Rich Rodriguez is in his third season as head coach of the nation's all-time winningest football program. Rodriguez was announced as the 18th head coach in U-M football history on Dec. 17, 2007. He is just the 11th head coach in the 107 years since Fielding H. Yost made his debut in 1901.
Rodriguez arrived at Michigan after spending seven years as head coach at West Virginia University where he led the Mountaineers to a 60-26 record, four Big East titles and six consecutive bowl game bids. In 2005, he was named to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees.
Following a 10-2 (5-2 Big East) season in 2007 in which his team won the Big East title and a BCS berth, Rodriguez was named the AFCA Region I co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski. It was Rodriguez's second such honor after being recognized by the AFCA in 2003. He was a finalist for the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, which honors the college football coaches who best exemplify responsibility and excellence on and off the field. Rodriguez was also the 2003 and 2005 Big East Coach of the Year.
Under Rodriguez's guidance, WVU claimed four Big East championships in five years (2003, `04, `05, `07) and recorded three consecutive seasons (2005-07) with double-digit victories for the first time in school history. The Mountaineers recorded at least eight wins in each of his last six seasons, and from 2002-07, accumulated a record of 57-16, winning 78.1 percent of their games.
In 2006, the Mountaineers finished 10th in the national polls at 11-2 behind a pair of All-Americans and the Big East Player of the Year. In 2004 and 2005, Rodriguez's teams claimed conference titles, as the 2005 squad went on to record WVU's first BCS victory, a 38-35 upset over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
The Mountaineers rattled off seven straight wins in 2003 to post a 6-1 mark in conference play and tie Miami for the Big East title, while earning a second straight bowl berth. In 2002, Rodriguez engineered the greatest turn-around in Big East history, taking his 2001 team from a 1-6 record in league play to 6-1 the following year. West Virginia finished second in the nation in rushing in 2002 (283 ypg) and ranked fourth nationally in turnover margin.
Prior to accepting the West Virginia job on Nov. 26, 2000, Rodriguez served as offensive coordinator and associate head coach for Tommy Bowden at Clemson in 1999 (6-6) and 2000 (9-3). He spent the previous two years, 1997 and '98, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Bowden at Tulane where he helped lead the Green Wave to a 19-4 mark. After a 7-4 record in 1997, Rodriguez helped Tulane post an undefeated 1998 season (12-0) with the Conference USA championship and a victory over Brigham Young in the Liberty Bowl.
Rodriguez began his collegiate head coaching career at the NAIA/Division II level at Salem (1988) and Glenville State College (1990-96). In between both head coaching stops, Rodriguez was a volunteer assistant coach for the Mountaineers' outside linebackers in 1989.
At Glenville State, his teams won or shared four consecutive West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles (1993-96). Rodriguez was named the WVIAC Coach of the Year in 1993 and '94, as well as the NAIA Coach of the Year after leading his 1993 team to a national runner-up finish. He was also recognized by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association as the state College Coach of the Year for all sports in 1993. Rodriguez led the Pioneers to the national playoffs twice and posted a 43-28-2 record during his seven seasons. In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Rodriguez served as Glenville's athletic director in 1995-96, and was inducted into the Glenville Hall of Fame in 2003.
Rodriguez's players set five national career records for Division II. Three Pioneers received the WVIAC Player of the Year honors in succession: Jed Drenning in 1992-93, Chris George in 1994 and Scott Otis in 1995.
The secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Salem International University (now Salem College) in 1986, Rodriguez was then promoted to assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the 1987 season. He became the youngest college football head coach in the country at 24 when Salem appointed him in 1988. He posted a 2-8 record during his first season as head coach. Unfortunately, Rodriguez's tenure didn't last long as the school was bought out one year later and the football program was dissolved prior to the 1989 season.
A member of West Virginia's 1981-84 teams, Rodriguez was a three-year letterwinner (1982-84) as a defensive back for Don Nehlen; Nehlen served as an assistant coach at U-M for Bo Schembechler from 1977-79. The Mountaineers posted a 26-10 record in those three years and made three bowl appearances: the 1982 Gator Bowl (lost to Florida State, 31-12); the 1983 Hall of Fame Bowl (defeated Kentucky, 20-16); and the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl (defeated TCU, 31-14).
Rodriguez earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and safety from West Virginia in 1986, and added a master's degree in physical education from Salem in 1987.
A native of Grant Town, W.Va., in Marion County, Rodriguez grew up just five miles from the birthplace of U-M legendary coach Fielding Yost (Fairview, W.Va.). He is a 1981 graduate of North Marion High School, where he was a four-sport letterman and an all-state honoree in football and basketball, leading the Huskies to the 1980 Class AAA state football championship.
Rich and his wife, Rita, have two children, Raquel and Rhett.
Rodriguez's Head Coaching Record
|1993||Glenville State||10-3, WVIAC champion|
|1994||Glenville State||8-3, WVIAC champion|
|1995||Glenville State||8-2, WVIAC champion|
|1996||Glenville State||6-4, WVIAC champion|
|2001||West Virginia||3-8, 1-6|
|2002||West Virginia||9-4, 6-1||Continental Tire/L, 22-48 (Virginia)|
|2003||West Virginia||8-5, 6-1 Big East champion||Gator Bowl/L, 7-41 (Maryland)|
|2004||West Virginia||8-4, 4-2 Big East champion||Gator Bowl/L, 18-30 (Florida State)|
|2005||West Virginia||11-1, 6-0 Big East champion||Sugar Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia)|
|2006||West Virginia||11-2, 5-2||Gator Bowl/W, 38-35 (Georgia Tech)|
|2007||West Virginia||10-2, 5-2 Big East champion||Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma)|
NAIA/Division II (8 seasons): 45-36-2
Division I (8 seasons): 63-35
TOTAL (15 seasons): 108-71-2
Rodriguez at a Glance
Birthdate: May 24, 1963
High School: North Marion (W.Va.) High School ('81)
College: West Virginia (B.S., '86)
Children: Rhett, Raquel