Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Top 10 (Ferentz, Kelly and Martin edition)

It is paramount to continue the Michigan tradition, as instilled by Bo Schembechler, his predecessors and successors, to win with integrity. Lloyd Carr. November 19, 2007. With that in mind, consider the following prospects:

It is paramount to continue the Michigan tradition, as instilled by Bo Schembechler, his predecessors and successors, to win with integrity. Lloyd Carr. November 19, 2007. With that in mind, consider the following prospects:

1. Les Miles.
2. Greg Schiano.
3. Paul Johnson.
4. Jeff Tedford.
5. Rich Rodriguez.
6. Jon Gruden
7, Brian Kelley
8. Chuck Martin
9. Kirk Ferentz
10. Ron English

Brian at Mgoblog says the job has already been offered to Ferentz. I doubt it. I am sure that Iowa's A.D. has been contacted. When DeBord got a call, that is enough to tell you and me that the calls were out. That call led to the LSU a.d. making this comment.

You've heard about Les Miles, and I won't belabor that point. I've been pimping Gruden here for some time, and you can see what I have to say about him by the links. I'll outline the remainder of the guys here.

I'm going to start with Ferentz, Kelley and Martin because Ferentz and Kelley are the hot topics right now (excluding Les Miles, of course). Why Martin, well read below.

Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz is 52 years old. He was born in Royal Oak. Of all of the candidate for the job, he is clearly the most similar to Lloyd Carr. Ferentz was an English Literature teacher at the Worcester Academy. He is very involved in community efforts, and has contributed 400k to the Iowa childrens' hospital. Of all the mentioned candidates for the job, he is clearly the most like Lloyd Carr. His players graduate. According to his Hawkeye bio:

And while Ferentz has guided the Iowa program to great success on the field, the Hawkeyes have also made their mark in the classroom. In 2005, Iowa tied Southern Cal and Virginia Tech with the best football student-athlete graduation rate (58%) among all Division I teams earning a bowl invitation. Among the teams which participated in bowl games following the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons, only Iowa and Southern Cal ranked in the top five in graduation rates in each of the three seasons. Among the 64 schools who participated in bowl games following the 2006 season, Iowa's graduation rate (72%) ranked ninth best.

Don't let it be lost that Bill Martin has said he wants another Lloyd Carr. This is unlikely merely lip service. Kirk Ferentz is the most similar to Lloyd Carr of any candidate, and he Mary Sue Coleman hired him at Iowa.

If you don't believe Ferentz is a real candidate it is probably because you think he isn't a good coach and has had a let down the past few years, or that Michigan won't pay him enough to hire him. If you think so, you are mistaken. Ferentz is, despite popular opinion on message boards, an excellent coach.

Kirk Ferentz is a highly sought after candidate every year. NFL teams interview him. College teams want to interview him. He has been very tied to Iowa, and has always dispelled interest in other jobs, including the Steelers job. Ferentz has coached a plethora of all americans. His assitants and players have become highly attractive coaches (Brett Bielema for instance). The widespread longstanding interest in Ferentz is certainly not an accident.

FWIW, Ferentz has made comments about coaching positions in the past, uniformly indicating no interest. For instance, according to wikipedia:

Ferentz was asked about his possible interest in the position, and stated: “I know that staff pretty well and they’ve got some good guys in that building. My guess is that’s where they would go. But I’m not interested, and I doubt they are, either. I’ve got a great job right here.”

Regarding the Michigan job, he has made no comment. Instead, the Iowa A.D. simply remarking that Ferentz will have no comment. That alone should tell us that he has been contacted, and will at least consider, if not jump at, an opportunity to coach Michigan.

As far as money, this is the face of Michigan and Michigan football. We are building a two hundred million dollar stadium addition. I suggest that money will not be an obstacle.

But, the biggest question regarding Ferentz: why would he take the Michigan job?

For a few reasons. Ferentz would like a real shot at winning. Michigan would give him that shot. As of now, Ferentz is much like Beilein. A damn good coach, with terrific character at a school which is not cut out to win a national championship. He would no doubt like to win. He will not win at Iowa. It is simply too difficult to recruit to quality talent to that school. At Michigan, well, you know Michigan can recruit top level talent every year, even amidst all the rumors in the last couple of years that our coach was sick and/or retiring. Ferentz would be able to recruit at Michigan.

