Rodriguez Mum On Reports He's Talking With Michigan

A Michigan athletic department spokesman said he was unaware of any talks

Dec. 14, 2007

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez discussed the Mountaineers heading to their second BCS game in three seasons and the challenge of facing Oklahoma's offense.

What the football coach didn't talk about Saturday was Michigan's vacant coaching job.

Rodriguez opened the previously scheduled news conference on No. 11 West Virginia's trip to the Fiesta Bowl by saying he would only talk about the game against the No. 3 Sooners.

"It may be disappointing to you, but I am not going to talk about any rumors or innuendo or jobs or what else is floating out there," Rodriguez said.

The questions about Michigan persisted, and Rodriguez fired back.

"You all have not understood what I just said. One more question and this conference, unfortunately - and you all have been super - but if the questions persist outside of that then this thing will be over," he said.

A reporter then asked whether Rodriguez would coach the team in the Fiesta Bowl.

"You're a tricky guy," Rodriguez said.

Some players indicated Rodriguez hadn't spoken to them about Michigan and that they were under orders to keep quiet.

"I'm not supposed to talk about that. I'm sorry," offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek said Saturday.

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong arrived at the football complex before Rodriguez on Saturday but it wasn't immediately clear whether a meeting between them took place. Pastilong didn't immediately return a telephone message.

Rodriguez arrived back in Morgantown on Friday with his wife after taking a flight from Ohio. He said he was going to his team's first bowl practice, then got into his car.

Sporting News Radio, citing unidentified sources, reported Friday that Rodriguez and his agent were in Toledo to talk with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin and university president Mary Sue Coleman.

Pastilong had said he was unaware Rodriguez had gone to Toledo and declined to disclose whether he had given Michigan permission to talk to the coach.



Michigan's coaching search is nearly a month old. LSU coach Les Miles and Rutgers coach Greg Schiano have said they were staying put at their schools.

Michigan's Lloyd Carr announced his retirement Nov. 19 after 13 seasons. He'll coach the Wolverines in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 against No. 9 Florida.

Rodriguez's contract, which runs through the 2013 season, has a $4 million buyout clause if he leaves before next September.

When Michigan lured basketball coach John Beilein away from West Virginia last April, Beilein's contract had a $2.5 million buyout clause. Under an agreement with West Virginia, he agreed to pay $1.5 million to the WVU Foundation.

The Michigan rumblings come a year after Rodriguez was courted by Alabama. The rumors and questions wore on the Mountaineers for several days before he turned down a lucrative offer from the Crimson Tide and agreed to a one-year contract extension at West Virginia through 2013.

Rodriguez, who has a 60-26 record at West Virginia, led the Mountaineers (10-2) to their fourth Big East title in five seasons.