IMPORTANT UPDATE 11:30 CT:
GoAUpher: Everyone, this is just super embarrassing. Somehow, some way, I got Andy Staples into my head when I was writing this and I didn't double check the byline. I wrote the piece more quickly than I should have, but that's not an excuse for such a blatant error.
The article was actually written by MGoBrian for setting me straight and my apologies to Mr. Thamel, Mr. Evans, and Mr. Staples for the inexcusable error. All previous references to Andy Staples as the author of the SI piece are crossed out and Thamel/Evans have been inserted as appropriate.A sincere thank you to
Well then. Unless I'm mistaken,
Andy Staples win the award for first national media member to raise Jerry Kill as a potential replacement for Brady Hoke at Michigan. I've seen his name come up in the blogosphere once or twice (/waves at MGoBlog) but even then, his candidacy was never seriously discussed. What does SI have to say about Kill?
Jerry Kill would be a wonderful fit in Ann Arbor, as all he’s done is win at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and now Minnesota. Kill’s epilepsy, which caused him to miss a handful of weeks during the 2013 season, could hurt his candidacy.
Ok, that's pretty boilerplate and he's certainly not overselling the prospect.
That said, Staples wouldn't top my list of CFB #HOTTAKES artists, so if he's putting Kill's name out there along with Dan Mullen and Greg Schiano it's a pretty good indication that we'll probably see more of this. I think that's especially true if Minnesota keeps winning or at the very least, finishes the tough stretch of their schedule with a win or two along with competitive losses.
Before we go any farther let me state that not only do I not see this happening, I don't think it's even remotely likely. But I wouldn't be a very good blogger if I didn't use this opportunity to explain why I think this idea does and does not make sense, so let's talk about it.
Kill to Michigan Makes Sense Because...
- He's a good coach. Kill fixes programs. We all know his long and well documented history of turning things around and building programs. He succeeds thanks to his focus on a strong foundation of academics, strength and conditioning, and getting everyone associated with a program to buy into his vision. That seems like something Michigan could use.
- He's well liked. On the scale of things that matter, this probably isn't the highest in a coaching search. Then again, Michigan fans are a bit on edge and a coach they can rally behind could be just the ticket.
- His offense is the definition of MANBALL. Michigan tried to run away from Rich Rodriguez spread ball like it had Ebola. For all I know, they might decide to pull another 180 and do the same to the dreams of Michigan as a power team. But my gut is that Kill's offensive system looks appealing to many of the tradition loving folks in Ann Arbor.
- He has no history of scandals. Michigan hates the idea of debasing itself with the dirty side of college football. That might mean Dan Mullen and his time in the SEC might get a hard look (Cam Newton offered money to go to Mississippi State anyone? NOTE: I know Mullen wasn't shown to be involved. It will come up if he's a candidate though, because reasons). But the one thing no one talks about when they discuss Kill is scandal. He is nearly synonymous with "doing it the right way."
Kill To Michigan Won't Happen Because...
- He coaches at Minnesota. Honestly, I think Michigan might look down their nose at the Minnesota program too much to give Kill his due for what he's accomplished in his time here.
- Kill wouldn't be interested. Everything about this statement is speculative. But my #TAKE is that Kill values the opportunity Minnesota gave him, he values how they've had his back while far too many freaked out about the seizures, and he's not looking to start over again --- even if he'd be starting over at Michigan.
- The seizure history. There are two angles to my thoughts on this. First, the Michigan job comes with additional levels of scrutiny and stress. I'm not sure Jerry (or Rebecca, because we know he takes her opinion seriously in this area) would view the Michigan environment to be as compatible with his seizure disorder as Minnesota. Second, if there is one thing we've all learned it's that far too many people are complete morons about seizures. I have no doubt Michigan has it's share of morons among the big money boosters and university leadership and as
Staples Thamel/Evans noted, I'm sure Kill's health would come in as a negative factor.
- Kill's recruiting. Michigan wants to recruit top classes every year. Kill is not known as a top notch recruiter in terms of bringing in the top talent from the region or nation. There is room to debate how much of that is due to his rebuilding philosophy and Minnesota vs. issues with his recruiting chops, but ultimately he doesn't have a history of bringing in blue chips. "Coaching them up" is important, but it's not the first thing Michigan fans want in a coach.
- Kill's candidacy (if it continues to get press) will likely be a media creation. Seriously. I'm pretty confident that if Minnesota continues to play the dark horse that we'll hear more about Kill being a good fit from national media members. Heck, we might even get some "little birdie" or "close personal friend" reports from the local papers. After all, he's the feel good story of the moment who happens to be a good coach to boot. In other words he's an easy guy for writers to add to there "who fits at Michigan" list.
Still, I'd be shocked to see any substance behind the words. I'm guessing that if Kill's name keeps coming up we'll fin that anything written will be in vague terms, no Michigan sources will be mentioned, and his seizure disorder will always be listed as a reason to think it won't happen. And once Brady Hoke is actually fired, I will be doubly shocked if the inevitable "leak" stories about the search have him mentioned at all.
Should Gopher Fans Even Care?
Probably not. Will we? Of course, because we're a paranoid and fearful lot. And even those of us who aren't afraid of this outcome or who don't think it makes sense at all will pay attention because coaching search rumors are diehard sports fan bait and we can't stay away from it. In the end, I think any talk about Kill to Michigan is a positive. It's something that wouldn't exist if the team wasn't winning and if the talk stays as vague as I think it will, it's hard to see it as anything but a "Kill getting respect" win for the program.
- Kill isn't a serious candidate for the Michigan job no matter what the media says in the coming weeks.