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Posted on Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 6:59 a.m.

New Michigan AD Dave Brandon won't judge football coach Rich Rodriguez only on wins, losses

By Dave Birkett

Thumbnail image for DAVE-BRANDON-web.jpg

Incoming athletic director Dave Brandon, left, talks with Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez at a basketball game earlier this year. Brandon says he'll judge coaches by more than wins and losses. (Photo: Melanie Maxwell |

Incoming Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said he’s seen improvements in the football program under Rich Rodriguez and won’t mandate a number of wins Rodriguez needs to keep his job.

So how will Brandon evaluate Rodriguez’s performance after the season?

“Much like your boss, there’s a lot of different things you look at,” he told last month. “Certainly you need to see progress and some of that’s measured by wins and losses, but it’s also measured a lot of other ways. And when I’m in a position where I can evaluate as closely as I need to and I want to, all those metrics and all those measures will be clear between the coach and me.”

Michigan is 8-16 in two seasons under Rodriguez and coming off a year in which it tied for last place in the Big Ten.

The Wolverines also have an August date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions after being accused of five major violations. In one count, the NCAA alleges that Rodriguez failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in the program and failed to adequately monitor his staff.

Brandon wouldn’t speculate on what would happen to Rodriguez if he was found guilty of major violations before the findings were released. At a press conference to announce the allegations, he said Rodriguez would return for 2010.

“There’s nothing that I see … that leads me to believe there should be any change in the status of our football coach,” Brandon said

As for Rodriguez’s tenure so far, Brandon said it “was very clear to see the improvement” during last year’s 5-7 season.

“The guy’s had a young, inexperienced team and he’s gone out there and played against some pretty tough competition, and at times played at a pretty high level,” Brandon said. “I clearly saw some improvement Year 2 versus Year 1, and I think everybody who follows Michigan football would say the same thing. We obviously need to see continued improvement.”

Since he was introduced as athletic director Jan. 5, Brandon said he’s talked to Rodriguez a handful of times. The two sat next to each other at a Michigan basketball game, visited at an athletic-department reception, and spent “a couple hours” together one Saturday “just chatting.”

Brandon said he wasn’t consulted on the recruitment of Florida cornerback Demar Dorsey, who was arrested three times in high school, but expects to be involved in similar decisions in the future.

On giving some recruits multiple chances, he said, “there’s some judgment involved. It can’t just be a cast-in-stone, hard line approach. I don’t think that’s prudent.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Tue, Mar 9, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

Sean, I do agree with you that 2010 is the 'make or break' year for RR and I have guarded confidence he will make the 'bowl bid minimum' wins and more. I honestly think we will see eight wins a minimum for the upcoming year. You know it's interesting comparing this same 'must reach' scenario from the 2009 season. We all know Mich entered the State game 4-0 only to lose in OT. We also turned around the following week and barely lost to power house Iowa. Had we won those two games, even one, we would have automatically sealed our bowl bid with a 7-0 record right off the get go. Alas, but true, not to happen. Especially when Forcier was hurt and his limited action went on to affect UM the rest of the season. Hmmm...wonder how OU will do this year if Pryer should get hurt early on in the season? question but that after all the blustering, smoke, and football field dust the story gets told in wins and losses. I still think UM will win 8 games minimum this year with at least one of them being a win over Wisconsin or Ohio State. I will make one more comment. Have you followed UM's 27 commits in the draft for this year? The most important 'stand out' fact of the entire draft class is speed, speed, and speed. Honestly, I am really praying we could be in for a real 'blowout' season with some monster wins over conference teams. I'll definitely talk again just before the Ohio game. Hopefully we will have 8 wins minimum under our belts by then and Ohio will be 11-0. Wouldn't it be sweet?

Sean T.

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 : 6:23 a.m.

Whiners? How can you be considered a whiner for expecting your football program to be competitive? I didn't expect him to go undefeated in the Big Ten his first year nor the second but being a bottom-feeder like many of the teams we've usually owned has shown little daylight in this dark tunnel. Everyone knows about the growing pains of young players and new systems but what we have is NOT a good product. Since he came to our university there has been nothing but turmoil and all of the issues have been related to the head coach. It is not sensible to bury your head in the sand about blatant problems but snap at everyone else for speaking aloud about it. What really seems absurd is to blame the young men who left our then successful program and call them names but you easily forget the achievements that they gained when they were at Michigan. Boren is three times the lineman that we have now and he went to our arch-enemy and still accrued great accolades. Outside of Tate Forcier only the recruits from the former regime kept us respectable in games we competed in. There is really NO excuse for our ailing program except for the coach. There were other teams in our conference with new QB's or other young players and they went to a bowl so why couldn't we? I understand patience but when is it enough? I would agree that RR should at least have until the 2010 season to shown a significant improvement but just say we miss another bowl, will it be time to let him go? And guy's please stop with the "Lloyd Carr left the cupboard bare" stuff. Check the last recruiting years for LC and see where his guys rank at their respective positions. Just like many of you I hated we lost to AAP St but I hardly ever remember Llyod losing to a "losing team". He's only been beaten by teams that could be competitive on a championship level.


