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Posted on Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

Michigan football fans rush to bid on clothing, memorabilia donated by former coach Rich Rodriguez

By Jeff Arnold


A large crowd gathered to buy Michigan football apparel donated by former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Wayne.

Angela J. Cesere |


Michigan hats autographed by Rich Rodriguez were among the items auctioned off on Saturday.

Angela J. Cesere |

WAYNE - Consider it the ultimate going out of business sale.

There, hung on racks and folded on tables inside a white tent was a collection of maize and blue apparel - all from the closet of former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez.

Outside of the tent, customers huddled in a Salvation Army Thrift Store, casting bids on Michigan T-shirts, fleeces and other clothing items that Rodriguez - who was fired Jan. 5 after a disappointing three-year run - donated to the store a day before Brady Hoke was hired to replace him.

Auctioneer John Kovach stood on a table, reeling off increasing dollar amounts that went as high as $250 for a Michigan varsity jacket - in a sale that included 161 items and drew about 300 bidders.

Sue King stood in the back of the crowd, hoping to find something for her daughter, Amanda, who studies at the Air Force Institute in Dayton, Ohio. King, who along with her husband, Frank, came for Saline, where they live in the same neighborhood as Rodriguez.

"We thought, what the heck, we'll come - not because (Rodriguez) is our neighbor - only because our daughter asked us to," Sue King said. "But I'm not surprised I'm here. I love auctions, and (Amanda) can use some new Michigan stuff.

"But what surprises me is how many people are here and the prices."

By the time the day was over, the Salvation had made $12,930 on the items that were auctioned. The remaining items were put up for sale inside the store afterward.

This wasn't your run-of-the-mill clothing sale. Rodriguez hand-delivered several bags of the clothing Monday, according to thrift store manager Ron Mathers. Included in the donation were baseball caps autographed by Rodriguez, Michigan football helmets and other clothing that ranged in size from children's to men's XXL.

Mathers said Rodriguez was at the store for about 10 minutes and was treated like any other person donating items to the store. He was offered a charitable receipt for his donation, which came delivered in a dozen bags.

In all, the former Wolverines coach donated more than 400 items.

"We were very appreciative," Mathers said. "The Salvation Army does a lot of good work all over the world, and it's all funded by the donations. But this is amazing, and it's kind of an unusual thing. A lot of people may do this discreetly, but he came personally and donated the stuff."

Given where the clothing came from made all the difference in the world for some customers, including Barry Hunt, who drove from Clarkston and purchased 14 items totaling about $1,100. He learned of the sale Saturday morning, but knew the clothing from the coach's closet would be the perfect addition to a memorabilia collection he estimates he has spent between $15,000 and $20,000 on.

Included in his collection are 20 signed helmets - including one by New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady and 45 signed footballs. The fact the clothing he purchased belonged to Rodriguez made the $800 he spent all worth it.

Bad cold and all.

"I'm a Michigan guy, and this is pretty cool for me," Hunt said. "I supported Rodriguez when he was here and whether he got a bad break or not a bad break, he was kind enough to make the donation. ... So it was kind of no-brainer for me.

"(Rodriguez) isn't our coach any more, and it was an awkward three years, but he was still the coach for Michigan."

Hunt's wife, Kim, stood by Barry's side each time he bid, fully OK with her husband's spending spree.

"He was a Michigan fan when I married him, and I knew he would always be a Michigan fan," Kim Hunt said. "This isn't the extreme. He's bought things that were more foolish than this."

Bart Bernocco made the short trek from Dearborn for the same reason. From the back of the assembled crowd, Bernocco kept throwing his hand in the air, bidding on a white polo shirt Michigan coaches wore on Sept. 11. The block M on the Adidas shirt was red, white and blue, making his bid of $210 for the shirt more than worth it for the longtime Michigan fan.

"I knew when I came here I could get something you can't get at the store," he said. "When I first walked up today, (the shirt) was the first thing I saw. I said in my mind there was a certain amount I was willing to put toward the efforts today."

Even after spending more on a shirt than he ever envisioned he would, Bernocco has no plans of putting it away.

"I'm going to wear it," he said. "Yes, I will."

