Sunday, December 09, 2007

Finding the Level

I'm going to do something very strange in the realm of a college coaching search. As a fan, I'm going to ask people collectively to calm down.

Now, I know, that immediately casts suspicion on me as a). an apologist, b). a Bill Martin lackey, or c). completely dispassionate with regard to Michigan football. I can assure you, I am none of those things. But the problem is this: We, the alumni, the fans, the media, and anyone else you care to throw into that "we", want a resolution to this search because we want to KNOW. We want to know who shall be the steward of Michigan's program for the next few seasons. We want to know whom our autumn Saturdays shall be entrusted to, and we want to know to whom the awesome responsibility of maintaining the winning seasons and bowl streaks shall fall. We want to know because not knowing is one of the single worst feelings that we, as human beings, can experience. Because not knowing is the worst combination of hope and fear. We pounce on every rumor, every morsel, every third hand bit of gossip, every crazy conspiracy theory, because it's better than the nothing we have. So as we start to listen to all of those things, with little, if any, ability to judge the validity of the source's information and we start to panic. We get our ire up because we want an answer NOW. We want to stop looking like a laughing stock to the rest of the country. We want to know because even a bad choice is still a choice. So we're in a collective uproar, and I think we need to stop.

I want to trust Bill Martin. You don't get to his position in the business world by being dumb. But yes, I know, the world of intercollegiate athletics is not the same as the business world. Well, Martin's learning. Martin also is facing down several factions, each pulling him in different directions, all having some level of power over him, if not in reality, perceptually. So he must try and find a way to make this work, and right now he's kind of stuck. He'll get it right, I'm sure of it. It just may take some time. I'm so sure, in part because I want to believe he will. But I think the biggest factor here is, Martin needs to get some spin control out there. He needs to be talking to people and taking control of this situation, because the longer he lets the situation percolate without resolution, the worse the speculation becomes, and the hotter the temperature becomes. (Heck, even just saying Mike DeBord will not be the head coach next season would be a huge step towards turning the temperature down, but he can't do it for fear of offending Coach Carr.)

So, my friends, my fellow Michigan fans, I just suggest remaining calm. There's not a whole lot we can do right now, and there will be time enough for fretting when a decision has been made.

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