John U. Bacon’s fine piece on Rich Rodriguez published in Michigan Today included this:
Rodriguez’s grandfather left Spain for the coal mines of West Virginia. Looking for a better life, the family moved to Chicago, where Rich was born.
This prompted a few folks to contact Michigan Today and the author to dispute this, citing sources that claim Rich Rodriguez was actually born in Grant Town, West Virginia. Bacon wrote a response to those folks, here’s a portion:
No matter how many sources list Grant Town as Rich Rodriguez’s place of birth, he was born in Chicago, and raised there until the middle of second grade. (I’ll take his mom’s word on that.) His family did leave their home late at night, and suddenly, and, as the article says, Rodriguez had not heard of West Virginia until they were leaving for the state that night.
Further, the article was accurate in stating that Rodriguez did not visit the campus of West Virginia University until he first arrived there as a freshmen [sic]. In fact, Rodriguez had never seen a Division I football game in person until he was a player on the sidelines for his first game at West Virginia.
Whether readers choose to believe Coach Rodriguez is, of course, entirely up to them, but I can see no reasonable grounds for doubting him on these points. All have come from extensive interviews with Coach Rodriguez, and have been confirmed by other sources, including his parents.
Regretfully this site may have been one of those bogus sources, I’m not sure. When Rodriguez was hired I specifically searched for his birthplace to see if it was anywhere near where Fielding Yost was born. I may have found it on Wikipedia which still lists Grant Town as his birthplace today. Yes, shame on me for using Wikipedia but a lot of other places make the same mistake, here’s the Free Press. The footnote source for this information on Wikipedia is a U-M San Francisco website that actually doesn’t say Rich Rod was born in Grant Town, just that he was native to this city.
For whatever reason in most official bios Rodriguez doesn’t list a birthplace simply says he’s a native for Grant Town. Here’s the Clemson bio (check out his hair); here’s the mgoblue.com bio, “A native of Grant Town, W.Va.”
The “middle of second grade” is a pretty significant time, I mean, I have many memories of life up until second grade. He spent a good stint of his early life in the Midwest. For whatever reason it appears as though Rodriguez doesn’t really want that period of his life highlighted in his bio.