The University of Michigan cannot catch a break. First was the Les Miles fiasco, where apparently he was all set to accept the job but nobody could find Athletic Director Bill Martin because he was yachting (I wish I was joking about that, but I'm not) and now the next best candidate, and perhaps the only other candidate mentioned so far which would excite the Michigan fan base, has turned Michigan down. According to the New Jersey Star Ledger, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano accepted the Michigan job Wednesday night, but had a change of heart and is staying at Rutgers.
Greg Schiano told his players in an emotional team meeting this morning that he will stay as head football coach at Rutgers University , according to the parent of a player on the team.
The player's parent, who requested anonymity because of the nature of the meeting, said Schiano told the team he had tentatively accepted the Michigan job, but had a change of heart. The person said Schiano left the room in tears and it remains unclear if Schiano was indeed offered the job.
The Star-Ledger first reported last night Schiano had met with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin "for quite a while" Wednesday in New York City to discuss the Big Ten school's coaching vacancy. Those talks were described by a person who speaks regularly with Schiano and confirmed by a second party.
Schiano would have been a perfect guy for the Michigan job -- Demanding, intense, a defensive guru who not only demands the most out of his players, but gets it, and was successful at Rutgers where he had little talent and little power to recruit. Plus he was young and could have been the coach here for 15, 20 years if he wanted and he was successful.
Where does Michigan go from here, having lost their top two candidates (and their top three if rumors of Kirk Ferentz being near the top of the list but choosing to stay at Iowa are true)? I have no idea. Current defensive coordinator Ron English certainly seems like a stronger bet, but he's never been a head coach, and Michigan's defense has certainly not been the team's strongest link in English's tenure. And Ball State coach Brady Hoke, a former Lloyd Carr assistant keeps being named as a I candidate, but I can't see any way he gets the job.
The Detroit News reports the Wolverines may be interested in New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton. That would be a great hire. He's young, innovative, successful. Would probably be a great recruiter due to his NFL pedigree (he was a Dallas Cowboys assistant before becoming the Saints head coach). I would also, if I were Michigan, contact Bill Cower and Jon Gruden. Michigan needs something out-of-the-box here. Hiring English isn't going to get the job done, and I fear that if English is the choice, we'll be in this same position three or four years from now, after a few 8-4 seasons leave us looking for a new head coach, again.
2:30 Update: As my buddy Seth points out in the comments, it now appears Schiano may have never accepted the Michigan job formally, but considered it strongly before at the last possible moment deciding to stay at Rutgers. I'll keep the above blockquote because that part of the New Jersey story is now gone, and it has been replaced with this:
Schianio never committed to going, the person said. The coach stayed up until about 1:30 this morning watching ESPN and went to bed not knowing what he was going to do.
Schiano had already told his players to assemble at the Hale Center on campus for a 7 a.m. meeting, even though he had yet to make up his mind. When he arrived, he told the players he "still had work to do" at Rutgers. Schiano said "this was a hard decision," according to a member of the football staff who attended the meeting.
The member of the football staff requested anonymity because of the private nature of the team meeting, but said Schiano looked "tired, beaten up and physically exhausted." He said the Michigan job was Schiano's if he wanted it, but the job was never officially offered.
Either way, not good for Michigan, as we are back to the drawing board.