The Michigan Head Coaching position is one of the best gigs in all of College Football. Michigan has a long and storied history but recently it's fallen on hard times. From 1969 to 1989 Bo Schembechler won 79% of his games and won 13 Conference Titles in 21 years. Lloyd Carr won 5 Conference Titles in 13 years, and a National Championship, but began to tail off towards the end of his run (and the fact that he lost 6 of his last 7 games to rival Ohio State did not help) and ended up "retiring."
Being the Head Coach at Michigan is serious business. The Wolverines brought in Rich Rodriguez from West Virginia thinking that he would take the Big Ten by storm with his offensive acumen. In his 3rd year at the helm, Rich Rod's offense did finally take off (placing 13th in the Nation in rushing yards, 36th in passing yards and 25th in points per game). But unfortunately, the defense that was put on the field never gave the Wolverines a chance to win a big game. Rich Rod finished his 3rd year with a 15-22 mark, the worst winning percentage in Michigan history. So who would replace Rich Rod?
There was a great discussion a week or two ago on the fantastic Barnhardt & Durham show (airs on 790 the zone in Atlanta 10am to 1pm) that discussed the Michigan coaching position. The take was that they needed a larger than life persona to take over and be successful at Michigan. A guy like a Nick Saban or an Urban Meyer (not that those guys were mentioned in connection with the job...but those types of guys), a guy that would be in complete control of the program from the out-set. Maybe I'm taking it out of context or I'm mis-remembering (too many steroids when I was pitching for the Red Sox) but that's who they thought Michigan needed. A guy like Jim Harbaugh. Well, Harbaugh ended up in the NFL and Michigan went out and hired Brady Hoke.
Wait a minute? Who is Brady Hoke? Hoke is, believe it or not, a man who coached under Lloyd Carr. Remember Carr, the guy that was pushed into "retiring"? Kind of a strange hire for such a prestigious position at one of the elite College Football franchises. But I'm not here to bash Brady Hoke. He could turn out to be a great coach for Michigan and a great hire. Hell, look at Gene Chizik. Everybody hated that hire and look at it now. Brady Hoke has been a Head Coach at Ball State and San Diego State. At Ball State he went 34-38 but did go 12-1 in his final year. At San Diego State he went 13-12 going 9-4 last year. As a Head Coach he is 47-50 overall. For one of the most prestigious coaching jobs in College Football it's weird that they settled went with a guy who hasn't even won half of the games he coached (and at schools that were not in a BCS Conference). It sounds like I'm trying to bash the guy but really I'm just listing his record and scratching my head a little. But hey, that Gene Chizik guy was 5-19 at Iowa State.
Just like we did with the Steve Adazzio hire at Temple I decided to get some input from some bloggers around that country that might be a little closer to the situation that I am. Here is what they had to say:
Todd Kaufmann (Columnist for Sports Page Dallas and an expert on all things San Diego):
As for coaching I think he can do this. He seems to be willing to give his life away just so Michigan can get back to being Michigan. He has passion and I think his defense and offenses will be very flexible. Something that killed RR chances at Michigan. Is he Jim Harbaugh? No that would have gave Michigan instant "sexy" with the nation and recruits but this is a very solid hire. Better than Miles imo. Miles was just to damn old and shady. That's not a combo you want going forward. Michigan fans need to give full support. We can't have these "ahhh Hoke hasn't done enough for this job" etc etc. We need to learn from our mistakes by not giving RR a fair shake from the start. It killed the last three years. Some major bloggers are crying about the hire but I am someone that gives people chances. The sexy name didn't work with RR and now we went out and got a guy who will work until he falls over to make Michigan great again. Count me in.