Ferentz knows Michigan. He was born in Royal Oak. His daughters have attended the University of Michigan. There is mutual respect among Lloyd, Bo and Ferentz unlike other Big 10 coaches.

In addition to a good track record and unimpeachable character, Ferentz would continue the pro-style offense. While it is speculation on my part, I suspect that the this is an intangible factor that will be taken into consideration by Michigan. We have recruited and graduated very talented quarterbacks and receivers, and that prospect will continue absent a major offensive philosophy change. And one factor, which will not be lost on the players and coaches on this search committee, his teams play TOUGH, hard hitting football and generally tackle well.

The biggest obstacle with Ferentz, assuming he were interested: age. Martin wants a guy who will coach for at least 10 years. Ferentz is 52 years old. Two years younger than Les Miles. So, if we're looking for someone who is older than 50, he certainly has a good shot.

Sideline Rover Says:

Lloyd has never worn a winter jacket on the sideline. Does anyone remember the Gary Moeller collection poofball winter coats. He looked like frickin’ Wayne Fontes when it was cold out. Unacceptable. The biggest character indicator is the coach wearing a sweatshirt in November or a winter coat. Ferentz passes this test from this November 17, 2007 Iowa v. WMU game (which Iowa lost 28-19, btw):

Iowa does not suffer from a poorly managed clock. Which is more than can be said for Les Miles or Gary Moeller.

Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly wiki entry. He is 46 years old. His bio is here. He coached Central to one game better than .500 (19-18) from to after Mike DeBord quit that job. Before CMU, Kelley coached GVSU to an outstanding 118-35-2 in 13 seasons. GVSU won 2 national championships during his tenure in 2002 and 2003. He is a hot commodity.

Kelley’s character may be questionable. He left CMU under less than stellar circumstances. His players were mired in a murder scandle in which he purportedly told some of them not to cooperate with the police investigation.

Graham, of Mount Pleasant, was beaten unconscious outside Shaboom's Pub during a fight on June 25, 2004. He died 19 days later at St. Mary's Hospital in Saginaw.

The charges were contained in an indictment issued by Isabella County Chief Judge Paul Chamberlain, who has acted as a one-man grand jury since September 2004. Prosecutor Larry Burdick requested the grand jury after investigators said witnesses interviewed about Graham's death were not cooperating or were lying.

Defensive tackle James Edward Cooper Jr., 22, a fifth-year senior from Detroit, was charged Tuesday with two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of being an accessory after the fact. Cora Lee Hawkins, 20, a sophomore from Detroit, was charged with one count of perjury.

Seymour, a Mid-American Conference first-team running back last season, was suspended from the team by Chippewas coach Brian Kelly on April 1. Kelly also suspended Lewis and Cooper indefinitely after they were indicted Tuesday.

He also has made what some call racially insensitive remarks during the investigation:

"Based on the information we had at the time and from talking with the attorneys, we thought Jerry had a chance to rejoin the team," Kelly said.

"My first reaction when this all happened was to assist in any way possible with the request from Mt. Pleasant police. I didn't know all of our guys, obviously, because I had only about three weeks with them at that point relative to spring practice, and then they were dismissed because school was over.

"Once we met that minimum criteria of assisting the police, Herb and I got together and said, 'Look, we need to reach out quickly here to find out who was where.' We had a team meeting, and we laid down the ground rules for what the expectations were for our players, post incident. We told them there was a difference between being truthful and forthright.

"Our players were truthful. They may not have been forthright in the early beginnings, answering questions truthfully, but not answering questions that weren't asked. They weren't volunteering information needed in the investigation.

"Ninety-eight percent of our players weren't there, but you're dealing with 105 players, and this is an opportunity to educate about what happened."

Kelly said the players' socio-economic background might have influenced how they reacted the night of the beating.

"For example, a number of them were African Americans that had been in that culture of violence, and they're taught to look away," Kelly said. "You don't want anything to do with it. Get out of there. You don't say anything to anybody.

