I’ve never stepped foot in the state of Michigan, let alone on the University of Michigan campus so I have no idea what it means to be a “Michigan Man”. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that getting beat down annually by Jim Tressel, being overly emotional, and being able to recite Josh Groban lyrics on command doesn’t fit into that meaning. At least I hope that it doesn’t. Well, that’s what ol’ Rich Rod has been bringing to the table during his stay in Ann Arbor and it’s exactly what he brought to the team banquet.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, in the midst of swirling speculation about his job security, gave a stirring speech during the Wolverines’ annual banquet Thursday night.
Rodriguez, who briefly got choked up during his remarks, brought the crowd to its feet when he had singer Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” played. Rodriguez locked hands with his wife, Rita, and the long two rows of players and administrators did the same.
Awww, that’s sweet.
The annual banquet honors the Michigan seniors and awards are given out — sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson was named the MVP — but Rodriguez’s speech was definitely the most notable of the evening.
“I got into coaching so we could make a difference,” Rodriguez said. “The kids raise us up as coaches. There are times we are down, we’re thinking about, ‘Geez, is this worth it? Is this worth it for your family?”
Rodriguez paused, and took a sip of water as he gathered himself.
“So when you think (during) those times, you start to feel sorry for yourself a little bit …”
No, no, no. Don’t throw up just yet. He hasn’t even started quoting Josh Groban lyrics.
He spoke about Groban’s song and read some of the lyrics to the crowd.
“It may seem kind of cheesy, sappy, what have you,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been listening to it the last couple of weeks and kind of gets the mood we’re in right now.”
Rodriguez then had the song played for the crowd and asked they listen to the words.
After the conclusion of the song and the applause had quieted, Rodriguez made a final statement.
“My name is Rich Rodriguez. I’m honored to be the head coach at the University of Michigan,” he said. “I hope you realize I truly want to be a Michigan man.”
And there you have it, Rich Rodriguez’s plea to bring Ann Arbor a 7-5 team for years to come.