Coach Rich Rodriguez has not been available to the media since being fired on Wednesday morning by Michigan. But he did issue a statement through the university Thursday afternoon, which reads as follows:
“I am proud of the dedication and commitment exhibited by the coaching staff and student-athletes who have represented the University of Michigan football program over the last three seasons. While I am disappointed to depart Ann Arbor before we were able to reach the level of success we had in our sights, I am confident that the players who remain have the potential to do great things and to return the Wolverines to greatness. I would like to thank our fans and our student body for their tremendous support. There is great passion for Michigan football and I have made lifelong friends through this experience.”
Thanking the fans and students is a nice touch, given that many may not have supported Rodriguez, but certainly supported Michigan football. And his players get a vote of confidence from the coach who brought them to Ann Arbor.
As ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg points out, it’s probably worth noting that Rodriguez doesn’t mention athletic director Dave Brandon (nor anyone else from the athletic department) in the statement. Perhaps that has to do with Brandon leaving Rodriguez out there to hang for six weeks while working through his evaluation process. Had Rodriguez been dismissed after the Ohio State game, maybe he would’ve been in play for some of the other jobs that opened up around college football (Miami, Maryland, etc.).