Michigan Hires West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez As Next Coach

Sunday, December 16th 2007, 3:44 pm
By: News On 6

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan has hired West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez as its next football coach following a search that featured two other top prospects deciding to stay put.

``I am thrilled to have Rich Rodriguez as Michigan's new coach,'' athletic director Bill Martin wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Sunday. ``Rich brings an exciting brand of football to Michigan Stadium. We welcome the entire Rodriguez family to Ann Arbor.''

Rodriguez, whose No. 11 Mountaineers are preparing for their second Bowl Championship Series game in three seasons, will take over Michigan's program from Lloyd Carr.

Carr announced his retirement November 19th after 13 seasons.

The Wolverines plan to introduce Rodriguez at a news conference Monday morning, Michigan athletic department spokesman Bruce Madej said. Rodriguez, who has a 60-26 record at West Virginia, led the Mountaineers (10-2) to their fourth Big East title in five seasons.

Carr plans to coach the Wolverines in the Capital One Bowl on January 1st against No. 9 Florida.

Rodriguez's West Virginia contract, which runs through the 2013 season, has a $4 million buyout clause if he leaves before next September.

When Michigan lured basketball coach John Beilein away from West Virginia last April, Beilein's contract had a $2.5 million buyout clause. Under an agreement with West Virginia, he agreed to pay $1.5 million to the WVU Foundation.

During Michigan's search, LSU's Les Miles and Rutgers' Greg Schiano both said they were staying put at their schools.

The Michigan job comes a year after Rodriguez turned down a lucrative offer to coach Alabama and agreed to a one-year contract extension at West Virginia.

At the time Rodriguez, who has lifelong ties to West Virginia, said he planned ``on being here a long time.''

He added at the time: ``I'm biased, this is my school. I think it's a great place to raise a family. We've always had a great athletic tradition.''