Depending on which side of the fence you happen to reside on, Michigan’s football awards banquet was either a very emotional one, or a very, very awkward one that reeked of desperation.
Based on the accounts we’ve read — and the fact that a Josh Groban song was willingly utilized — we’ll go with the latter.
Fighting back tears, a choked-up Rich Rodriguez delivered a straight-from-the-heart speech Thursday night amidst rumors that he may be fired following the Wolverines’ bowl game, saying that he was “honored to be the head coach at the University of Michigan. I hope you realize I truly want to be a Michigan man.” If he had left the groveling at just that, especially with his boss, athletic director David Brandon, sitting a few feet away, it might’ve been fine, even poignant. But he didn’t. And it wasn’t.
I understand wanting to keep your job, but still…
He said he had found some solace in the lyrics of the Josh Groban song “You Raise Me Up.”
He read the first verse of lyrics aloud.
“This may seem kind of cheesy or sappy or what have you, but I’ve been listening to it the last few weeks, and it kind of fits the mood of what we’re in right now,” Rodriguez said.
Speakers in the ballroom then played the song for the team’s 21 departing seniors and several hundred others gathered in the ballroom.
As the song concluded, Rodriguez grabbed the hands of his wife, Rita, and the night’s emcee, Frank Beckmann, and raised them above his head.
Several seconds passed before others on the dais, including Brandon and the entire Wolverines team, followed suit.
(Do not be alarmed; that sound you heard was simply Bo Schembechler rolling over in his grave. Repeatedly.)
Brandon has been very consistent in his stance that he will not evaluate the football program, including Rodriguez’s status as the head coach, until after the season is completed. Seeing how RichRod is currently handling all of this speculation over his future in Ann Arbor, Brandon might want to consider either putting his mind at ease or putting him out of his misery before their appearance in either the Gator Bowl or Insight Bowl.
If Brandon’s not careful, the next thing you know Celine Dion will be blaring through the UM weight room’s speakers. And Oprah will be required film-room viewing. And those are things that simply can’t be allowed to happen to such a storied program.