Can Michigan find a coach to unite fans?

First and foremost, it's about fixing the product on the field. Anyone who watched Michigan knows there's a lot to repair between the lines.

But Michigan's new coach also must get to work on uniting a massive fan base through what could be several more lean years in terms of wins and losses. Michigan fans were divided when Rich Rodriguez arrived as coach, stayed divided during his rocky three-year tenure and remain divided after the school fired Rodriguez on Wednesday.

"We have been divided to a large extent and we continue to be divided based on all of the various opinions and inputs that I get," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in announcing Rodriguez's termination. "If we want to be successful -- if we want to be successful as a football program, as an athletic department and we want our university to really represent what we are all about -- we need to rally around our new coach. Don't find fault, don't make hasty judgments before they arrive on campus.

"What we need to do is rally around our coach, support him and do everything we can do to help him be successful. I hope that's what our fans and alums and all of the folks who are connected with Michigan are prepared to do."

Brandon knows there's no way to earn consensus approval with Rodriguez's replacement.

But is there a coach who can bring together much of Michigan's fan base?

Yes. His name his Jim Harbaugh. And he seems a lot more interested in going to the NFL than returning to his alma mater, although the situation could change quickly.

Harbaugh has the charisma, the Michigan ties and the recent track record of success to earn fans' confidence even if the team takes a step back or two before going forward. But he's probably not coming to Ann Arbor.

What about the others? Les Miles? Brady Hoke? Gary Patterson?

I can't see Michigan's entire fan base getting behind any of these guys from the start, but Hoke might get the most support. Although Miles is more accomplished at the highest level, he's somewhat of a lightning rod and spawns a lot of different opinions. I think a guy like Patterson would be fantastic at Michigan, but like Rodriguez, he's an outsider who does most of his recruiting in Texas.

Hoke's drawback is he hasn't won at the highest level, but a lot of coaches can make the jump and have success. Brandon even identified Ohio State's Jim Tressel as a perfect example.

"Is Tressel a bad coach?" Brandon said of the former longtime Youngstown State coach. "I think he seems to be doing pretty well down there, at least against us."

Smart Michigan fans would research how Hoke turned around two downtrodden programs at Ball State and San Diego State. He certainly understands the Michigan culture as a former Wolverines assistant. And he would embrace the task of trying to restore Michigan to elite status.

I know a lot of Michigan fans read the blog, so what do you think? Besides Harbaugh, is there a candidate who can repair a (big) house divided?