A new era in Michigan football is beginning. We want to hear your thoughts about Michigan’s new head football coach Brady Hoke. E-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m excited. After watching Oregons gimmicky offense get shut down by a good defense, I am glad Michigan will get back to more of a power game. Not 3 yards and a cloud of dust but not reliant on one small QB to do everything. Killed Oregon. Lets use a form of the spread but incorporate it into a power pro style offense. Auburn and the SEC make it work. Michigan needs to too! Go Blue! Go Hoke!
Sounds solid; now let’s get on with it after 3 wasted years and see if we can salvage the 2011 season!!
Pure and simple, you lied to us. We’re your fellow alums. We’re your paying customers. We’re the fans of the football program that has known 131 years of near-constant success and you lied to us.
You promised a “national search”. Now you state that 2 of the 3 presumed candidates that you spoke to weren’t even offered the job. Your “national search” turned out to be one candidate whose sole qualifications (using the term loosely here) are a 47-50 overall record, two years of real success out of 8 as a head coach, and a few years as a position coach at Michigan. In other words, you had this planned all along and yet you claimed that you would be seeking the “best candidate” from among the many out there. There are many offensive and defensive coordinators in the major college ranks who haven’t yet been given their opportunity to be a head coach. There are a few more that have been head coaches in the past and now work as coordinators. Your new coach has never even been a coordinator and yet he was somehow qualified to become the coach at the University of Michigan based on a series of losing seasons and one genuinely successful one at a MAC school and a .500 record at an MWC school. When the University of Florida, which has won 2 national titles within the last 5 years, lost their successful coach to retirement, they immediately plucked Will Muschamp from Texas, a long-time coordinator with no head coaching experience. Their athletic director didn’t even bother to lie to his alumni and fans about a “national search”. He
simply found a highly-regarded candidate who had been coach-in-waiting at Texas for years. While there may be some dissension amongst the Gator fanbase, most were happy that Foley worked quickly and found a qualified person.
You, on the other hand, let our most recent coach twist in the wind for a month, deceived our fellow alumni and fans, kept our recruits and current players in the dark, and finally presented us with someone whom many regard as a candidate qualified only by his service under one Lloyd Carr; a “qualification” that many, including myself, find to be far more a negative than a positive. Were you not aware that Hoke was quoted recently disparaging the spread option offense as inadequate for the modern college game… despite the fact that said
offense is employed in one fashion or another by a significant number of successful Division 1-A teams and, most prominently, by the two that competed for the national title just last night? That same offense is now firmly embedded in the Michigan football program, which
led to our having one of the most productive offenses in the conference and the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year. And, yet, after waiting a month and watching our current recruiting class dwindle away, you bring in a coach who took five years to bring Ball
State to any level of success with less than a month to go before signing day and when most of the competent assistant coaches have already found other jobs (as many of Rodriguez’s staff already have)? Even if we put aside the falsehoods that you delivered to all of us, does your now-infamous “process” deliver any advantage whatsoever to your selected candidate? Or does it rather deposit him in a hole that he may not be able to dig out of in the next 3 months, much less the next three years? Do you think Michigan fans will tolerate a record of
performance that Hoke demonstrated during his first 3 years at Ball State, one not even as good as Rodriguez’s in his three years here?
Tangential to that topic, you spoke of emerging from the “middle of the pack” in terms of coaching compensation. Was that just another of your lies? How can we justify paying a salary at the “front of the pack” to someone with a 47-50 career record at smaller schools? How will you justify paying far more money to assistant coaches that will demonstrably be far more necessary? It looks like you’ve maneuvered this process to enable you to acquire a new coach on the cheap and are content to let the Michigan football program, long numbered among the elite in the nation, to settle to the level of “fairly successful” which it had largely settled to under Carr.
