By Ashley Dunkak
ANN ARBOR (CBS DETROIT) – According to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, the decision to fire offensive coordinator Al Borges belonged completely to head coach Brady Hoke.
Suggestions that Brandon pushed for someone to be fired, Brandon said Friday, are completely unfounded.
“That’s nonsense,” he said indignantly. “Who says that?”
Told that such reports came from radio, Brandon reiterated his ire.
“Everybody on talk radio who’s never talked to me, yeah,” Brandon said. “That’s just nonsense.”
Hoke appeared at the press conference to introduce new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who spent the last two years in that same role at Alabama, but Hoke limited his remarks to an opening statement, not taking questions. He did start by thanking Borges and added that letting him go was difficult after five years coaching with him.
Brandon maintained, though, that Hoke made the call on his own.
“Sometimes you look at results and you look at performance and you look at accountability, and you’ve got to make changes,” Brandon said. “I respect the fact that Brady stepped up to that. This is an important change, and his relationship with Al went back several years. I respect Al a lot, I enjoy Al, I appreciate everything he did here.
“But we needed change, we needed energy, we needed new direction, an offense that was building and gaining confidence and improving,” Brandon continued, “and I really believe with Doug being here we have a high probability of moving this offense quickly to a different level, and we need that.”
Whether the pursuit of the next level will involve more current Michigan coaches losing their jobs is yet to be seen. Brandon did not rule it out.
“Doug and Brady’ll decide about those decisions,” Brandon said. “At the end of the day, it’s Brady’s responsibility and his authority to choose the team that he puts around him to be successful, and I know both of his coordinators have a lot of voice in terms of the rest of the staff, so those guy’s will chew over that and make those decisions and I’ll be supportive of whatever decisions they make.”
When news of the hiring of Nussmeier first broke, reports surfaced that Michigan would make him one of the top three highest-paid assistant coaches. According to the database of assistant coach salaries compiled by USA Today, Nussmeier made $680,000 with Alabama in 2013 with the potential of a bonus as much as $136,000.
Borges made $700,000 with Michigan in 2013 with a largest potential bonus of $140,000. Borges was the eighth-highest paid assistant in college football. The Wolverines’ defensive coordinator, Greg Mattison, made $851,400 in 2013 and was eligible for a bonus of up to $150,000. Mattison is the fourth-highest paid assistant in the country.
Brandon appeared aggravated at reports of how much Nussmeier would be making.
“I don’t know where those reports come from,” Brandon said. “I don’t even know if those people know what coordinators are being paid because in some cases that’s real hard information to get at. We put together a package for Doug that’s consistent with what we’ve done here at Michigan, and you’ll all get a copy of it when it’s done, but we don’t have a contract yet because these things happen pretty quickly.”
Asked if Nussmeier would make more than Mattison, Brandon kept his response short.