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Herrmann leaves Michigan for the NY jets


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Herrmann leaves U-M for the NFL

Defensive coordinator will coach linebackers for the N.Y. Jets, says heart will stay with Wolverines.

Angelique S. Chengelis / The Detroit News

Jim Herrmann said he will always be a Michigan man, but the oft-maligned defensive coordinator is leaving his alma mater to begin work Monday as linebackers coach for the New York Jets.

Herrmann's decision to leave the Wolverines after 20 years on the coaching staff, including the last nine as defensive coordinator, ends the considerable speculation that had been swirling around coach Lloyd Carr's staff since the Alamo Bowl.

"It's an exciting move," said Herrmann, who earned three letters playing linebacker for Michigan beginning in 1980. "It's something I've wanted to do for a while. My life is here (in Ann Arbor), and I'll always be a Michigan man. Deep down on a Saturday afternoon, I know where my heart is.

"But this is something I've always dreamt of, something I've always wanted to do."

Although Herrmann, who won The Broyles Award in 1997 as the nation's top assistant after Michigan won a share of the national title, felt increasing heat from fans and media the last few seasons, Carr said he never felt outside pressure to make changes on his staff.

Carr, whose team is coming off a 7-5 season, the program's worst since 1984, is well-noted for never bowing to negative public sentiment.

He was asked if he ever considered demoting Herrmann.

"No," he said, flatly. "(Herrmann) is a great football coach and a great person. I hate to lose him, but it's something he has wanted to do. He's got a great career in front of him, and he'll do a great job in the NFL, just as he did at Michigan."

The departure of Hermann, 45, opened the door for Ron English.

English, 37, had accepted a job last week to join the Chicago Bears as defensive backs coach, the position he had held at Michigan the last three seasons.

But English never joined the Bears. He was promoted to U-M's defensive coordinator Thursday when it became clear Herrmann was leaving for the Jets.

"I was in a position where I didn't want to lose either of them, and yet I knew Ron had a job offer and I knew Jim was going to have one," Carr said. "I wanted to try to keep them both."

Terry Malone, the offensive coordinator the last four seasons, is gone. Malone is coaching tight ends for the New Orleans Saints. Mike DeBord, Michigan's offensive coordinator from 1997-1999, has been promoted to that job.

Meanwhile, quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler reiterated last week that he is not pursuing jobs in the NFL and remains on the Wolverines' staff.

Carr said he has two openings on the defensive staff, including linebackers -- graduate assistant Sam Sword, who coached outside linebackers last season, has left coaching -- and he is making changes with how he has handled the recruiting coordinator's job. Two of the last three recruiting coordinators, DeBord and Bobby Morrison, have run recruiting and coached special teams. Bill Sheridan handled recruiting coordination and the defensive line.

Herrmann said the timing was right to move to the NFL.

"The pieces fell together at the right time," he said.

The Jets, 4-12 last season, are building for the future. First-year coach Eric Mangini is 35 and a veteran of 11 years in the NFL as a defensive coach. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the son of San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, is 32, and the Jets general manager is Mike Tannenbaum, 36.

Herrmann, who endorses English as Michigan's defensive coordinator calling him "exceptional", reports to the Jets Monday for his first staff meeting.

"They say it's the pinnacle of sports on the professional level," Herrmann said of NFL coaching. Herrmann's departure from Michigan, he said, is bittersweet. His family will remain in Ann Arbor the next year while his daughter, Jessica, finishes high school.

"This place will always have a place in my heart," Herrmann said. Every Saturday afternoon, I'll be preparing for a game, but deep down I'll be pulling for the Wolverines."

Thoughts?

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Herrmann's future is unclear. He has been at U-M as a graduate assistant or full-time coach for 20 years and was defensive coordinator when the Wolverines won the 1997 national championship. Michigan led the nation in total defense and scoring defense that season. But the defense hasn't been as strong in recent years, and Herrmann, 45, has come under criticism.

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I'm a pretty big Michigan fan and I've got to say I've always liked the style of defense he's run the last 5 or 6 years and the players they have brought in. The linebackers always seem to play well at Michigan and he will be working with Hobson who he coached and coached well at his time at Michigan.

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