By AP Sports Writer Larry Lage
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — John Bacon didn’t make any new friends and might’ve lost some old ones with his book, “Three and Out,” that looks at the Rich Rodriguez era in Michigan football.
“The main figures have made their displeasure with the book and author clear,” Bacon said.
In the book due out Tuesday, he writes that former coach Lloyd Carr was the initial person connected to Michigan to call Rich Rodriguez in December 2007, and that Carr was the first to encourage then-athletic director Bill Martin to consider hiring Rodriguez from West Virginia.
Bacon claims Carr later told his players he would sign the forms allowing them to transfer in what they interpreted as “a vote of no confidence” in Rodriguez.
Carr did not respond to Bacon’s interview requests for the book that will be released Tuesday. Messages were left by The Associated Press with Carr and Rodriguez. Through a CBS Sports Network spokesman, Rodriguez declined to comment about the book. Martin and current athletic director Dave Brandon also declined comment.
Bacon’s behind-the-scenes access started during the 2008 season, Rodriguez’s first of three, with the intent of writing a few magazine pieces. Those articles were never written, but three years of access and reporting gave Bacon enough material to write a book he’s proud of even if he has burned bridges in Ann Arbor and within the athletic department.
He had carved out a niche as Michigan sports historian of sorts, co-writing “Bo Lasting Lessons” with the late Bo Schembechler. After a book tour this fall, he is scheduled to be a lecturer on campus in January for a class focusing on the history of college athletics.
“Will the book cost me? It already has and probably will in ways I’m not anticipating,” said Bacon, declining to give specifics. “But my options in 2011, when I had the facts I did, was to turn into a PR man or be a journalist. My job was clear. It was not fun, but it was clear. Whatever it costs me will not outweigh how much I would’ve been disgusted with myself if in five or 10 years I looked back and didn’t report the truth.”
Rodriguez was fired in January with a 15-22 record over three seasons and problems with the NCAA, and was replaced with Brady Hoke. Rodriguez moved his family out of the area and is working as an analyst for the CBS Sports.
Bacon writes that before Rodriguez was hired in 2007, LSU’s Les Miles had two conference calls with Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman at his alma mater. Miles, according to the book, told Coleman he wouldn’t meet in person with her until after coaching the Tigers in the national championship game.
“I would never say no to Michigan,” the book quotes Miles as saying to Coleman in both conference calls.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said Miles has been made aware of what was written about him in the book and declined comment on Monday.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.