"That is a culture that they are immersed in. When they come here their first reaction is to react the way they've been taught to react in their culture and in their environment. That's difficult. In no way am I excusing that behavior. They have to be accountable, and I've clearly said that.

"It's a tough situation to put a young man in because he doesn't know the difference between blind faith and ... Doing the right thing to them is saying I didn't see him or I didn't see that.

"That's really where this case got tangled. You had some young men that didn't think they saw some things or didn't think that was what they should be doing because that's how they were brought up. Don't squeal. They were challenged in their own being as to what the right thing was."

Remember Martin’s quote about paying attention to how coaches conduct themselves, about what they say, and whether comments may reflect poorly on the school. Kelley may not to live up to these standards.

Brian at Mgoblog claims that Lloyd Carr has contacted GVSU doing background on Kelley. While that's possible, it seems unlikely that Lloyd himself would be doing the contacting. This is unlikely for at least a couple of reasons. First, why would Lloyd be doing the contacting? Second, if Lloyd has this large a role, I find it very questionable that he would have any favor for Brian Kelley from what I have read about Kelley. And, there's enough out there from CMU and Cincinnati to know what Kelley's all about.

If Kelley is on Martin's list, Martin may be a genius. Kelley the politician, the guy who followed Mike DeBord, the guy who walked out of CMU without notice, is not likely a Carr favorite. But, if in doing the background, Lloyd could be satisfied, then the door opens to Kelley.But, I am not convinced that Kelley is on the short list.

Sideline Rover Says:

Kelly runs a dynamic offensive scheme, and doesn’t appear to suffer from clock management brain lock. More importantly, in a true judge of his character this is a photo of Kelley in after winning the 2002 championship:

According to Wunderground, it was 40 degrees that Saturday. It's not a sweatshirt, but I'll give him a pass, especially compared to that old timer next to him. The thumb, mmm. Not sure.

Chuck Martin.

Chuck Martin is 38 years old. Martin has coached GVSU since 2003, taking over after Brian Kelley left. To quote that bio:

All Martin has done his first three years is lead the Lakers to two NCAA DII Football National Championships, 38 total wins and the nation's longest active winning streak at 28 games. He has been named the American Football Coaches Association DII Coach of the Year each of the past two years.

The bio for Martin at GVSU emphasizes that he and his team take active roles in the community. Martin is a graduate of Millikn University in Decatur, Illinois. Brent Musburger would be happy if Martin became coach as Milliken University is known as the Big Blue. Like Michigan, the Big Blue does not have a mascot, though you can vote for one here. Like Michigan, Millikin University sports the block M. Now, that's ironic.

And, Brian at Mgoblog claims that Lloyd Carr has contacted GVSU doing background on Brian Kelley -- not something I am willing to accept as fact. But, if it is true, I suggest that the reason is not to do background on Brian Kelley. Instead, it’s more likely that a representative of Michigan has contacted GVSU, like they have with Iowa, LSU, and others, to speak with Martin.

Chuck Martin is much closer to the mold of Lloyd Carr or Kirk Ferentz than Brian Kelley. His players appear at hospitals in GR. He stresses community. In his bio, he sounds a lot like Lloyd Carr. Martin has something going for him that Ferentz does not: age. Martin could coach for 23 years at Michigan before being the same age as Lloyd upon retirement.

And, Bill Martin has experience with GVSU. When Bill hired Borseth as the women’s basketball coach, Martin also hired GVSU’s basketball coach. Borseth told Martin to hire her, if he didn’t hire him.

But, it is certainly possible that UM has contacted GVSU. Chuck Martin is much closer to the mold of Lloyd Carr or Kirk Ferentz than Brian Kelley. His players appear at hospitals in GR. He stresses community.

Chuck Martin's youth may be an advantage in comparison to other candidates. But, Bill Martin didn't led age play a factor in the hire of Beilein and it won't likley be a factor now.

Sideline Rover Says:


And, more vest.

And, holy GVSU, he's already coached at Michigan Stadium, where GVSU pounded Mich Tech.

Rover doesn't know whether the block M, appearance at Michigan Stadium, championships, and his same last name as the AD who would hire him can outweigh the Vest. If he's hired, we have not only the clash of the biggest rivals in sport, but a vest clash. Adidas had better get busy with an M vest, just in case.