ORLANDO, Fla. – Once the final seconds ticked off the clock on arguably the biggest upset of the college bowl season so far, the Michigan sideline erupted.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was immediately swarmed by media. The Wolverine players sprinted over to the Michigan band. Lost among the mayhem were the assistant coaches, many of whom were coaching their last game at Michigan.
There was quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who jumped into the arms of one of his colleagues following the win.
Teary-eyed defensive coordinator Ron English, who announced he would take the same position at Louisville next season, took a second to share an embrace with offensive line coach Andy Moeller on his way to the locker room.
English said he decided to take the Louisville job late Monday night. He added he never likes to wait around and is excited for the opportunity to turn around the Cardinals’ defense.
English was in his second season as the Wolverines defensive coordinator, having served as Michigan’s secondary coach the previous three years.
“I’ve never been that kind of guy that’s looking for a job,” English said. “It was a good opportunity, and I’m excited about it.”
Many wondered about the future of Carr’s staff after Rich Rodriguez was hired as the next Michigan coach on Dec. 17.
Rodriguez said in his introductory press conference that he would bring several of his assistants with him from West Virginia, including offensive coordinator Calvin Magee and secondary coach/ recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson. Rodriguez also added he would consider rehiring some of the current assistants to smooth the transition.
Two days later, Rodriguez fired all nine assistant coaches after meeting with each of them briefly.
Since then, Rodriguez has only rehired running backs coach Fred Jackson, the longest-tenured assistant (16 years). The futures of most others have yet to be determined.
Some speculated Rodriguez would also retain wide receivers coach Erik Campbell, defensive line coach Steve Stripling and Loeffler, but Loeffler’s comments after the game seemed to suggest his immediate future won’t include staying in Ann Arbor.
“I love coaching football, and I’m going to miss coaching at Michigan,” Loeffler said. “This place is special.”
Loeffler has been Carr’s quarterback coach for the past six seasons and helped establish a pipeline of Michigan quarterbacks into the NFL.
But with Rodriguez bringing in a spread offense that usually relies on a mobile quarterback, Loeffler’s tutelage of dropback passers would not have been a good fit.
Still, the Michigan graduate would like to return to his roots at some point in his coaching career.
“I want to come back to Michigan someday,” Loeffler said. “It’s my home, it’s what I know.”
Campbell, who has served under Carr for 13 seasons and also played for the Wolverines, seems the most likely to return to the Wolverines. The former Michigan cornerback and wide receiver has developed All-Americans like Braylon Edwards, David Terrell and Marquise Walker.
But Campbell’s only concern after the game was making sure he could take in the moment.
“Nobody knows the future,” Campbell said. “We’re just going to sit back and enjoy this moment. We’ll worry about the future later on.”
As for Stripling secondary coach Vance Bedford and linebackers coach Steve Szabo, they all said they don’t know what they’ll be doing next year.
Prior to this season, Carr had his assistants’ contracts extended to two-year agreements, ensuring they would be paid through February 2009.