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Posted on Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 9:56 p.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez at Victors' Rally: 'I'm a Michigan man'

By Dave Birkett


Rich Rodriguez addresses the crowd Sunday at the Michigan Theater. (Photo: Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez answered one of the biggest knocks against him during a pep rally Sunday at the Michigan Theater, telling more than 700 supporters, “I’m a Michigan man.”

Rodriguez spoke at the end of the Victors’ Rally, an assembly designed to support him and the program after two consecutive losing seasons.

“I asked earlier … what is a Michigan man?” Rodriguez said. “I’ve heard that a lot, ‘I’m not from Michigan.’ How do I become a Michigan man? And nobody’s really given me the definition other than if you work hard and you're passionate, you give everything you got to the cause, which is having the best football program in America, to developing young men so they represent you the right way on and off the field and you’re a good guy and you have good guys around you and you believe in the university and it’s ideals, then you can be a Michigan man.

“Well, I think I’m a Michigan man.”

Former Michigan coaches Gary Moeller and Jerry Hanlon, radio announcers Jim Brandstatter and Frank Beckman, and ex-Wolverines Larry Foote and Brandon Graham also gave speeches Sunday. Former Michigan quarterback Rick Leach hosted the event, which was put on by National HR Solutions and not sponsored by the university.

Incoming athletic director Dave Brandon attended the rally, as did most of Michigan’s football staff, including assistant coaches Calvin Magee, Fred Jackson, Greg Frey, Tony Gibson and Adam Braithwaite.

Rodriguez said he’s been humbled by Michigan’s 8-16 record over the last two years, but insisted the adversity won't fracture the program or fan base.

“Some people, because we’ve had so much success over the years they maybe see an opportunity to kind of jump on us a little bit and say now’s our chance to make fun of Michigan, now’s our chance to pile on a little bit, and so maybe they have a little bit the last 2 years,” Rodriguez said. “But revenge is sweet. And I’m not going to make any predictions but I can tell you this, I can forgive but I’ll never forget, I can promise you that.”

See a slideshow and video from the Victors' Rally

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.


Ed White

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 4:22 a.m.

You go, Michigan Man! I lost my lunch.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Feb 23, 2010 : 1:07 a.m.

Appalachian State, the 2007 I-AA National Champion, would have beaten 2008 Toledo by seven touchdowns. Not that the loss wasn't a huge embarrassment, but there have been several far worse in the last two years. Compare Carr's record to Rodriguez's. It's roses and dandelions.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:34 p.m.

azwolverine has stated it very clearly. I cant understand how RR supporters are content to write off the past two years as "Growing pains" with no player talent. Michigan ALWAYS has strong player talent. Better than most big ten teams. Yet we sit in last place. While I dont think it will happen, I would LOVE to see RR have great success. I hope he goes 12-0 to the NC and starts a 10 year dynasty. However, regardless of how his future teams may perform, he clearly was NOT ready to take over at the helm these past two years. His record speaks for itself. We ARE true michigan fans who have to deal with this and the embarrassment. We have every right to be skeptical and to voice our opinions. Does'nt make me any less of a mich fan.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 10:23 p.m.

That was a pretty pathetic rally, RR could not even sell out the Michigan Theater. He can not declare himself a Michigan Man, he needs to earn the respect by winning and to quit crying about how he has no players. The best thing that can happen to Michigan football program will be when this clown is fired and a real coach is hired.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:32 p.m.

Rodriguez is no more of a Michigan man than Pee Wee Herman. At least Pee Wee was interesting to watch! Michigan will be lucky to win three games this fall. UMass, Bowling Green, maybe UConn and lose all the rest after the hits start wearing down the little speedy guys everyone is so sure will jet right out of every defensive players reach. A few good licks on these undersized players and speed won't matter - they'll be too banged up to play much less run around. You still need size in the Big Ten - ask Wisconsin, Penn State, and OSU. After another sad, long, pitiful year Rodriguez will be fired and then, maybe, we can start getting back to what Michigan football is supposed to be. If we already aren't so far in the hole that it takes 10 years to get back to prominence. Hopefully, these three years will be looked at as an experiment gone wrong with the benefit of twenty years hindsight. Anyone over the age of fifty will never live to see Michigan great again.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 8:37 p.m.

