Michigan fires Rodriguez after three seasons

DETROIT (Reuters) - The University of Michigan has fired football coach Rich Rodriguez after a three-year stay marred by losing records and NCAA violations.

Rodriguez had a 15-22 record and went 6-18 in Big Ten Conference play. His team lost 52-14 to Mississippi State in this season's Gator Bowl.

"I met with coach Rodriguez this morning and informed him of my decision to relieve him of his responsibilities and to pursue new leadership for our football program," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told a news conference in Ann Arbor.

"I believe this is the best decision for the future of Michigan football."

Brandon said Rodriguez "faced many challenges and difficulties over his three years" at Michigan, one of the highest-profile college football schools in the nation.

"Rich Rodriguez is a good man," Brandon said. "None of us are pleased with the results that we have achieved over the last three seasons.

"But I don't believe this was a result of lack of effort."

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in November reprimanded Michigan and put the school on probation for three years.

It said the program and Rodriguez had violated NCAA rules governing practice hours and limits on the number of coaches.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Steve Ginsburg)