Who's Next at U of M?

By: AP
By: AP

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Les Miles seems to have everything college football's winningest program is looking for, including ties to the school and the late-great coach Bo Schembechler.
But being a "Michigan man," is not a requirement to get the job of succeeding Lloyd Carr.
"Well, you remember a guy named Schembechler? He wasn't a Michigan man," Carr said Monday when he announced the Wolverines' bowl game would be his last on the sidelines. "Fritz Crisler wasn't a Michigan man. Fielding Yost wasn't a Michigan man."
That's why the field of candidates could include Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.
"Some guy throws out a pool of names, so now I'm out there," Stoops told reporters Tuesday. "I'm not a candidate for any job, not this one or any of the next ones that are coming in the next few weeks."
On Monday, Miles pleaded with the media to let the topic rest, trying to keep the focus on his top-ranked LSU Tigers and their upcoming game against Arkansas. An Iowa spokesman said Ferentz would not comment.
Athletic director Bill Martin wouldn't say who is on his wish list, but did clear up some questions about the search.
"I don't think ties to Michigan are important at all, as long as a candidate buys into the values of Michigan," Martin said. "Head coaching experience I certainly prefer, but I wouldn't rule out someone that was a seasoned coordinator.
"If you brought in a coach from the NFL, the entire coaching team would need the necessary background and experience to deal with recruiting, NCAA and compliance issues."
Carr told Martin he planned to make this his 13th and final season shortly after opening the season with losses to Appalachian State and Oregon.
Since then, Martin said he started to compile names and did some homework on each coach.
"Obviously, we've been already collecting information," he said.
Now, he plans to ask for help.
Martin said he would put together a screening committee, including former Michigan players, to evaluate candidates and assist with the search process.
"I'll be guided by a lot of their judgments, but ultimately the decision rests with me," he said. "Everybody asks, will you ask Lloyd? Of course I will. He knows the coaching profession, and he knows everyone that would be considered a candidate."
Martin said he is looking for the next Carr, who led Michigan to the 1997 national championship and five Big Ten titles while keeping the school above even suspicions about NCAA violations.
"It's far more than just winning on Saturday, and you have to have an individual who reflects those values and will live it," Martin said. "These positions aren't jobs. They're a way of life.
"I'm looking for someone that would be here for 10 years or more. That's been the tradition at Michigan that we have long-serving coaches."
Schembechler, who died a year ago, came to Michigan in 1969 and rebuilt the program into a national power after being a head coach at Miami of Ohio and an assistant under Woody Hayes at Ohio State.
The famed coach left the sidelines in 1989, handing over the job to assistant Gary Moeller, who would've lasted longer than five seasons if he avoided a drunken argument with police at a restaurant in 1995.
Crisler led the Wolverines from 1938-47 after coaching at Princeton. Yost was Michigan's head coach for 25 seasons in the early 1900s, coming to Ann Arbor from Stanford.
Michigan traditionally has gotten away with paying its football coach less than top of the market rates. These days that's about $2 million annually. Both Ferentz and Ohio State's Jim Tressel are approaching $3 million a year in compensation.
Martin acknowledged the school might have to offer a candidate up to $3 million a season or roughly twice as much as Carr earned annually.
"That would be a culture change for us. I'm not opposed to it, though," Martin said.
Martin acknowledged it is a tricky time to conduct and complete a search he hopes to wrap up as soon as he can while candidates still are coaching their current teams.
"There's the ethical issue of contacting coaches who still have games to play. I respect that," he said. "There's no rule in the NCAA that prohibits you from contacting anybody.
"There's always a gentleman's agreement among athletic directors that you don't contact a coach without first contacting their athletic director. I would say that's followed maybe half the time."
Which path will Martin follow?
"I will always take the high road," he said.
Martin does not think, however, it will be difficult to land a coach to lead what Carr told him is the best job in the country.
"Not only because it's Michigan, but because of the renovations we're doing to the Big House and also because we broke ground last Friday morning for our $28 million indoor practice facility," Martin said. "We'll have the finest facilities in the country. We also have patience to work with a coach as he transitions in."


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