The final segment of my four part interview with former WTKA morning show host Dave Shand. In Part I, we discussed what Shand is up to these days, his lawsuit with Bill Martin and his thoughts on the current morning crew at WTKA. In Part II, we looked at Jim Carty and the Ann Arbors News series on academics and athletics. Part III discussed Red Berenson, the future of the hockey program, and we got some of Shand’s candid feelings on how the University handled the Ed Martin mess.
Wrapping things up, we turn to the Rodriguez hire. We talk about the hiring process, the deal that was allegedly struck in Toledo, the ensuing lawsuit, and finally, we get Shand’s thought on what Rodriguez’s system will bring on the field.
Achtung! Shand uses some spicy language in this one (again). FWIW.
MVictors: Michigan landed a big name football coach in Rich Rodriguez. You’ve got a lawsuit with Bill Martin right now and he of course it was Martin who spearheaded the coaching search. What were your thoughts as you watched the coaching search unfold?:
Shand: [laughing] It was a complete clusterfuck. It was an absolute disaster. And Bill Martin’s excuses, ‘I was at sea’ or whatever, I have no idea, he couldn’t contact Les Miles because he didn’t get permission from the athletic director. Bill Martin lied, he absolutely lied. Because the next time he was trying to hire somebody [Schiano] he contacted him directly. Obviously he didn’t want to hire Les Miles which is fine. If you don’t want to hire somebody, just come out and say, “You know what? I know there’s a lot of pressure to hire Les Miles. I’m not interested in hiring Les Miles.” Don’t go through this whole charade.
This is a typical example of the arrogance of Bill Martin. In that he thought he could get away with it. Ok, we’ve got a $4 million buy-out, but we’re going to litigate them down and we’re not going to have to pay the four million bucks. It turns out West Virginia was pissed off enough and they weren’t going to litigate it down; they weren’t going to settle the case.
So it cost Michigan, they say $2.5 million. But I’ve heard, through back sources, that Rich Rodriguez did not realize that the $2.5 million that Michigan is paying on his behalf is taxable, so Rodriquez is going to have to pay taxes on that. Plus there’s the million and a half out of his own pocket. I’ve also heard from some very credible sources that Michigan’s paid the whole nine yards. Michigan has paid the entire $4 million to West Virginia, Michigan has paid $750,000 of West Virginia’s legal fees, a million dollars of their own legal fees, and has paid taxes on the $4 million it paid on his behalf which is all taxable income, so Rich Rodriguez, instead of the four million dollar coach, he’s become the eight million dollar coach. Anybody want to take a look at that?
MVictors: From the perspective of a lawyer, were you surprised that they pushed to try to reduce the buy-out?
Shand: If you had asked one hundred contract lawyers about his defense to their claim, as far as the $4 million buy-out, one hundred contract lawyers would have said he had no chance.
MVictors: The lay person would look at John Beilein’s situation and note that he got it reduced, so why couldn’t Rodriguez?
Shand: And [Beilein] negotiated; he said, “This is where I want to go. What will it cost me for me to pay you guys to get out of this deal?” And then they negotiated a deal. Rich Rodriguez didn’t do that. He went straight to litigation going, “I ain’t paying fuck all.” And West Virginia said, “What do you mean you’re not paying fuck all? We had a liquidated damages clause in your contact which is enforceable. You can’t tell us your not paying fuck all.” And that was the position that they had. Well, they were dead wrong and they paid every single penny plus all their legal fees. Probably should have just negotiated it down and it would have cost them, say, $3 million. That was just really stupid.
MVictors: From a legal perspective, as University officals, what authority did Martin and Mary Sue Coleman have to step into that meeting in Toledo and make a deal with Rodriguez? And Michigan settled with West Virginia right before Martin and Colemany were to be deposed, do you think they were afraid of having to reveal details of the meeting in Toledo?
