All the questions about Rich Rodriguez's job status have apparently gotten to Michigan's head football coach, and he expressed some of those feelings Thursday night at the Wolverines' annual football banquet.â†µ
Rodriguez did not have to deal with the presence of Jim Harbaugh, as the Stanford football coach opted not to join a reunion of the 1985 team that eventually finished No. 2 in the country. with a 10-1-1 record. And without the man who might replace him as Michigan's coach in the same room, Rodriguez said "I truly want to be a Michigan man" and stated his intention to return the Wolverines to national prominence.â†µ
I came here three years ago, leaving my comfort zone, because I thought this was a great opportunity," [Rodriguez] said. "… I knew after being on the job for a few months there were going to be some challenges. And more come out in front of us. We never ran away from it.â†µ
"It’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen in a big way," he continued. "I wish it happened yesterday, last year, the first year. Believe me, my life would be a lot easier."â†µ
Rodriguez choked up when talking about the effect that criticism and his job status has had on his family. He went on to mention a Josh Groban song - "You Raise Me Up" - that had given him inspiration in recent weeks. Rodriguez read the lyrics of its first verse aloud before the song played in the ballroom. He then took the hands of his wife, Rita, and Frank Beckmann - the evening's emcee - and raised them above his head. Eventually, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon and the entire football team joined him on stage.â†µ
In other news from the banquet, Denard Robinson won the Bo Schembechler Award as the team's Most Valuable Player. Brandon also suggested that Michigan was more likely to play in a bowl game in Florida (presumably the Gator Bowl) than Arizona.