The Times West Virginian

January 4, 2011

Rodriguez meeting with Michigan AD amid dismissal reports

By Larry Lage
Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was meeting with his boss Tuesday amid reports that he will be fired after three disappointing seasons.

The meeting between the coach and athletic director Dave Brandon stretched late into Tuesday afternoon, according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Rodriguez’s job status.

Rodriguez’s wife, Rita, left the building shortly before 5 p.m. and told reporters she had been told nothing about her husband’s job.

Players were expected to attend a previously scheduled team meeting Tuesday night. Rodriguez traditionally holds the meeting the night before classes resume each semester.

Rodriguez’s third season ended Saturday with a 38-point loss to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl, dropping his overall record to 15-22 with college football’s winningest program.

If he is fired, Michigan would owe him $2.5 million to buy out the final three years of his contract. Potential candidates to replace him include Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, a former Wolverines quarterback, and San Diego State coach and former Wolverines assistant Brady Hoke.

Michigan won its first five games, but lost six of the last eight. The season was also marred by NCAA violations tied to practices and workouts that led to three years of probation, one of the nation’s worst defenses and a pair of kickers who missed 10 of 14 field goals.

Nine starters on both sides of the ball are eligible to return next season. Quarterback Denard Robinson, the Big Ten offensive player of the year, has spoke highly of Rodriguez.

“That’s my coach,” Robinson said after the bowl game. “That’s who recruited me.”