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Head Coach John Paul Will Not Return To The University Of Michigan In 2018.

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Big day in Ann Arbor.

2007 Rose Bowl: USC v Michigan Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

As first tipped off by @InYourFaceLax (Ed. Note: Source GAWD), today was a big day for the University of Michigan.

Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan's Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics, today announced that men's lacrosse head coach John Paul and women’s lacrosse head coach Jennifer Ulehla will not return next season.

Paul, a Michigan grad, had been Michigan’s club head coach for 14 years, before guiding the program into a varsity sport in 2012. He posted a 23-61 record in his six years as head coach, but Michigan did finish 2017 with an 8-6 record and, presently, has a 21 RPI ranking. While those were significant accomplishments, Manuel noted that in his view it was time for a change.

"We are extremely grateful to John for his personal and professional investment in helping to build the varsity lacrosse program," said Manuel. "John has invested over two decades in the growth of lacrosse at the University of Michigan, and we owe a debt of gratitude to John for getting the men's lacrosse team to this point. Building a program is no easy task, and, through his efforts, we are in position to take another step competitively on the national level."

Coach Paul commented about the news on Twitter this afternoon.

Coach Ulehla was Michigan’s head coach for the last four years, but was hired back in 2011 to help guide the program to varsity status. Her four-year record at Michigan was 20-49 (.290) overall, including a 1-21 (.045) mark in conference play.” Manuel’s comments on Ulehla were brief.

"After evaluating our women's lacrosse program, I have determined that a change is necessary at this time," said Manuel. "We are thankful to Jenny for her efforts in starting the program and wish her success in the future."

The Michigan announcement kick-started the 2017 Coaching Carousel. BOSS Shillinglaw of Delaware announced in the beginning of the year that he was retiring after the 2017 season, so we had that in the system already. However, the Michigan job is massive news and was definitely a surprise.

College Crosse Coaching Carousel 2017.

School Former BOSS New BOSS
School Former BOSS New BOSS
Delaware Bob Shillinglaw
Michigan John Paul

There’s already plenty of banter on Twitter about who Michigan should go after. I tend to agree with our man Jake that Michigan wants to make a big move, and has the name, investment (Michigan lacrosse will move into the new South Competition and Performance Complex next season, which also includes a comprehensive sport performance and locker room facilities), and money to get a significant name.

I think you can cross off some names because of either age (Desko at Syracuse, Dano at Duke, and Tierney at Denver), and others because they are already in good situations (Tambroni at PSU, Myers at OSU, Tillman at MD, Breschi at UNC, and Tiffany at UVA), but other than those names, I think everyone else out there is a potential hire for Michigan. That includes Corrigan, Starsia and Petro. While Starsia is definitely on the older side, he has indicated that he would be open to returning to coaching if the right opportunity came up.

“If I could describe the perfect situation for me, I don’t even know what that would be because moving away from here is so difficult to imagine,” he said. “… Our situation is different now with the girls settled in this place where they live. So it would be hard to imagine moving them and it would be hard to imagine moving away from them. But at the same time, I feel good, and I think I still have the energy and the enthusiasm for coaching, and if there was a way we could try to put it together, we would probably think about it some. I just don’t even know what that would be at the present moment.”

My Petro Tweet was slightly in jest, but there is some truth to it. I think Michigan is a game changer kind of job opening, and almost every coach out there will pick up the phone to see what AD Manuel has to say. Even coaches who are safe in their jobs and don’t want to leave will use it as leverage to level up their compensation packages.

We saw it happen last summer as several coaches renegotiated their contracts after reports came out that they talked to Princeton or UVA about their vacancies last year. Whether Amplo, Shay, or Nadelen had any real intentions of leaving for Princeton/UVA, the mere fact their names were mentioned about those jobs, helped them get better deals at their present school. (Ed. Note: “Marquette in contract talks with Joe Amplo,” “Shay signs contract extension,” “Leonard said he is working with Nadelen to give assistant coaches raises and provide the staff with roomier office space as well as other requests.”)

I don’t think Tiffany was planning on leaving Brown at the end of last season, but then UVA offered him more money than they were paying Starsia and now Tiffany is in Charlottesville. I’m not saying money is the only factor, but I am saying that life comes at you fast and I can easily see a scenario where Michigan makes an offer to a coach that his school can’t/wont match, and then a name we all thought wouldn’t ever leave is suddenly on a plane to Ann Arbor.

What we saw last year was nothing. Michigan’s a bigger job than Princeton, and in my opinion has the potential to be bigger than UVA. The school has invested millions into their program, they play in one of the two best conferences in D1 lacrosse, they have the Big Ten Network, and the school is probably one of the top 3-5 brands in college athletics; if I were Manuel, I would definitely be dreaming pretty big right about now.

My wish list if I were Michigan.

  1. Petro: This is a legit fear I’ve had since 2012. Our alums are insane and I wouldn’t blame Petro if he walked.
  2. Marr: I think Marr could easily turn Michigan into a top 10 team in short order. What he has done at Albany has been nothing short of remarkable, and I think the sky’s the limit if he had Michigan's resources.
  3. Charlie Toomey: Has a ring and two Final Four trips. He seems happy at Loyola and probably has job security for the next decade and a half at the very least, but Michigan could be too big of a job to ignore if the offer was right.
  4. Andy Shay: Since 2000, the Ivy League has seen 5 major coaches leave for other programs, namely, Petro, Tambroni, Tierney, Tillman, & Tiffany. I could easily see Shay being the 6th.
  5. Nadelen: I think Michigan could probably get a bigger name, but I think Nadelen would be a major coup. He’s young and has demonstrated success at a program with significantly less resources than Michigan. He didn’t leave last year despite Princeton calling, but Michigan’s a bigger job.

Who do you think Michigan (or Delaware) should go after? Let us know in the comments.