Nice look at what the coach has done.
Nice look at what the coach has done.
What about the pointing?!?
Great article--really enjoyed it. Captured what I believe a lot of us fans felt in the immediate aftermath of Brady's hire and ever since.
How do you think Borges injured his arm? Pointing with reckless abandon and no regard for your body is not for everyone.
I'm not sure how much control over his perception/status he really has, regardless of how he would want it perceived. The public has control of that.
I see your point. But, in the end, doesn't Hoke deflecting praise just add to his mystique?
It isn't like Paterno or Tressel ever did much of anything to draw attention to themselves (Paterno was completely boring, made less than his market value and gave much of it back to the school, and Tressel was about as bland as they come). They were also promptly and unceremoniously canned once their big indiscretions came to light (so kind of hard to argue they were bigger than the two schools).
If anything Coach Hoke is way more likely than those two to develop a cult of personality simply based on the fact that he actually has a personality.
I agree that the writer's line of reasoning is flawed. My anti-Ohio instincts compel me to point out, however, that Tressel was not "promptly... canned once [his] big indiscretions came to light." Maybe you could argue that they canned him promptly after the SI article surfaced, the article that was set to show that the violations went back to 2002 or the dinosaurs or something. But Ohio absolutely did not can him promptly after he was shown to have knowingly lied to his university, to the NCAA, and to the public about rules violations, nor did they can him promptly after he was shown to have knowingly played ineligible players. Instead, Ohio tried to do everything to keep their coach, first suspending him for two games, then for five games, in an effort to hold onto their icon. It was only after nearly half a year of Ohio testing the waters, floating trial punishment balloons, that the university finally got the picture: the public wasn't buying it, and Tressel had to go. If the public had bought it, Ohio gladly would have stuck with their lying, cheating, hypocritical coach.
Even at the end, OSU didn't fire him. He was allowed to retire.
100% agree. Out of the very, very few things that might warrant worry about Hoke, the possibility he'll consider himself more important than the University of Michigan is not on the list, and never will be.
I've said this before, and I still believe it: anybody who listens to Brady's plain-spoken and unassuming words and concludes that he's just an average guy no brighter than anybody else is fooling themselves. IMHO Hoke has unusual skills in connecting with, managing, and leading people. Not everybody can do what he does. What is especially remarkable to me is that I can't recall a single time when he's put his foot in his mouth, or has made a public misstep. He's hit the right note, every time.
The ultimate test of a man is not how he acts while succeeding, but what he does when things are going in the shitter, at least temporarily. Hoke hasn't yet had to deal with that situation yet, but I doubt that he'll fail the test.
And yet, here we are, on this very thread, making absolute claims about Hoke after fewer than two years as coach. Don't get me wrong; Hoke is a class act, and I'm not sure many of us could have imagined a better coach for Michigan right now. But he is still a man, and he is still fallible in any number of ways we might not even imagine, as are we all.
I do agree that this specter of Hoke becoming bigger than the university is an odd one to raise at this point in his career and doesn't really fit the rest of the article, but let's not pretend it could never happen.
If we go 8-4 in 2012—which is very possible, given our schedule—Hoke's fallibility will be a popular topic around here.
Sure, the record will probably be the predominant factor weighing on our minds ... but, I think we're thoughtful enough to give it a little more consideration if such a record were achieved. I mean, we're the same group who was optimistic about Rodriguez's eventual success if given enough time, aren't we? We will consider recruiting, schedule, etc. in our evaluation of next year's achievements. I'd love to win everything (& maybe we will! hooray optimism!), but I think I am going to be behind this coaching staff when it's all settled, barring cataclysmic disaster.
Hoke is turning the program around. Great recruiting and coaching will lead us back to being a consistent top 10 football program within a few years. I'm thinking this will be a 9-3 season, though with the tough schedule, 5 losses are possible.
In any event, it is comforting that we've returned to the level at which 8-4 is considered disastrous.
