In search for head coach, Mullen for Michigan might make heads turn

The University of Michigan football team is looking for a new head coach.

After firing Brady Hoke earlier this month, interim athletic director Jim Hackett came out and announced that the team would look for the best possible coach. Hackett made it clear that he intends to eradicate the term “Michigan Man.”

While it’s the consensus that this is a move in the right direction, it’s still imperative that the university takes the next step and finds a coach that can make a winner out of Michigan.

So, who will be the next coach?

As with the team’s previous search to fill the head coaching vacancy in 2011, the usual names have been thrown around. San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Louisiana State University head coach Les Miles and former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano have all been rumored to be prime candidates for the job. In addition, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen has highlighted a list of new, up-and-coming coaches who might be attractive for the maize and blue.

In regards to what the new coach must bring to the table, there are multiple facets that would be advantageous.

The paramount aspect in finding the new coach is not his name, but his ability to win. Furthermore, I think the next head coach for the Wolverines needs each of the following attributes: head coaching experience, but even further, head coaching success.

It will be crucial for the coach to have ties to the Midwest to recruit in the state of Ohio. This is also important because in 2014, the University of Michigan is not quite the household name that Oregon, Alabama and Florida State might be.

While it might sound facetious, age will also likely play an integral role in determining who the next coach will be. In recent years, coaches have been getting more chances earlier on in their careers than ever. This is why is could possibly be beneficial for Michigan to look at someone younger who can relate more with student athletes.

Last, it would be convenient for the team to hire someone who would implement a pro-style offense due to the fact that anything else would require a complete overhaul of the roster. Fans can easily recall the last time that a coach tried doing that.

Looking at the aforementioned coaches, each offers positives. Harbaugh played at Michigan, and has been a winning coach not only at the college level, but at the NFL level. Miles played at Michigan as well, and won a national championship in 2007 before appearing in another in 2012. Schiano won at Rutgers, a program notorious for being terrible, and also had his players successful academically, which is of huge relevance in Ann Arbor. Mullen took over a team in Mississippi State that had previously struggled, and has had them ranked as the top team in the nation as recently as this season.

But which of these coaches fits the criteria mentioned above?

Harbaugh certainly seems enticing for anyone interested, but it appears he’ll most likely be traded from the 49ers rather than let go. Schiano could be a great hire in terms of success on and off the field, but without ties to the Midwest and a rough exterior as a person, Michigan might pass on him. Miles is 61 years old, and he might be a year away from being anywhere other than LSU.

That leaves Mullen, a Pennsylvania native, who has had success in the rugged SEC West, as, in my opinion, very much a prime candidate for the job. While a switch to Mullen’s up-tempo spread offense could take a year or two for Michigan to adjust to in terms of personnel, his ability to recruit and coach offense could make up for it in the following years.

As a bonus, it would add to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry by matching Buckeyes’ coach Urban Meyer up against his former assistant, Mullen.

Hopefully, Michigan fans and alumni would be more accepting of a coach that doesn’t fit the “Michigan Man” model.

This entry was posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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