Michigan athletic director Bill Martin announced that West Virginia's Rich Rodriguez is the Wolverines' new head coach in an e-mail to the
"I am thrilled to have Rich Rodriguez as Michigan's new coach," Martin wrote. "Rich brings an exciting brand of football to Michigan Stadium. We welcome the entire Rodriguez family to Ann Arbor."
Rodriguez, whose Mountaineers are preparing for the Jan. 2 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, will take over from Lloyd Carr who announced his retirement Nov. 19. Carr still plans to coach Michigan in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1 against Florida.
Michigan plans to introduce Rodriguez, 60-26 at West Virginia, this morning.
"It's a rough day," West Virginia cornerback Vaughn Rivers said. "Now we just have to pull together as a team and get ready for a bowl game."
Rodriguez informed his players before yesterday's practice.
Rodriguez's West Virginia contract, which runs through the 2013 season, has a $4 million buyout clause if he leaves before next September.
Associate head coach Bill Stewart and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee ran yesterday's brief practice; there was no immediate word on who would coach West Virginia against Oklahoma.
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin blamed the involvement of what he termed "high-priced agents" in college sports.
"I have known Rich for most of his life, from a boy whose only wish was to play football at WVU to a young man whose only wish was to coach at WVU," Manchin said in a statement. "His dreams came true and he brought back with him to West Virginia a love and a loyalty for our state." *