Jeff Arnold covers sports for and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.


shane smith

Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 11:31 a.m.

A couple of ending thoughts on this.This Salvation Army store was the smallest,and the most needy.Well done on that.On the Adidas Gear,its the biggest in College Football for Adidas,and it will always be that way.They have a have a clause in the contract.RichRod had something to do with that too.Someone said they like to old Bo Hat.Why don't guys go dig Bo UP FROM THE GRAVE.You talk about moving on.Bo's been gone for over 20 years.MOVE ON THIS 2011,NOT 1971.PEACE OUT.


Mon, Jan 17, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

Only in West arbor.

Craig Lounsbury

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 2:56 p.m.

"Those hats, yuck. I like the old traditional Bo hat with the block M on the front. Do we have to have a different hat with every new coach?" I believe Adidas pays the university somewhere near 7.5 million a year to outfit the athletic teams. I don't know for sure but I imagine that price plus the gear provides Adidas some degree of design license to present their logos. I can't say as I blame Adidas they are paying a huge chunk of change for the right to display their logo.


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Those hats, yuck. I like the old traditional Bo hat with the block M on the front. Do we have to have a different hat with every new coach?


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

And furthermore stop bringing him up in the news, he's history, he's gone.


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

This guy was raked over the coals for being a lousy coach at UM which was well deserved and now being praised for his good hearted gesture. Gimme a break!!!


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

@Trevor: GPS is an inexact science, and the units implement shortcuts. US-12 is the main arterial between Saline and Wayne. Also, the city of Wayne was recently in the news due to the furniture store explosion. SA Major John Aren (a friend of mine; we both play euphonium) thinks it's Providence.

Trevor Staples

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

No one at could find out why RR chose not to auction his stuff at the Ann Arbor Salvation Army store?


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 9:36 a.m.

@ tater How do you know about DB? What BS did he have to put up with? To everybody else: This was a nice gesture by RR regardless of what you think of him as a coach. People will benefit and that's UNDENIABLE. Well done. We have two choices here: We can match RR's kindness with our own and let him move on without any more rancor. Or, were can display our angst and anger like some people have. If you were ready for a change, well you got it. Relax, you won, and now you can show some class yourself. If you still bear a grudge about RR being fired, you also can show some class and move on and support the new coach. RR's moving on, so should we. GO BLUE!!


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 8:44 a.m.

wow, i need waders to get thru some of this stuff i'm reading.


Sun, Jan 16, 2011 : 2:41 a.m.

He said he looked up SA's in the area, and there was one closer than this one, but this one was on Michigan Avenue, so he thought maybe it he go there. He is quoted as saying this in another story about it. I can't remember which publication.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

Big surprise -- RR passed up the A2 SA, which is only a few blocks from the Stadium, for Wayne's SA. Like he passed up living in AA for Saline. Sorry, RR could have shown REAL CLASS and resigned from the UM and passed up the last $$$ considering how much he already has gotten, like the pay-out to WV, etc. But is was same old, same old with RR. Glad he's gone.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

@81wolverine, shane smith, 1bit, txrosegirl and cash - Thanks for your posts. You have given a good perspective to the situation. Things did not work out for RR but he did the right thing for charity and he left as a man..may be even a "Mi Man." We did not hear any complaints etc. He just moved on.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

like i said in another thread, no matter if you did not like or agree with RR's coaching, no one can say he did not handle himself respectfully (at least IMO). even after the way he (and his staff) was run out of AA, not one nasty thing has been said that i have personally read. i think RR is a good guy and i wish him and his former UM staff the best of luck in the future. i think it is great he donated his UM stuff instead of trashing it or having a bonfire which is probably what i would have done


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

Theo, Tater, Lorain Steelman and Portagelblu slept outside all night so they could bid on their kings clothing. The worse coach in history of Michigan football still has some brainwashed.

shane smith

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 9:42 p.m.

