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Published: Wednesday, 1/21/2009

UM hires Robinson as defensive coordinator

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Greg Robinson has an impressive resume as a defensive coordinator but went just 10-37 as the head coach at Syracuse. Greg Robinson has an impressive resume as a defensive coordinator but went just 10-37 as the head coach at Syracuse.
AL BEHRMAN / AP Enlarge

The man tapped to revive Michigan's wounded defense is known for his positive attitude - which he kept even after he was fired from his last job.

Wolverines coach Rich Rod-

riguez hired former Syracuse coach Greg Robinson to coordinate a defense that gave up the most points in school history in what was the program's worst season ever in 2008. UM announced the hiring yesterday.

Robinson, 57, is coming off a major disappointment of his own - going 10-37 in a four-year stint as the Orange's coach that ended last year. Ever the optimist, Robinson read from The Little Engine that Could in his farewell press conference with Syracuse.

Robinson's positive influence could help a UM defense that finished 10th in the conference in points allowed and ninth in yards allowed under former coordinator Scott Shafer. Prior to coaching the Orange, Robinson was co-defensive coordinator at Texas for a year and before that spent 14 seasons in the NFL, 10 as a coordinator.

"Greg brings a wealth of experience as a defensive coordinator, both at the collegiate and professional level," Rodriguez said in a written statement. "We are excited to have Greg, Laura and their entire family join our Michigan family. I know that Greg will work well with our defensive staff, entire football staff, and players."

Robinson was at Senior Bowl practices yesterday in Mobile, Ala., and was not available for comment, a UM spokesman said. He is coming from the school that hired Shafer - Syracuse - after Shafer resigned from Rodriguez's staff in December.

Robinson is a good friend of Southern California coach Pete Carroll and played on the same football teams with him at Pacific.

He coached against UM in two Rose Bowls - in 2005 with Texas and 1983 Rose Bowl with UCLA - and his first game as coach at Syracuse was a 15-7 loss to Rodriguez's West Virginia Mountaineers.

Details of Robinson's compensation with the Wolverines were not available yesterday. He was paid $1.1 million annually with the Orange and had a year left on his contract. Shafer was paid $265,000 last season.

Robinson won two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998. He held the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets.

"He's a veteran coach with a wealth of knowledge who the players really respond to," Texas coach Mack Brown said in a statement. "His season here in 2004 produced one of the best defenses in Texas history and helped set the stage for our national championship season in 2005."

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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