Anyway, my point I was getting to in my previous post (before my wife called me to dinner), was that some fans find it A-Okay to "hate" on those who have EARNED their spot in the Michigan family (Lloyd, the players) yet give their unconditional admiration and support to a coach who has earned nothing at Michigan. Part of being a "Michigan Man" imo, is earning it through high integrity, character, and let's face it...WINNING. But the bottom line is, it is earned. You can talk about it all you want, but until you earn it, it's simply talk. It is time for RR to earn it.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 7:59 p.m.

UM "haters" are people who put up with 8-16. "Haters," as one poster already said, are people who dis the players, the only members of the team who came to UM without being paid to do it. "Haters" are people who make excuses for mediocrity. "Haters" are people who dis a coach who won a National Championship, won multiple B10 titles and went to several Rose Bowls, beat Urban Meyer head-to-head, owned PSU and MSU, and won 6 games against favor of a coach with a losing record! I love UM and demand better. No excuses, no whining, no losing records, no losing to MSU or getting blown out by teams with losing records. RR backers are predicting 9 wins...AGAIN (that makes three straight years). Well, 9 is the minimum requirement THIS YEAR imo. This is Michigan. We don't wait for a coach that's not getting it done. It's time to win NOW.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

"When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing." - Bo Schembechler That about says it all.............GO BLUE!!!


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 5:34 p.m.

I would prefer that he would be saying that he enjoyed his time at Michigan but now needs to move to another stage in his college coaching career. Peerhaps at West Virginia.

Chrysta Cherrie

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 5:13 p.m.

A comment discussing moderation was removed. To read about and/or discuss comment guidelines, visit


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

I'm nit disagreeing but Harbaught spend yeas in A2 in Jr/High school


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

Nuff said, the new direction is the right move and we all know it...even the old guard that longs for the "good old days of Michigan football" know it. There were growing pains in the first 2 years, but stay the course and rally around what we got, because it will be very good very soon. Heck, I can remember my Dad and Grandpa yelling at the TV years ago when we'd get together for Michigan games...and I'm sure you remember that too. "Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on."


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

chembechler- born in ohio, coached at ohio state and u of miami (ohio). gary moeller - born in ohio, played for ohio state, assistant coach at u of miami (ohio). head coach at illinois. jim harbaugh - born in toledo ohio, played h/s football in california. head coach of u of san diego then stanford, both in california. and steve fisher - born in illinois, attended illinois state, assistant coach at western michigan univ. head coach now at san diego state. so what the heck qualifies someone to be a michigan man?


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:34 p.m.

jim harbaugh, a bo schembechler recruit from California, was arrested 10-30-2005 for DUI while coaching the university of San Diego. it was reported by m-live that jamie morris had broken relations with him, though they served in the same backfield, for his attack on UM academics. is harbaugh the definition of a 'michigan man'?


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:33 p.m.

gary moeller, another michigan man (appointed by bo schembechler), resigned in disgrace after an embarrassing public drunkenness episode.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

Lloyd Carr is yes. Yet Bo is regarded as the best coach ever eventhough his record was horrendus. So go figure.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

michigan man steve fisher...hahahahahahahaha


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

bo schembechler started this 'michigan man' crap when he appointed steve fisher to replace bill frieder. steve fisher was later fired for his basketball team's NCAA violations. i wonder if this gives clear meaning to the title 'michigan man'.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

it is also sad that when Mr. Rodriguez is defended with facts, removes the posts while allowing haters to make nonsensical attacks.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