But I know a lot of REALLY smart people who think the world of Brady, and don't suffer fools. So there has to be more than him just being a nice guy for them to have so much faith in him.
And while it wasn't the long term, off-season pain that everyone has to go through at some point, I'd say after the 4th straight loss to MSU, followed up by Iowa not too long after that, things weren't all sunshine and roses heading into that November schedule. And I don't think you could find any way he acted particuarly different than he did before the losses, or after we rolled the rest of the season. If anything more than Bo, or Lloyd, or Rich, or even Mo', he seems to have an uncanny ability to keep things on an even keel no matter the situation. It's different from what I've seen from most coaches. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.
That he's always on an even keel is probably my favorite thing about Hoke. It's something I struggle with and I really admire anyone who can maintain that state as well as he can.
As many have pointed out, Hoke's reaction to the Hagerup miscue said a lot about how he handles adversity. I do agree that he hasn't had to face an 8-4 type of season. Probably at some point he will, but also, I think, most of the M fan base would rather have an 8-4 season with Brady than an (M)NC that we have to give back in a couple of years because of scandal.
Is he still angry Michigan whipped them?
More seriously, he's an academic who wants to control, reign in, and diminish sports. Because every really successful football coach is bigger than the program. Try firing a Bo. There's a reason Presidents say "I hope he just doesn't fire me." The difference between the ones that succeed with that power and don't quite often is whether they BELIEVE it or not. If they act like they are personally more important than the team, the team, the team, then there's worry about pitfalls. But as long as they know "no coach is bigger than the team" they can use that power for good rather than personal gain and gratification.
Holy cow, I think that's the first ever ESPN article I've seen where the comments didn't make me want to gouge my eyeballs out
Just wait...most Ohio fans have not woken up yet
There is a troll Irish fan spewing the buthurt.
Domers gonna dome.
Not sure if I've made it through enough of an ESPN article to read the comments.
" 'Guys, I want to run through a wall for this guy." - Hunter Lochmann
I will say, the first press conference sold me on him too, mainly because "This is Michigan, fergodsakes" sent a chill through me. WIthin minutes of Hoke stepping up to the podium, the fan base and the department - not just the football program - had its unifying message. It has been awesome to watch a single statement seem to transform an entire department in the span of about 17 months now.
""But if it is somebody who is talking about leadership and responsibility that is really unifying the campus and can be inclusive of everyone, that can be a really positive thing. "
I think Brady Hoke reaching out to the other sports and attending their games whenever possible has been huge, and perhaps it is even more significant that the players do this as well. It really all comes back to "This is Michigan" - all of it is. Further, his leadership style creates an atmosphere of accountability that allows people to excel, now that the goals have been made crystal clear.
That first press conference sold me. I loved how upset Hoke was when someone suggested that Michigan wasn't what it used to be. He hadn't even been here for the decline and he still took it personally. "This is Michigan, forgodsakes" will never, ever get old.
About running thru a wall after his intro presser. Damn, it still gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes!
Let's not forget we're also talking about a man who shows up to his players classes just to make sure that they're handling the academic side of being a student-athlete. If that doesn't speak volumes about the man I don't know what does
Rivalry tide changing + hotcake jerseys in Ohio = Hokeification
and the announcers were talking about his "dream job" at Michigan; I was familiar with his earlier tenure. After that game I picked up the phone and called my friend in Michigan to tell him I knew who the next coach would be. When I said, "Brady Hoke", my friend said, "who's he?"
I guess we all know now.
As someone working more or less in the marketing biz, I agree with you (I realize you're tongue is firmly in cheek, though). However, I think concluding that Hoke is all about marketing and that there's nothing genuine underneath his public image is a mistake.
When it comes to David Brandon, by contrast, marketing is ALL there is. I don't think there's a genuine bone in his body.
But he is riding a wave of warm and favorable publicity like I can never remember. The change, in about 20 months, is staggering.
