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The Inherent Silliness Of Michigan's Coaching Search

The University of Michigan is scared that rejection might give their program "a black eye". Um ... who wants to tell them the bad news.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In case you somehow haven't seen it yet, Football Scoop had a very interesting article about Michigan's coaching search this morning. If you're too lazy to click the link (shame on you, they need hits just like the rest of us), here's the most interesting tidbit:

It is our understanding from sources at Michigan that there is significant disagreement within the building in Ann Arbor regarding the potential candidacy of Les Miles. Hackett very much considers Les a friend and a candidate he would like to pursue. Others in the department do not believe this is in the best interests of Michigan and fear that Les would publicly acknowledge their interest but ultimately choose to remain at LSU, giving the Michigan search a very public black eye.

We'll start with the last sentence. Michigan is scared that a high-profile rejection will give them a very public black eye? More public of one than your now-former AD getting into email altercations with your fans? Worse than offering free tickets with bottles of Coke products? Worse than your somehow-not-yet-fired HC sending an obviously concussed QB right back into the fray after one of his linemen had to carry him around to keep him upright?

No. Michigan has been in a weird downward spiral since the end of the Lloyd Carr era. Hiring Rich Rod to replace Carr but not giving him enough time to get his system fully in place before firing him was a very poorly thought out plan. Arizona will be competing for the Pac-12 title this weekend. Under Brady Hoke, the Wolverines have declined every season, ultimately leading to yet another winter without a bowl game. That's three bowless winters over the past seven seasons, a stretch that hadn't happened since 1968-1974. Michigan won 10 games each year from 1972-1974, there just weren't dozens of bowl games back then.

What the Michigan athletic department hasn't seemed to realize is that swinging and missing on big profile hires isn't what gives you that massive black eye. The general public finding out that you're too afraid to even try is what makes you look bad.

Look at the last hiring cycle for Illini head coaches. Illinois whiffed on Kevin Sumlin for football and promptly moved on. Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens both said "thanks, but no thanks" to our basketball job. We moved right on. Yeah, there was a little mocking and laughter about how Illinois was trying too hard and looking desperate but who really cared? That all disappeared after a week or so. Can you imagine how bad we would have looked if it leaked that Mike Thomas' staff was scared to approach Smart out of fear of rejection? That's much harder to live down.

I was a late bloomer, so it probably took me longer to realize the wonderful knowledge that every single living person should know when it comes to asking for something you want. It doesn't matter if it's a date, or a raise, or a new head coach for your formerly amazing team: the worst they can do is say no. The world doesn't end when they do. You get up, move on, and find someone else. This isn't hard.

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