Adam Braithwaite was promoted last season to Safety coach after spending the previous two seasons as a staff assistant. After the Rich Rodriguez was let go, Braithwaite moved on to Christopher Newton University to be their new defensive coordinator. In a recent interview Braithwaite spoke about his time at Michigan:
Q: Michigan (where Rodriguez went 15-22 in three tumultuous seasons that included allegations that the program exceeded NCAA limits on practice time) being a case in point. What was that whole experience like for you?
A: Like everything, it’s a learning experience. It was a delayed reaction. I’d say we may be the only staff ever to get fired after a bowl game (the Wolverines lost 52-14 to Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl). So that was difficult in a lot of ways, from dealing with our players to dealing with recruiting and then the actual job search once you were without work.
Q: Things seemed to go so quickly from the optimism that surrounded Rodriguez when he arrived at Michigan (in 2007 from West Virginia) to the turmoil of his last months on the job. How did you deal with that as a member of his staff?
A: There were a lot of expectations going into that, and a lot of excitement in going to a place like Michigan. It just goes to show you that coaching is not an exact science, and there are a lot of factors that go into winning and losing, and the difference between winning and losing can be some small things. There’s a lot of moving parts in football, and you have to have the majority of them working together, or things aren’t going to go right. We were disappointed with the ending. We felt like things were going in the right direction, but that’s the way it goes at that level.
Q: You also worked with Rodriguez, from 2005-06, at West Virginia (which on Friday accepted sanctions, including two years’ probation, after the NCAA ruled that ex-head coaches Rodriguez and Bill Stewart failed to monitor their staffs). Is Rodriguez (now a CBS analyst) someone you still believe in? Do you think he’ll coach again?
A: I think you’ll definitely see Coach again. He’s the ultimate competitor, and he’s not going to be out of coaching for long if he can help it. I do believe in what he did and respect him a lot and am grateful for everything that he’s done for me.
You have to appreciate how much Braithwaite truly cared for Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Football team last season, but the question that can’t be avoided is whether or not the position came to him to fast to soon. When the spot on the staff opened, fans clamored nationally for many highly regarded coaches. But with Rodriguez clinging to his spot as head coach, no top assistant would come to Ann Arbor. How hard Rodriguez actually tried to go outside his current staff to hire a new coach is a debatable issue to say the least. We here wish Adam Braithwaite and Rich Rodriguez the best in their future endeavors. And please no more awkward Brady Hoke signing day interviews by Rich Rodriguez.
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