I also don't think Dave Brandon is "all about publicity." There can be no more interesting interview in Ann Arbor -- much more interesting even than Brady Hoke -- than Dave Brandon.
Q - Mr. Brandon, I recall that at the time of Brady Hoke's hiring, you said that you had a list of questions and or criteria for your coaching candidate. What was on that list? And you said that Brady Hoke effectively scored higher on that list than you had ever expected of anyone. How did he do that? What did you see in Brady Hoke, in January of 2011?
Maybe it was turning every sorry program he coached at into a winner. Maybe it was as simple as "Belief". The beautiful thing about all your questions is...the answers just dont matter. Guy made the right choice. Whatever he saw, you cannot say the man didn't have vision.
A UM player who was on the team prior to the RR era has told me that Brandon actually decided that Hoke was going to be his 2011 coach prior to the start of the 2010 season, and that the decision was informally made at one of the UM alumni golf outings earlier that year. I have no clue whatsoever myself about this assertion, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. I believe that Brandon wanted RR gone as soon as was feasible.
As for the favorable publicity for Hoke, I believe a great deal of it has to do with 11 and 2 and a victory over OSU. If his first season was 3-9, most of the favorable publicity going into the season would have evaporated by the end of it.
Don, if that is the case (that Brandon had made up his mind long before he fired Rodriguez), and that Brandon had settled on Hoke, then that prompts even more questions of Brandon. (Why the circus-show with the jet? Why the delay? What the fuck?)
My question(s) as posed above was more direct, based not on rumor, but on what Brandon himself had said about his interview. Brandon said flatly that he really did interview Hoke, and Hoke's interview answers were effectively off the charts. Brandon's chart, that is.
I posed it as an honest question. Not a rhetorical trap to catch Brandon. I am -- straight up -- taking Brandon at his word about Hoke.
I am not saying you and your insider-source are wrong. I don't claim to know any better. All that I am doing is asking honest questions.
And about "3-9." If Rich Rodriguez had gone 3-9 with last year's team, I'd have written to Brandon, demanding that he be fired. [And I guess I have shown what a powerful weapon that is! ;-) .]
On the other hand, if Brady Hoke had been operating all of last year with an NCAA investigation on-going and with the local and national press debating when he might be fired and when Jim Harbaugh might replace him, I don't think that he'd have been 11-2 with a top-tier recruiting class. And that is WITH his NFL-salary Defensive Coordinator.
Are you happy that Brady Hoke is our coach?
If so, why the constant passive-aggressive attitude toward him?
So let me get back to basics. Manbauw.... ThisIsMichigan.... Fergodssakes.... Ohio.... Team 1,132.... DickRod.... Hokeification
I'm serious here. Are you happy Brady Hoke is our coach or not? Give me your honest answer.
If you don't like him, hey, you're entitled to your opinion. I'm just curious how you actually feel about the guy.
I also understand that everyone who knows much of anything, or that that means anything to the program, all speak highly about Hoke, universally.
I don't know much about football coaching so it means nothing whether I think he's a good coach. Hoke is proving himself in that regard, no matter what anybody says. Most of all, me.
I am happy about where the program is right now.
At the same time what you correctly sense is my guardedness about anybody who might say, "Told ya so," about Michigan's last coaching change. My position was simply, "Rodriguez was treated badly; unfairly," and about that I was never wrong. I was right. Somebody wrote a book about it.
I don't know why these views of mine would be at all controversial at MGoBlog. If Brian Cook disagreed with one word of any of this, I'd be surprised. (Actually, Brian knows a lot more about football-observation than I ever will, so please don't ascribe any of my self-proclaimed technical ignorance to him.)
As for my continued interests:
I still like going to the games as much as ever, no matter who the coach is. I've lived through six of them; it is not as though the experience begins and ends with the coach. I still like taking people to the games, and I still like beating rivals and I particularly like being being an arrogant ass, since I may have been the only Wolverine in the room when Darrell Rogers uttered that phrase. And I am still interested in exactly how and why Michael Rosenberg more or less deliberately put the football program in a position of accepting a major-violations sanction. I view that matter as an unsolved crime.
