The University of Michigan has fired coach Rich Rodriguez after three disappointing seasons.
The school confirmed Wednesday that Rodriguez had been let go after going 15-22 in three years at Michigan and a handful of NCAA violations that have stained the once-proud program.
Rodriguez’s final season was pivotal and it didn’t go well on or off the field.
“I have completed a systematic and thorough review of our football program and believe that a change in leadership is necessary,” said UofM Athletic director David Brandon. “We have not achieved at the level that I expect.”
“Rich Rodriguez is a good man. None of us are pleased with the results that we have achived over the last three seasons, but I don’t believe this was a result of lack of effort,” Brandon said.
Take a listen to entire Press Conference below:
Rodriguez was just 6-18 mark in Big Ten play and went 11-11 at home.
“It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out at Michigan, but I’m sure that Rich and his staff will find opportunities at other institutions. I wish Rich and his family all the best in the future,” said Brandon.
During Wednesday’s news conference, Brandon declined to reveal many details about his discussions with Rodriguez , only saying his focus now is on the future.
Who are the top candidates?
“Well certainly I’ve given some thought to this and tried to do some planning around but knowing this decision is very fresh I have a lot of work to do so that’s where we start immediately following this session today,” he said.
Brandon said he will immediately begin a national search for a replacement amid speculation that Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Wolverines quarterback.
“Jim has a lot of contacts with this program, the Harbaugh family does, Jim Harbaugh is real close to Michigan,” Brandon said. “I think Jim Harbaugh is in a position where he is making important decisions is relates to where his career is going. I personally believe that Jim Harbaugh is headed to the NFL. But that’s my opinion as opposed to any qualified judgment I give you on that,” he said.
Tuesday, rumors were flying that Rodriguez had been let go, but Michigan released a statement saying no moves had been made. Brandon and Rodriguez met Tuesday afternoon, three days after the Wolverines’ worst bowl loss in history, 52-14 in the New Year’s Day Gator Bowl against Mississippi State. Rodriguez finished the year 7-6, but lost six of the last eight games. He was 1-11 against ranked teams and 0-6 combined against rivals Ohio State and MSU.
Under Rodriguez, the program was hit by the kind of news it dreaded.
Just before the 2009 season, anonymous players told the Detroit Free Press that the Rodriguez-led program was exceeding NCAA limits on practice and training time.
“We know the rules, and we follow the rules,” an emotional Rodriguez declared a day after the report was published.
The school, though, later acknowledged that it was guilty of four violations. It was put on three years of probation, though Rodriguez and the school avoided major penalties in part because the NCAA agreed that the coach didn’t fail to promote an atmosphere and compliance in his program.
Reports say Rodriguez likely will receive a $2.5 million buyout.
Tune to 97.1 The Ticket and WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest on this story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.