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

wins, losses, big ten titles, national championships, that is what he should be measured on.


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

You whiners crack me up. For starters, anybody bother to check out who recruited who? Last time I checked, UM went to W.VA and lured a nationally ranked coach away from a nationally ranked program. RR didn't exactly come begging to UM with a "Please hire me" sign on his butt. UM made a good choice,having checked out RR's program of repeated success at W. VA. That said, (I used to coach and referee sports) it never seems to fail that the loudest whiners and complainers are the 'sunshine fans' who inevitably never played the game but portend to 'know exactly what's missing to win every game'. Now that I've used a little mouthwash and rinsed the taste of you whiners from my mouth who so quickly and brazenly lay blame on RR, let's do a little projecting for the next two years, since you obviously are dead certain that RR can't coach. And, I'm going to project UM's Maize N Blue will win at least 8 games in 2010 and 10 games in 2011. Now. here's the if and I will admit, it's an 'if'. If Mich. fulfills my projection, will you 'whiners' have the poise and grace to admit RR really does have us on the right track or will you continue with the whining with "RR's gotta go because we haven't won a National Championship yet." Oh, and by the way, "How many teams in the entire country win National Championships every year? Yep! just one a year. Go Blue!!!


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 3:55 p.m.

note to pizza guy michigan athletics are a total trainwreck right now.that being said beilein has not displayed any leadership ability and if rich rod is not sucessful he will have put michigan football back at least 10 years..


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

as you can see, nobowl hopes to win merely 7 games. rr expects to win championships and will. rr won't be happy with nearly 4 losses every year like it was under carr. nobowl and the usual suspects can't take the pain of guttin' a mediocre program and restoring it to a powerful MICHIGAN program like rr and dave brandon expect it should be. brandon's job is to guide and support all the athletic programs, but football pays the bills. He's happy with, and supports rr. he's also well aware of what a Michigan team can be, given another year or two under rr. brandon won't listen to the panicky whiners because he knows the potential marketing power of a rr led Michigan championship caliber football team. and he's all about the Michigan brand making money and having success. he'll stay a steady course and make changes when they're necessary and ONLY after they've had sufficient TIME). he's definitely no dummy and won't panic. like most, i respected lloyd as a man, and a coach. but i was becoming frustrated and disappointed in our underachieving seasons. the usual suspects want to return to those days of mediocrity. those who are impatient or immature must believe rome was built in a day. they could never stomach a job like dave brandon's.

William Dove

Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 12:03 p.m.

RR didn't ruin M football! Carr left him a team that had very little talent, and some of the talented players he had return didn't want to work hard. They whined to everyone about working to hard, and Boren didn't like not getting the preferred treatment he was getting from Carr. Mallett was leaving whether Carr stayed or not. RR has had anti RR forces fighting him at every turn. For those of you who don't know RR took the heat for some of these infractions he had nothing to do with. It was Carr's people that were kept and trusted to do their job, and didn't that caused the majority of them. Did all of you miss almost every team come out and say that they all practice more than allowed. Even OSU stuck up for us, and ESPN who has always hated us, did too. RR is more like Bo than Carr. The only diffrence being that Bo's players didn't whine about the hard work. RR was a coach Bo said he liked RR as a coach. We are lucky RR has not quit, and told us to go to, for all he ahs had to put up with since he has been here! RR has the base built for a Michigan team that will bring us back to greatness, not the 7-5 8-4 teams we were getting used to.If you want to blame, blame Carr for leaving the program so poor in talent, not caring what happened after his last year, and his compliance people who screwed up with these CARA forms, and other parts of their jobs. We will get better every year until a NC in a couple of years.


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

Hope we get 6 or 7 wins. Hope we can beat MSU. Hope we don't embarass ourselves against OSU. Go Rich Rod. Our expectations have dropped to that of a second rate team. Thanks a lot


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 4:52 a.m.

