Open Letter to Bill Martin

Dear Bill Martin,

This is the most important decision you will make in your tenure as the athletic director at Michigan. The stadium construction, the basketball search, even balancing the budget ... none of those compare to the head football coaching search.

And now, with the job open 2 weeks, what are we hearing? Brady Hoke. Mike DeBord. Ron English. An interim coach for a year and try again in 2008. 

None of those decisions is acceptable. They are not just uninspiring, they are unacceptable. Any one of them would be seen as an abject failure on the part of the athletic department and the athletic director. Michigan is one of the top programs in the country and the job opening here is a dream opportunity for many, to take over a national powerhouse at a prosperous time, not in the middle of a decline. The right hire could launch Michigan into a truly fantastic era for this program.

And yet we hear that we may be considering Ron English, Mike DeBord and Brady Hoke.

Whatever your fears are with respect to Les Miles, they cannot outweigh the simple reality, the proven reality, that Mike DeBord and Brady Hoke are not good enough to warrant handing over the Michigan program to one of them.

There is no perfect candidate. Every candidate presents some danger, some fear. The fear that Schiano was a flash in the pan. The fear that Tedford can't recruit. The fear that Miles will embarrass the program. The fear that Stoops looks the other way on NCAA compliance. Ditto Tressell. Ditto Carroll. Meyer is a negative recruiter. 

There is fear with every coach. There are negatives on every coach, and an element of risk. But with some candidates, there is a reward behind that risk. Les Miles is such a case. He has never been investigated by the NCAA. He has never said anything that would offend the fans or the population. He has never done anything to embarrass his university. Has he done something to offend Lloyd Carr? Assuredly yes, but as much as Carr has contributed to the program, his word cannot outweigh the collective thoughts of dozens of dyed in the wool Michigan faithful, ex players, ex coaches and alumni, who know and respect Les Miles and want to see him in Ann Arbor.

You have a committee of advisors. You have dozens of respected Michigan football alumni who will weigh in. When they say Les Miles is good and Les Miles can be trusted with this program, respect the opportunity that he represents, not the fear.

And faced with the choice of Hoke, DeBord, English and interim or Les Miles, the decision cannot be hard.

Posted: Monday - December 03, 2007 at 10:43 PM