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Michigan Hires Rodriguez As New Head Football Coach

Courtesy University of Michigan
December 17, 2007

Today (Dec. 17, 2007), Rich Rodriguez was announced as the 18th head coach in University of Michigan football history, and just the 11th in the 106 years since Fielding H. Yost made his debut in 1901.

Rodriguez comes to Michigan after spending seven years as head coach at his alma mater, West Virginia University, where he led the Mountaineers to a 60-26 record, four Big East titles and six consecutive bowl game bids. In 2005, he was named to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees.

Following a 10-2 (5-2 Big East) season in 2007 in which his team won the Big East title and a Bowl Championship Series berth, he was named the AFCA Region I Co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski. It was Rodriguez's second such honor after being recognized by the AFCA in 2003. He is also a finalist for the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, which honors the college football coaches who best exemplify responsibility and excellence on and off the field. Rodriguez was the 2003 and 2005 Big East Coach of the Year.

Under Rodriguez's guidance, WVU has claimed four of the last five Big East championships and recorded three consecutive seasons (2005-07) of double-digit victories for the first time in school history. The Mountaineers recorded at least eight wins in each of the last six seasons, and since 2002 have accumulated a record of 57-16, winning 78.1 percent of their games.

In 2006, the Mountaineers finished 10th in the national polls at 11-2 behind a pair of All-Americans and the Big East Player of the Year. In 2004 and 2005, Rodriguez's teams claimed conference titles, as the 2005 squad went on to record WVU's first BCS victory, a 38-35 upset over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

After a 1-4 start in 2003, the Mountaineers rattled off seven straight wins, posted a 6-1 mark in conference play to tie Miami for the Big East title, and earned a second straight bowl berth. In 2002, Rodriguez engineered the greatest turnaround in Big East history, taking his 2001 team from a 1-6 record in league play to 6-1 the following year. West Virginia finished second in the nation in rushing in 2002 (283 yards per game) and ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin.

Prior to accepting the West Virginia job on Nov. 26, 2000, Rodriguez served as offensive coordinator and associate head coach for Tommy Bowden at Clemson in 1999 (6-6) and 2000 (9-3). He spent the previous two years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bowden at Tulane, where he helped lead the Green Wave to 7-4 and 12-0 marks, culminating with a victory at the Liberty Bowl.

Rodriguez began his collegiate head coaching career at the NAIA/Division II level at Salem (1988) and Glenville State College (1990-96). At Glenville State, he won or shared four consecutive West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles and was named the WVIAC Coach of the Year in 1993 and '94. He was the 1993 NAIA Coach of the Year after leading his team to a national runner-up finish. Rodriguez, who also served as Glenville's athletic director in 1995-96, was inducted into the Glenville Hall of Fame in 2003.

A member of West Virginia's 1981-84 teams, Rodriguez was a three-year letterwinner (1982-84) as a defensive back for coach Don Nehlen, who served as an assistant coach at U-M for Bo Schembechler from 1977-79. The Mountaineers posted a 26-10 record in those three years and made three bowl appearances: the 1982 Gator Bowl (lost to Florida State, 31-12); the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl (defeated Kentucky, 20-16); and the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl (defeated TCU, 31-14).

A native of Grant Town, W.Va., in Marion County, Rodriguez grew up just five miles from the birthplace of U-M legendary coach Fielding Yost (Fairview, W.Va.). He is a 1981 graduate of North Marion High School, where he was a four-sport letterman and an all-state honoree in football and basketball, leading the Huskies to the 1980 Class AAA state football championship. Rodriguez and his wife, Rita, have two children, Raquel and Rhett.

Rodriguez's Head Coaching Record

Year School Record Bowl/Result
1988 Salem 2-8  
1990 Glenville State 1-7-1  
1991 Glenville State 4-5-1  
1992 Glenville State 6-4  
1993 Glenville State 10-3, WVIAC champion  
1994 Glenville State 8-3, WVIAC champion  
1995 Glenville State 8-2, WVIAC champion  
1996 Glenville State 6-4, WVIAC champion  
2001 West Virginia 3-8, 1-6  
2002 West Virginia 9-4, 6-1 Continental Tire/L, 22-48 (Virginia)
2003 West Virginia 8-5, 6-1 Big East champion Gator Bowl/L, 7-41 (Maryland)
2004 West Virginia 8-4, 4-2 Big East champion Gator Bowl/L, 18-30 (Florida State)
2005 West Virginia 11-1, 6-0 Big East champion Sugar Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia)
2006 West Virginia 11-2, 5-2 Gator Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia Tech)
2007 West Virginia 10-2, 5-2 Big East champion Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma)

NAIA/Division II (8 seasons): 45-36-2
Division I (7 seasons): 60-26
TOTAL (15 seasons): 105-62-2

RODRIGUEZ AT A GLANCE
Birthdate: May 24, 1963
High School: North Marion (W.Va.) High School ('81)
College: West Virginia (B.S., '86)
Wife: Rita
Children: Rhett, Raquel