122-40. every 4th saturday a loss. yeah. sell that to florida if you can. i'm not buying. app state. carr was 1-6 vs. the vest. and "he only had his program in the late-season hunt for the BCS Championship Game once (in 2006) and never reached the game although 11 other college football programs have since its inception in 1998". (wikopedia) mediocrity. we moved on. change or disappear. embrace or go away. go rr. go blue!


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 4:28 a.m.

"dollarstoresparty""..... you talk about "mediocrity" your definition of mediocrity is 122-40 under Lloyd Carr...5 BT championships and 1 NC....? Wow you truly are clueless. represent a new pathetic breed of UM fans and alum that I simply do not subscribe to: idiots. Ill take that "mediocrity" in your definition from 69-07 any day. Here is a glass of koolaid in case you are thirsty for more BTW.


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 4:12 a.m.

same cast of usual suspects. nobowl, blueinsc, tomhagen, etc. when will you get it? real um fans want championships again. Brandon is smart and knows RR is close to delivering. rr had to change the culture of mediocrity. its taken a couple of years to undo the mess of complacency, but rr with um will bring us championships again and soon. two years of reconstruction has been painful, but for those whiners who can't take it, get some kleenex. no pain, no gain. we've been through the pain of appalachian st. and the decline of lloyd vs. osu, ect. now we're at the doorstep of championships a-gain. go RR. go blue!!


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 4:11 a.m.

sry for those mistakes on my last comment. I was watchn TV while doin this and was payn more attention to the TV. Im sure ul get wat i said.


Mon, Mar 8, 2010 : 2:09 a.m.

I thin DB will jus do fine as a AD, HE has good judgment on RR. He clearly sees imporvement. Getting RR is not goin to solve things, actually hurt us even more. Especially they try to hire a pro-style coach, with a team full of players who can run spread. It would be like how RR tryn to use spread wit pro-style. Then people will be complaining more I would keep RR for 3 more years max to get UM to a BCS. I know he will be able to do it. So all you ppl who want a another coach ud better be thinking another coach who can run the spread because we will be screwed badley. I think UM's future will look bright. It will take ALOT more to bring UM down to a drought. RR will beat OSU and MSU soon. MSU is not the greatest team, UM will beat them guarantee next year. OSU will be tough but i think we will be able to beat them. Look who beat OSU recently (Texas, Illinois, Florida) all who use spread. Last season was actually a close game wit 2 treu-freshmen QB, and a Defense who was not the greatest. UM will be those teams inder the radar thats all i can tell those UM/RR haters. GO BLUE!!!!


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 10:58 p.m.

The look on Our King's face in that photo is a look of deep thought... I mean, the intricate gears of that mastermind are turning! I hope David Brandon appreciates / comprehends the true meaning of the spread, and how it will come to dominate ALL of football, college AND NFL! In King Rod We Trust


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 6:51 p.m.

The pressure that DB will be under starts the minute the NCAA formally sanctions Michigan. He will demonstrate his character then. He will have to chose principles over W's. I am confident that once the NCAA announces their decision, RR's career at Michigan is over. 3-9 or 9-3 if there are sanctions, RR will have coached his last season at UofM. Good riddings! He is a cancer on the entire department.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

BTW...that photo above is priceless. What you see is a confident, focused, engaged Dave Brandon making a point to Rich Rod...and just look at Rich Rod's face...eyes glazed over... probably not even listening...just out there spacing out... geeze.... in that photo you see one top notch performer and another who is just there physically. wow.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 6:16 p.m.

Rich Rod has destroyed Michigan football. He really has. If you are honest with yourself koolaid drinkers, you will admit that there is NOTHING positive for Michigan football that has come out of his hiring. 2 terrible seasons. 7-16+1 record. 3-13 and last place in the Big Ten with better talent than 2/3 of the conference. Barwis with his big talk and hype is a big Fraud... as evident by the poor showing on the field and poor showing by Michigan players at the NFL combines. (funny how Jake Long who trained under Gittleson put up almost 50 reps and became the top pick in the draft...while Barwis' guys drop in ranking consistantly due to poor showing at the combines and ON the field lol)... keep talking the wrestling and cage fighting talk though Barwis! And that brings up another point...the whole RR error at Michigan, has been marked with big talk and no results. Lots of pep rallies...BS garbage spewed from their staff and lackey supporters... RRs scummy agent Brown pushing Michigan to give more and more to the guy in his contract... and while this has played on the heartstrings of some of you koolaid crew... it doesnt pull the wool over the eyes of those of us who see the program get torn down...and see the decline on the field and off the field...and see that there is little hope for more than 5-7 this upcoming year...and see probable NCAA sanctions for the first time in 130 years of Michigan football. WE see things as they make excuses like your leader Rich Rod does. Go ahead folks...blame Lloyd Carr some more for this. LOL. As for Rich life will be in a spiral if/when he is canned. 2 houses that he owns that he cant sell... $3 mil lawsuit for a loan he skipped out on... marred reputation both on and off the field. Basically Rich Rod is nothing more than an Offensive Coordinator who got in over his head as a Head Coach. He will end up with a $200K a year OC job in the ACC once this is all said and done...and Barwis will move on to some other school that buys his S and C hype and bravado. and...Michigan football? It will rebuild under a better man and a better coach. Go Blue.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 5:41 p.m.

