Michigan officials deny reports of Rodriguezs firing

University of Michigan officials deny multiple reports that the university fired head football coach Rich Rodriguez today after his third season with the program. “This is media speculation at this point,” Michigan officials told ESPN today. “The definitive voice on this matter is (Athletic Director) Dave Brandon and he has not, and will not, speak publicly until a final decision has been made.” Brandon told ESPN’s Desmond Howard that the university had not yet made a decision on the matter. Brandon met with Rodriguez for more than three hours this afternoon. These reports come on the heels of the Wolverine’s 52-14 loss to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl on Saturday. Rodriguez described his mood as “disappointed and frustrated” in his postgame press conference Saturday, but said that he was confident that he and his staff had given their best effort to the university. “One thing I’m proud of the players and the staff is we have not cheated the University of Michigan a day of work,” Rodriguez said during the press conference. “I wouldn’t allow it and I wouldn’t let our staff allow it.” In his three seasons as Michigan’s coach, Rodriguez compiled a 15-22 record, including a school-record nine losses in his first season, 2008. The Wolverines never defeated rivals Ohio State and Michigan State under Rodriguez, and his teams went 6-18 in Big Ten play. In 2010, Michigan’s defense ranked 108th in the country in points against, giving up an average of 35.2 points per game. Rodriguez’s time as Michigan’s coach has seen plenty of controversy, including the transfers of quarterback Ryan Mallett and offensive lineman Justin Boren. Mallett is the starting quarterback for Arkansas, OSU’s Sugar Bowl opponent. After transferring, Boren said in a statement that Michigan’s “family values have eroded” under Rodriguez. Before the start of the 2010 season, Michigan was put on three years of probation after being found guilty of practice and training violations. The violations marked the first time the Michigan program had ever been put on probation. Potential replacements for Rodriguez include former Michigan quarterback and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan offensive lineman and current LSU coach Les Miles and San Diego State coach Brady Hoke, according to recent reports.

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