Shand: There’s so many avenues you could go down here. I think there were a lot of things that were said there and a lot of promises that were made…that they did not have the authority to make. You can not make multi-million dollar promises to pay on somebody else’s behalf without the Board of Regents approving those promises. They would have to say, which is typical in any public body, “We have to go back to our bosses, which is the board of regents, and present them with what we have tentatively agreed on and get their approval on this”. Apparently none of that went on. They were just two cowboys out there goin, “Oh yeah, we can pay $2.5 million, we can do all this stuff..” That’s not their money. That’s money that belongs to the people of the state of Michigan– this is a public university. And that money doesn’t get to be thrown around willy-nilly without the Board of Regents, which is a duly elected body in the state of Michigan, approving it. I have no idea where they got off doing what they were doing. I was stunned.
MVictors: This of course is all alleged. We know West Virginia’s lawyer said it was agreed to in the meeting, but we don’t have anyone else saying that.
Shand: Well, we don’t have Mary Sue Coleman’s deposition because..[laughs]..she wasn’t deposed.
MVictors: What are your thoughts on the hiring of Rodriguez, forgetting about the hiring process and lawsuit, etc.?:
Shand: I loved the hire. I think Michigan’s needed a change for a long time. I love Lloyd. Bo helped recruit me here to Michigan. I know Gary [Moeller]. Melanie Moeller, Gary’s granddaughter, is my daughter’s best friend. But I thought it was going to be a breath of fresh air. I was pleased with the hiring. Mike Barwis from what I hear from all the hockey guys that are dealing with him say he’s just a horse. A lot of the hockey guys before going to pro training camps have been working with him, it’s radical, it’s different and they really think it’s helped them. I love everything he’s doing.
Rich Rodriguez is going through the same process that Red was going through when he got here. Red had a thing in his head about how his was going to play. High tempo, high speed, high execution level with constant pressure and you’re going 100 miles an hour for sixty minutes. If you can hang with us, fine. If you can’t hang with us we’re going to blow your friggin’ doors off. That’s the way he wanted to play. He took the job in 1984 and he comes to the University of Michigan and what does he have? A bunch of plow horses. He has no talent to work with. It took him four, five years to get enough of the guys for his vision. He literally had to sweep out four years of guys that were plow horses.
You can’t play Red’s system if you can’t fly. Finally when he got a whole team in of guys that could fucking skate, from first second first minute, to the last minute of 60 minutes, we’re goin’, and we’re going 100 miles an hour. And we went 37-3, and 38-2, and 35-4 but it took him that long. Rich Rodriguez doesn’t have any players that can play his system. Maybe Carlos Brown. Maybe Martavious Odoms. They’ve got a couple of them and they don’t have a quarterback. And the defense doesn’t have the presence yet to know how to fly. He’s got a bunch of 4.6 guys back there and he wants a bunch of 4.2 guys back there.
Michigan’s always been known for starting fast and finishing slow. Now they’re starting slow and finishing fast. And I’d rather have finishing fast because that means we’re getting to the right conditioning level. Next year, there going to get to a new level.
MVictors: Are Michigan fans going to wait two to three years?
Shand: They’re going to be pissed [laughing]. But they have to have the one thing that Michigan fans don’t have and that’s patience. This is a totally different way of playing the game. We could have kept a Lloyd Carr and kept Mallett and Justin Boren, and we could have gone 10-2, 9-3 or whatever, playing traditional Michigan football. Are you going to have a chance to compete on the national stage? The answer is no. Rich Rodriguez gives you a chance to compete on the national stage, but you’re going to have to wait 3-4 years to see what his vision is. I think he’s the right guy.
I always admire the ability of Michigan fans to blow smoke up their own ass. Sorry folks, we’ve only had one national championship in 50 years. Have we been consistently above mediocre? Absolutely. I think Rich Rodriguez gives them a chance to be exceptional. Rich Rodriguez had West Virginia one game away from having his team in the national championship. We’d had one shot at that was 1997. And it’s West Virginia! You’ve got dumbfuck hillbillies with no teeth and one nut. At least we’ve got a chance to recruit better student athletes here.
Here’s links to all four parts of the interview:
Part I: What he’s up to, the lawsuit with Bill Martin, more.
Part II: Jim Carty and the News Series
Part III: Coach Red and the Fab Five
Part IV: The Rodriguez hire