Forget Richrod, he has legit players coming in! Two years aren't enough to judge him anyhow! This year he has to deliver beyond 7-5 period! Beilein however is a different story! How does he get a free pass? Anyone watching the sparty game today should be sick! Our players play scared and they're being embarassed on national television! No offensive sets! Douglas, Novak, Lucas Perry could all play for Grand Valley, maybe! Michigan Basketball used to mean something! Beilein should not get a free pass! It's his third year, he has no excuse! 14 points with 16:09 left in the second half! Our team was supposed to be halfway decent! Someone tell me how we could fall so far by losing two frigging "walkons"? Coach B is an embarassment to the Maize and Blue! He's a great ambassador and character guy but isn't it all about the "results"? We have a veteran basketball team! 20 points with 14 minutes left in the second half with a veteran squad! Explain to me how he gets a free pass? No inside presence, no offensive set, on NATIONAL TELEVISION! Embarrasing! Oh yeah, more guards and a string bean forward coming in who "can shoot the three" Haven't we heard this before? Can we get some ballers back from the PSL, one time? Class of "89"


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 5:19 p.m.

Although he won't be judged solely on wins, I would think the bare minimum would be 8-4 (4-0 non-conference, 4-4 in conference with win over MSU or OSU being mandatory) with other considerations coming into play as well. Was the team competitive every week? Did the team improve over the course of the season? Are we closing the gap with OSU? Is RR representing the University with the character and integrity befitting the face of the school? And of course, the ultimate findings of the NCAA investigation come into play. I'm sure there's even more that Brandon will look at, but obviously it doesn't come down solely to the number of wins and losses, but 8 wins should be the minimum starting point before even needing to consider the other stuff.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 3:59 p.m.

Michigan should keep Rodriguez. I think "The Product" is the best Michigan coach ever, I couldn't have picked a better one myself.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 1:28 p.m.

Mr. Rodriquez has now left no stones unturned! After years and years of tradition and pride with regard to Michigan's outstanding clean NCAA program we have Rodriquez come on campus and tarnish that record as well. If I hear him say he is going to make a championship team out of what use to be our football team I will scream...We were a competitive Championship team that is until this Peter Principal West Virginia wanna be Coach came to Ann Arbor. His feet are way too small to fit into Schembechler, Moeller or Carr's shoes! C'mon Michigan was coming off of a major win beating Florida and returning 8 defensive players to the team. This would be considered a dominate defensive team that is until Rodriquez got hold of them and turned them into a 3 win team that could not tackle or defend! I don't know what criteria Mr. Brandon is considering to judge Rodriquez's performance on but, since he has come from the Corporate side of business he knows it is the bottom line period. In major college football it is wins and losses bottom line! So far this coach needs to be on probation because the 2010 season for Michigan will be dismal. In case no one watched the tremendous success the Big Ten had this past bowl season remember these teams will be playing the dismal Wolverines under the deficient Rich Rodriquez...make him gone!


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

I thought the U of M would fire RR if the NCAA report revealed major violations for just cause and avoid the buy out. After seeing how the process works, the guilty determination won't be made until the NCAA meeting in August.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 8:11 a.m.

RR has done nothing but disapoint. Potential sanctions, shame and low expections. Some annoint him King and that he is "The King of destruction". It will take years to fix what he is doing and to recover from the embarrassment he has caused. Mr. Brandon, Dominoes had to change their recipe to survive so does U of M.


Sun, Mar 7, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

Mr Brandon is getting his feet wet and most of his comments are guarded which is to be expected. Obviously the test comes next football season should things go south which I don't expect to happen actually he came in at a good time, the program (football) is about to take off, I hope he kicks a little butt in the basketball arena. I like his win or lose comments concerning the coach this is a step in the right direction lest we forget USC lessons recently. I like our odds in the years ahead with all these changes. RR has a bright future at Mich. although his heart is set on winning I think Mr. Brandon will keep RR at an even keel.