"...who appreciates rich rodriquez for all he has accomplished." hahahahahahahaa


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

i'm a real and true michigan fan who appreciates rich rodriquez for all he has accomplished. but to have his character dragged through the mud by hater-posters on like is as sad as it is childish.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

rich rodriquez is a very good coach. haters, who are fair-weather michigan fans, will regret the day if he is ever hired by a program such as florida. i wouldn't blame him if he left michigan the minute his contract is up considering the rude and embarrassing treatment he has received from the haters.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

"Lloyd Carr lost to Appalachian State" at the end of his career, after bringing UofM it's first National championssip in how long? Like 1948? Don't get me wrong, lloyd stayed way too long but at least he did somthing.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

To rail against Rich Rodgriguez as not a "Michigan Man" is so foolish. "Michigan Man" Lloyd Carr lost to Appalachian State...he was directly responsible for the biggest embarrassment in the history of Michigan football, so "Michigan Man" doesn't hold a lot of water in my book. This is only going to be Rich Rodriguez's 3rd year and we'll finally be getting to see his recruits have a major impact on the field...these empty threats by the old guard are pretty sad. Make way for the new era of Michigan football and stay home please.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

He's a "michigan man" as long as that is where his $$ come's from...his loyalty is for sale!


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

rich rodriguez-bush..a michigan man, riiiiiight..michigan men dont lose to michigan men dont hang there hat on recruitng the state of florida..


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:03 p.m.

2sweetblue - Lloyd cried after winning his last game. Were you upset about a grown man crying then? I love the double standards. If RR won 9 games last year then I guarantee all the fairweather jokers around here wouldn't care about a few stupid tears. Grown men, CEO's, presidents, leaders, etc., DO cry from time to time. Why is this appalling or surprising?


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

MSU Breslin center...a place where all road teams now have a chance.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:47 p.m.

I love Coach Rod being so passionate. If you are a true Michigan fan, you will ALL BE IN FOR MICHIGAN like most of us!


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

Coach trust and believe You have the full support of the REAL Michigan fans and alums. We beleive in your vision and your game plan. In ROD WE TRUST GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

How am I suppose to take a grown man crying? The man is a joke and I refuse to drink the kool aid. I will not be getting my hope up like last year. It is an embarrassment to the University.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

I will re-post, moderators removed one before (my first removed) I question Tater, who will probably not respond because he/she NEVER responds to direct questions. Tater: You call everyone who is critical of the coach "Haters", yet you are consistently dissing the players--the actual Michigan Men out there. You consistently insult them by essentially saying that they are talentless and that we must get better people in there. Lots of folks are saying the same thing about the coach (given his actual record) yet you call us haters? I think when you turn the back on the players, that makes a very hypocritical stance.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 11:19 a.m.

I do not see them winning 8 games maybe 6 or 7 games but no more then that. they still have a long way to go before they ever get back to where they used to be.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

M will finish 6th in the BIG TEN, if everything goes right.I have read 8,9 wins, bowl game, the cup board was empty.This is who you are now. Say what u want about being a Michigan man but RR is your coach. That makes him a Michigan man. How blind we are.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:54 a.m.

8-16 and called a king. Blind optimisim from a loyal fan base that is used to better and now settles. I heard it said that 7-5 would be a good season, REALLY? Will this change what a Michigan man is? Medicore

Eric J. Klooster

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

There's a BIG difference between "I'm a Michigan Man" and "I THINK I'm a Michigan Man." The former is pompous, the second acknowledges that the judgement is ultimately up to others. Also, come on "if you work hard and your passionate"? Really?


