Michigan Job Is Better Than Most (Including UCLA)

Mark Blaudschun

(No one asked us, but...)

Let's begin by saying that in our opinion there aren't many better sportswriters/bloggers/journalists in the country than our TMG pal, Rankman.

It is one of the reasons why we read with great interest, Rankman's appraisal of the ramifications of Michigan basketball coach John Beilein jumping to the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA.

Rankman contends that the perception that Michigan is a better job than UCLA is incorrect.

The magic word here is UCLA.

Like all of us (or most of us) Rankman has a a few blind spots when looking at the world, including anything involving Nolan Ryan or the UCLA Bruins involving John Wooden.

Rankman tells us that the argument contending that in its current status, Michigan is the better job than that of the current Wizards of Westwood, who now will be coached by Mick Cronin is misguided.

Rankman says that is not true for a variety of reasons.

Normally, we would give Rankman the benefit of the doubt, but then he knocks down his own argument with his own analysis.

Rankman's first mistake was using the Wikipedia defense, bringing up UCLA's 11 national titles to one for Michigan, while naturally evoking the Wooden legacy.

The world in all aspects is on a fast time line, where yesterday or championships won more than 40 years ago carry little weight.

Michigan is better because it is in a better conference (Big Ten) and has had more relevance in the past 10 years.

Let's not compare Big Ten football and basketball with Pac-12 football and basketball right now.

That Michigan had a better coach in Beilein is something that even Rankman concedes.

But then Rankman closes the deal with his own words: UCLA, through its own bureaucratic incompetence, tightwad polices and search committee misfires, has surely scared off coaches who could have long ago won NCAA title No. 12 and 13.

There it is.

The UCLA of here and now is broken. Michigan, under Beilein was and is better.

Again, we will let Rankman offer the defense of that statement. "It is quite possible that Michigan basketball WAS John Beilein.

UCLA settled for Cronin, who was a good, not a great coach at Cincinnati. He will make UCLA better, but how much better is very much a question mark.

Michigan must find a replacement for Beilein.

Michigan AD Warde Manuel and the search committee he has hired have begun the process.

We are not optimistic, which could make a case for Rankman. But if we were in charge, we would do what UCLA failed or ignored to do.

We would start by contacting Villanova coach Jay Wright and offer him a five year contract without numbers, telling Wright he can start with $6 million a year and go from there.

Wright is clearly the best candidate out there, but getting him out of Philadelphia may be difficult at any price.

After that, here is a list of what we would do.

  1. We would make a run at Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, who has had the right stuff for years.
  2. We would make a run at Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose West coast allegiance is as strong as Wright's, but is worth exploring.
  3. We would check the NBA for some talent that wants to move back into college coaching.
  4. We would also take close look at Washington coach Mike Hopkins, whose basketball pedigree is outstanding and has done nice things in Seattle.

If none of those scenarios work out, we will be prepared to say that Rankman may have a point.

But right now, Rankman is wrong and it's not even close.

The Michigan job is better than most and definitely better than the job in Bruinland.


Mark Blaudschun