I can't believe LaLloyd has been semi-officially retired for over a week and I haven't even really talked about the coaching search. As you know from last year's basketball search, I love the chase (Now if only I could get as good at chasing girls as I am with the coaches). Well, I think it's becoming fairly obvious now that Les Miles is the frontrunner be the next head coach here at Michigan. That being said, those close to the situation indicate it isn't quite a done deal just yet. While Bill Martin has requested and been granted permission to talk with Miles following the SEC Title game, the negotiation process hasn't even begun yet. LSU is likely going to sweeten Miles' deal to persuade him to stay, and even though Miles definitely wants to coach his alma mater, as they say...Stranger things have happened.
Now, in my opinion, while Miles is a good candidate, I don't think he's the man for the job. There's no denying he's a talented recruiter and has the best talent in the best conference in America (although Florida could make a case against that). But, just like Lloyd was way too conservative to ever pull off major upsets and National Championships in the current BCS format, Miles takes far too many risks (I think I said this in an earlier post). Talk amongst people who follow the SEC has centered around the fact that Miles sometimes gets outcoached in the big games. And if you look at his record through the years at Oklahoma State and LSU, he's good for two or three losses a year. That being said, he's also never had any really terrible seasons, either.
But if I'm Bill Martin and the powers that be in the Michigan athletic department, I'm looking for a coach that will build National Champions. I'm looking for someone with a history of awesomeness, not just solidness. I'm looking at Brian Kelly of Cincinnati. The guy has won at every level he's coached, whether that be D-II, the MAC, or the Big East. As discussed by my friend, Jack, in the Daily today, Kelly built a juggernaut at Grand Valley State that probably won't be matched in the near future. His teams won three straight National Titles. Then he went to Central Michigan and turned a perennial doormat into an 8-3 Bowl-bound team that scared the daylights out of BCS-level teams like Boston College. And now this season, he's revived what never was at Cincinnati: an elite football team. Not to mention, Kelly is young for a head coach and has the potential to be in Ann Arbor for a long time, which is what Bill Martin wants, I think.
Gotta admit this...Kelly looks like a total toolbag in the picture...but from everything I've seen and heard, dude can straight coach em up.
And anyone who says Kelly hasn't coached at a big time level is just dead wrong. Thinking the Big East isn't elite is shortsighted, and very past tense. The doomsdayers all said the conference was grossly undercompetitive when they lost Miami, BC and Va Tech to the ACC, but look at them now. West Virginia and arguably Louisville are legitimate top-25 programs year in and year out. UCONN, South Florida, Rutgers and Cincy are all up-and-coming. And Pitt and 'Cuse have been good in the past and are really sleeping giants that should be awoken in the near future. If you look at this season, I would argue the Big East was a better football conference than both the ACC and the Big Ten.
There are some flaws, which are correctly pointed out by another pal, Brom in his column today. The man has some missteps (racist remarks) and there are indications his ultimate goal might be the NFL. And the transition from Lloyd to Kelly would be a lot more difficult than Lloyd to Miles, in my opinion. See, Kelly runs the spread offense so the Wolverines current personnel isn't exactly matched up for it. But then again, we have some of the best athletes in the nation, and maybe with Kelly we'll have a coach who will appropriately use said talents.
In the end, neither will be a failure. But I think in the grand scheme of things, Brian Kelly has greatness written all over him. In all seriousness, though, it wouldn't shock me if big Les is introduced as head coach next week.
A new Carr with Les Miles?: Big Les could be screaming at refs wearing Maize and Blue by the middle of next week if things work themselves out smoothly.