ORLANDO, Fla. -- Newly hired Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez watched the Capital One Bowl from the sideline in the first half
and a private box after halftime at the Citrus Bowl on Tuesday,
trying not to be a distraction on retiring coach Lloyd Carr's final
"This is not my bowl," Rodriguez said before the Wolverines
faced Florida (No. 12 BCS, No. 9 AP). "I've not earned this position. I
appreciate the interest in the new coach and all that, but this
should be about coach Carr and what he's brought in the 13 years at
"I know he's worked hard to try to win this ballgame, but his
legacy is set and I'm just here to support him and the team," he said.
Rodriguez said he was caught off guard by all the hard feelings
left behind at West Virginia, his alma mater and the place he spent
the last seven seasons. He led the Mountaineers to four Big East
championships and a 60-26 record.
"It's been difficult and it's been a little disappointing to be
honest with you," he said. "A lot of folks have been terrific.
The players have been terrific. A lot of the big boosters and
supporters have been terrific.
"But it's been a little disappointing with some of the things
with the administration and some of the fans. The fans are just
venting at times. But the scope of the animosity caught me a little
bit off guard. But heck, I'm in a great place. I'm all right," he said.
West Virginia's Board of Governors sued Rodriguez to
collect a $4 million buyout, saying they believe Rodriguez doesn't
intend to abide by the contract.
The suit surprised Rodriguez.
"I was obviously disappointed to read in the paper and see on
the news I was getting sued," he said. "I don't think that's
normal. That's not normal protocol, I didn't think. Imagine my
shock watching the game at the hotel with my family and it comes
across that ticker, getting sued for $4 million. That wasn't a good
Rodriguez hopes to get the suit settled soon.
In Arizona for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, West Virginia president Michael
Garrison said the matter would be resolved quickly if Rodriguez
would "do what the contract says he should do and agree to pay the
buyout, but it's really in the hands of the courts right now and
we're pleased to see it move forward."
Rodriguez also expects to start settling into his new job in the coming
weeks. Recruiting, meeting with players and assembling his staff
top the list.
Rodriguez fired all of Carr's assistants two days after he was
hired at Michigan but then decided to rehire running backs coach Fred
He said it was possible that some of those assistants might
return, but he didn't make it sound likely.
"Obviously I'm very loyal to the staff I had at West
Virginia," Rodriguez said. "There'll be several of them coming
with me. Several others possibly from other schools."