On that point, it was interesting to see you express some of your vitriol during the press conference following Rodriguez’s firing to our recent performance against Ohio State. I’m sure you remember our performance under Carr against the Buckeyes since Jim Tressel’s
arrival. If not, I’ll remind you: 1-5. And despite that pathetic display, your first and only candidate to replace Rodriguez is a former member of Carr’s staff. In other words, you decided that 0-3 wasn’t sufficient, so you’d rather return to what took place before…
which is 1-5. A simplification, to be sure, but it’s difficult to draw too many other conclusions from this event. In the basest of ways, 1-5 is, in fact, better than 0-3, of course. But not quite in the same way 40-17, the prior record of the coach Michigan hired from a MAC school,
is better than 47-50 (or, for that matter, 34-38, which is Hoke’s record solely at a MAC institution.)
One of your most fervent points of emphasis that you made at the press conference announcing Rodriguez’s removal is that the Michigan community had to “come together” behind whomever the new coach is. Yet your method of selecting this new coach involved lying to that same community and selecting a coach guaranteed to divide it, as he represents all of the limited innovation, stagnation, and conservative thinking that the Carr regime was reviled for by many of us, by his own admission. By selecting Hoke in such a deceitful manner, all you’ve done is guarantee that a significant portion of the fanbase both won’t support him and will no longer support you. I am now numbered among them. Despite my desire for an athletic director who actually had “athletic director experience” (to paraphrase you), I supported your selection and recent activity based on feedback I received from people I know within the athletic department and elsewhere in the university. The external (occasionally quite literally) manifestations of that activity in the form of permanent lights and Michigan’s first ever night game at the stadium were very welcome. The stories filtered out that you had made some effort to correct the organizational difficulties within the department and were removing the deadwood that contributed to the sabotaging of coach Rodriguez. These were all positive signs that you were a forward-looking person and intent on setting the football program on a course of advancement into a new world.
But when it came time to make the most important decision of all, a new head coach, you did so via deceit and with a complete role reversal, by reverting to the so-called “tried and true” aspect of Michigan football, demonstrated solely by attachment to a coach whose record of success had markedly declined by the end of his time here; hardly the way to engender unified support among the people that are, in the end, key to the success of your department: the people who pay the bills. They would be the people you just deceived and sharply disappointed, like me.
Consequently, my next effort in support of our football program will be to engender and support any effort that results in your speedy removal from the post of athletic director at the University of Michigan. Hardly the result you were hoping for, I’m sure, but actions do have consequences. Have a nice day.
Marc Reichardt, Michigan ’90
Michigan needed a hire that could win the perception battle. RR lost the perception battle within a week of being hired. RR was a media nightmare who spent 3 years fighting internal and external battles. Some of this was self induced, some not. Brady Hoke wanted to coach UM, he has a history with us and has rebuilt and retooled other schools. I fully expected to see the media torch this hire with negative stories this morning. The opposite occurred. His recruiting challenge is daunting but may be able to pull some late month surprises. I like Coach Hoke, from what I have read. My only concern is the damage done in waiting this long to hire a coach. I know we don’t know a 10th of the behind he scenes stuff, but this seemed more painful than it had to be if Coach Hoke was the choice all along.
Dave Brandon has shown toughness in a difficult situation. I’m confident he made the best out of the situation; he considered a multitude of candidates and chose the one best suited for the job today. He’s a businessman and this is how he works.
Brady Hoke is the correct choice because of his success in turning-around football programs. He is the correct choice because he relies on a stout defense and a smart offense. His Offensive Coordinator, Al Borges, is still in his prime after successful stints at UCLA and Auburn (including the 2004 13-0 season). He will assemble a group of like-minded and strong assistant coaches.
Hoke is also a great recruiter. He managed to bring highly recruited players to San Diego State and Ball State–two exceptionally unattractive/not sexy programs. He had great success as a recruiter at Michigan in the late 90s (including recruiting Tom Brady!). More importantly he succeeds at getting the most out of the players he has.
Players will follow Hoke. The fans will respect him. Former players will completely support him and the program.
Michigan will win and–most importantly–it will win with integrity.