach Miles.

So, in an effort to get to know our new coach better, I present you with this. Did you know Les has driven tons of steel?

Recalling his childhood in Elyria, Ohio, Miles said that during a junior high football game his father would yell out to him the number of the opponent’s best player on kickoffs. “Duke,” he would scream, using Miles’s childhood nickname. “No. 46.”

“It didn’t make a difference what my assignment was,” Miles recalled with a laugh. “I was blocking 46.”

Hope Miles worked at a variety of blue-collar jobs, but his drive led him to eventually become vice president of a steel company. Les Miles remembers his father coming home disappointed when a marketing colleague got a promotion over him.

“These are the days that make a man,” Les Miles recalls his father telling him. “These are the days that things don’t go exactly right, that you look forward to because they mark your life.”

He paused. “I’ve fallen back on those words at times,” he said softly.

After graduating from Michigan, Les Miles worked as an agent for a trucking company. His work ethic helped him rise quickly, and he even learned to drive an 18-wheeler loaded with steel. But the tug of athletic competition pulled at him, and he met with Schembechler three times before convincing him that he would take a job that would cut his pay from $50,000 to $8,200.

Or broken chairs in the lockerroom?

The former Oklahoma State lineman Sam Mayes recalled Miles as a smashmouth coach who fearlessly took on the longtime state power Oklahoma, beating the Sooners twice in four attempts. Mayes recalled a pregame speech in which Miles broke a chair against a wall in the student union to fire up the Cowboys before one of the victories over Oklahoma. “It was one of the most memorable moments of my life,” Mayes said. “It was like someone lit the room on fire.”