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

Sounds like a Who's Who of "Michigan Men" were in attendance - except for one notable missing person. I wonder if Lloyd was out of town or what? Also, it pretty much looks like David Brandon has taken over as Bill Martin has disappeared.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

RR will be the first Michigan Man to have been found guilty of NCAA violations in the history of the history of the football program at Michigan.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 6:23 a.m.

well there you have it. nim-rod declares himself a Michigan man so it must be true. well "michigan man" dont let the door hit you in the can on the way out.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 5:07 a.m.

i'm a real and true michigan fan who appreciates rich rodriquez for all he has accomplished. i have backed all our coaches and our program through all our successes, as well as our shortcomings. and i fully support rich rodriquez. i consider him to be a very good coach. as for the haters who call themselves michigan fans, they will regret the day if he is ever hired by a program like florida. with the way he has been treated by them, i wouldn't blame him if he left michigan the minute his contract is up. to have his character dragged through the mud by "hater" posters on is sorry and embarrassing. as for the "michigan man" issue, i believe it had to do with one trait and one trait only - loyalty! they are not perfect. but they are all in, and they are loyal. haters are not michigan men! did you know?: bo schembechler, born and raised in ohio, made his famous "michigan man" comment when he appointed steve fisher to replace bill frieder after frieder abandoned UM for Arizona State. steve fisher was bo's appointed "michigan man". fisher, born and raised in illinois, was all in, but he was not perfect, however, and was later fired for his team's NCAA violations. jim harbaugh was born in toledo, & recruited from California has been called a "michigan man". he was also arrested 10-30-2005 for DUI while coaching the university of San Diego. jamie morris has broken relations with him, for his attack on UM academics. gary moeller, another bo schembechler "michigan man" appointee, was fired in disgrace after an alleged drinking incident. these are "michigan men". bo realized they may not be perfect, but they are all in with what they are trying to represent. rodriguez deserves better treatment from the haters. he is all in. as he said, "our fans are all in, if they're hell with them". that's my response to the haters! go rich rod. GO BLUE!!!


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 3:10 a.m.

Nice turnout of Michigan people, from Hanlon, to Mo, to Brandon, to the old players. But come on, Rod--you don't declare YOURSELF a Michigan man. I don't ever remember any coach refer to themselves as a "Michigan Man" (or woman) and it sounds amateur-ish in my opinion. Let's see what he can accomplish, but he should be humbled going 1-7 in the B10 this year and 3-13 in 2 years. That is unprecedented humbling. Mo got fired from Illinois in 3 years for having a similar record, and at Illinois, they really did have no talent (before their scandals started in the 1980s).

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:48 a.m.

Michigan men don't blame their predecessors for their own failures. Michigan men make the most of the talent on their teams. Michigan men find ways to win, they don't stubbornly lose when adjustments are necessary. I've known Michigan men. I've seen them coach up a freakin' storm on that field at Stadium and Main. Rich Rodriguez, you are not a Michigan man.


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 1:39 a.m.

Nice turnout of Michigan people, from Hanlon, to Mo, to Brandon, to the old players. But come on, Rod--you don't declare YOURSELF a Michigan man. I don't ever remember any coach refer to themselves as a "Michigan Man" (or woman) and it sounds amateur-ish in my opinion. Let's see what he can accomplish, but he should be humbled going 1-7 in the B10 this year and 3-13 in 2 years. That is unprecedented humbling. Mo got fired from Illinois in 3 years for having a similar record, and at Illinois, they really did have no talent (before their scandals started in the 1980s).


Mon, Feb 22, 2010 : 12:26 a.m.

The tears of Our King make me so emotional... his tears are so beautiful. When Our King cries The opposition better beware Through all the rumors and lies King Rod will go on a tear! In King Rod We Trust


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 11:25 p.m.

Stay the course Coach Rodriguez! Don't listen to all of the Negative Nancys in the Detroit media. I believe in Coach Rodriguez and I am certain he will take the Michigan nation to the promise land very soon. Go Blue!


Sun, Feb 21, 2010 : 10:51 p.m.

Wow, A little bit? I guess Rodriguez hasnt read an article, Watched tv, Or listened to a radio in the last two years.