Give the guy a break.He busted his tail to win.I've said this before,he had about the same record as Harbaugh.He just hired a terrible DC,and it cost him his job.Hoke has a great QB because of Rich,lets see what he can do.Hoke's been running around talking tuff.If i was him,i'd shut up about Ohio State.Worry about the first game,then there 10 more before you get to Ohio State.I get tired of all these Coaches saying,THIS IS MY DREAM JOB.Like the old saying,you shouldn't wish for something,you might get it.well he got,lets see what he does with it.This is BIG BOY FOOTBALL.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

A classy move by RR, unlike some of the comments on this thread. Grow up, people. The guy did something for charity and you still find ways to stomp on him. Shame on you.

Jeff Arnold

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

We just found out from the Salvation Army that the 161 items that were auctioned off made a total of $12,930. The rest of the items Coach Rodriguez donated will be sold in the store.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:35 p.m.

I hope folks who bought stuff today are not planning on trying to sell it on ebay and make money, that will never happen.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

I guess he needed to show up with the stuff himself so that the Salvation Army would know it was legit...but this just seems kind of sad.(No, I am not a Michigan fan as my screen name indicates).Truthfully, what else could he do with it other than donate it? Throw it away? I'm sure he didn't want to dump it in the AD's office after he cleaned out his...although there might have been some satisfaction in RR's mind picturing Brandon not being able to open the door to his office for the piles of 400 U/M RR itmes blocking it.

Jim Knight

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Trevor: Salvation Army folks weren't ready to offer an estimate on how much the auction raised. That's a number we'll get later.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

The money should go to pay his severance tab from WVU

Trevor Staples

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Why wasn't this held at the Salvation Army store in Ann Arbor? You know, the one RIGHT NEXT TO MICHIGAN STADIUM. Seems it would have made a lot more money in Ann Arbor. And speaking of money... Why doesn't this article tell how much money was made at the sale? Not even an estimate?


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

Thanks Rich!...for thoughtfully donating to the SA, and for the 3 years of very hard work you put in at UM. Good luck in your next endevour, unless you are playing U of M, in which case...well you know what I mean.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

"stonecutter1@ "who in their right mind is going to overpay for used clothes from the least successful coach in the history of UM football?" "overpay" is a relative term. If, 5 years from now a RichRod coached team using a spread offense and a 3-3-5 defense crushes a Brady Hoke Michigan in a BCS title game one might find they underpaid. A nice gesture by RichRod to a very worthy charity. I too wish all the best to the Rodriguez family.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

Glad the SA got some much needed money, but who in their right mind is going to overpay for used clothes from the least successful coach in the history of UM football? Nice gesture Rich, now go away forever!

Sean T.

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.



Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Were these gifts to Rodriguez from vendors? If so, did he violate U-M's conflict-of-interest policy about accepting gifts from vendors that do business with the university? If they were not personal gifts, were these donated to the Athletic Department?


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

I am glad to say that he left with a winning heart. Good Luck Rich Rod...God Bless. GO BLUE!


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

So, are you saying your guys who sold their gold pants despise OSU? Good to know.

Matt Whale

Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

I'm glad it went to a charity also but 20 signed helmets and 45 signed footballs including one by Tom Brady? Did Rich get them all or did he sell things that were the property of Michigan.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

1) Is this practice common when a coach leaves a school? Seems weird. 2) Technically, by means of a tax-deduction, RR profited from items given to him by UM as part of his football experience at the school. Shouldn't the NCAA bench him for 5 games? LOL. Sounds like goose and gander to me. Over course he can get around this, by simply not working next season and living off your payout. LOL 3) I guess RR really wanted to make a point about how much he dispises UM. He wants nothing left of his experience to remain. Pretty strong statement about what he thinks of you guys. 4) Glad the Salvation Army profitted from this. They're a worthy charity.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 5:08 p.m.

81, I echo your sentiments. RR, Thanks for donating the Michigan stuff and not slapping it up on e-bay to make a profit. Very thoughtful thing to do. Thanks for what you tried to do here and good luck in your future.


Sat, Jan 15, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

It's nice that Rodriguez donated the clothing instead of trying to profit from it. I can't blame him for getting rid of it all. But WOW, that's A TON of Michigan stuff. I'm really happy that it helped raise a lot of money for the Salvation Army. Good luck to Coach Rodriguez and thanks for the hard work over the last 3 years. It's too bad things didn't turn out better.