Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Michigan Man for a Michigan Team: Brady Hoke Hired as New Head Coach

After news spread that Les Miles would be staying at LSU for a seventh season, Michigan quickly named San Diego State coach and former Michigan assistant Brady Hoke as the new head coach for the Wolverines. Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon released a statement on the hire:
"We are pleased to announce the hiring of Brady. He is a terrific coach and will be a great ambassador and leader for our football program. We look forward to having him build a championship program on the field and in the classroom."
Here's my thought on the whole coach-hiring debacle: it was botched, in a word. Statements were out that former coach Rich Rodriguez was fired, then David Brandon said he wasn't, and then less than 24 hours later, he was. After that, every Michigan fan wanted former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh underneath their Christmas tree a little late with a big maize and blue bow on top. But that fell to the wayside pretty quickly, as reports were released that Harbaugh was either staying at Stanford or going to the NFL (he ultimately took the coaching position with the San Fransisco 49ers).

After we knew Harbaugh wasn't our man, the grass-eater Les Miles came into the picture. I'm not really sure where this went wrong, but it definitely did. Les Miles was reported as saying that if Michigan offered him the job, he would take it. But earlier today, Les Miles announced he would be staying in Baton Rouge. That has Michigan Fail written all over it (not that I was the biggest proponent of his arrival in Ann Arbor, but nonetheless...)

Michigan and AD Brandon were frantic after this announcement, and almost immediately announced Brady Hoke as Michigan's new coach -- keeping their "Michigan man for a Michigan team" promise. Hoke is a former Michigan defensive assistant for 8 seasons and was on the staff during the 1997 National Championship. After those eight seasons, he began his head coaching career at Ball State and then moved to San Diego State for the last 2 seasons and was also named the Mountain West Conference's Coach of the Year after leading his team to a 9-4 season and a bowl win against Navy.

There are people upset about Hoke's hire, and I'm just not sure why other than the fact that Brandon needed to get his ducks in a row a lot faster and a lot better than he did.  Keeping the coaching staff within the Michigan traditions means that Hoke will never have to answer questions like "Do you know how important the Ohio State game is?" or "Do you love all of the tradition this school has?". Another major difference between Hoke and Rodriguez is that while Rodriguez came to Michigan with an impressive legacy, Hoke has to make his in Ann Arbor. But give the guy a chance.

I recommend he starts with firing defensive coordinator Greg Robinson ASAP. As a former defensive assistant, I hope he is as appalled as the rest of us with his recent performance under Rich Rodriguez. I also recommend he do his absolute best to hold on to our golden boy Denard Robinson. He gave us any faith we had in our team this season; don't let him go.

A Michigan man for a Michigan team. Hoke, let's get it done. Go Blue.

Update: I was just informed that Greg Robinson was fired with Rich Rodriguez, along with all of the other assistant coaches. Time for a fresh start.

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