I wouldn't have guessed you're as old as I am. Bump and Bennie were a long, long time ago.
I just go back to Bump. (Elliott-Schembechler-Moeller-Carr-Rodriguez-Hoke; six.) Like you, I saw Crisler and Oosterbaan at the Stadium a few times; they were such elegant and (fortunately for us) long-lived guys. What an incomparable wealth of supportive tradition that Bo had to draw upon:
That photo of the five UM coaches is so revealing. Kipke, Crisler, Oosterbaan, and Elliott are all looking off-camera, and looking pretty relaxed. Bo is looking straight at the camera, and you can just hear him thinking, "Goddammit, let's get this over with so I can get back to turning Brandstatter into something other than a big sack of flabby goo."
The guy never made it for me and he never would based on demeanor alone. Don't get me wrong, if he won, I would have loyally followed him as the latest in our line of outstanding coaches, but he didn't. Fact is he didn't win and he got his ass kicked against subpar competition as well as the good competition. Did he get a raw deal? absolutely. Did he handle it well? no. Did he overcome adversity? no. Did he deserve another year? I don't know. Are we better off now than we would be if RR were given 10 guaranteed years, absolute Brandon fealty, and the same press that cowered beneath Bo's thumb? We can't know, but I sure as hell think so.
I re-live this unpleasantness to relate a piece of advice. Let him go. He's rich, he's employed, he has is shot at redemption. We're on seemingly the best footing we've had since Bo's retirement. Don't let your feelings for RR skew your love of what you're witnessing. Trust me....RR ain't carrying a torch for you.
Actually, I let the first question pass. I figured it would have been impolite to ignore a second one, especially since it wasn't phrased as challenge or a fight, but rather a straight question, posed without any particular angle or hostility.
And, as I completed my answer, note that I didn't do any pining over Rodriguez. I've seen six different coaches now, for myself. Rodriguez was just one of the six.
What I did say was that the only "unsolved crime" was what the Free Press and Rosenberg did. The Free Press is still here, still covering the team, still with Mark Snyder as the Michigan beat reporter. And Rosenberg still lives in the vicinity, working for Sports Illustrated as long as he has a job there.
I do think some who truly bought into all that RR was going to do for us maintain a grudge against Hoke because of the obstacles he didn't have to face. Regardless of why RR was unsuccessful here and/or whether actual sabotage was involved, it really doesn't matter when viewing Hoke. I figure we're in for a tougher season than we had last year, but the future in the longer term is glaringly bright.
I think Brandon loves Michigan as much as anyone, but he focuses on the marketing game. It's what he brings to the table.
Yes, and sometimes he acts like the one hippie vegetarian grandchild who forces Thanksgiving dinner to be turned into some sort of new-age tasting festival of a bunch of tofu garbage. Thanks David, but turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce have served everyone well for more than a century, so don't touch it! He still loves the family, but sometimes things are just fine as they are and should be left as such.
Herm, I know it's been said a lot, but you are the man.
This is a match made in heaven, IMO. Brandon is a businessman who is results-oriented, but has enough understanding of Michigan's traditions to see how to use them to his advantage rather than trample them, but it also willing to innovate and change things if he believes it will build and strengthen the UM brand.
Hoke is completely genuine, and actually lives and breathes the family, tradition, integrity philosophy he preaches, unlike most big-time coaches (ie Meyer, Saban, Miles).
I think you can point to the University's drug policy as Brandon's awareness of UM being held to a higher standard, and his desire to keep the university "cleaner" than other programs. But you can point to his willingness to have multiple (even silly) jerseys because current players and recruits like it, even if it doesn't honor tradition.
Hoke...well, his speech at SMSB pretty much sums it up. Opening every team meeting by asking what team number (133), how many B1G Championships (42), and beat (ohio) is pure genius. He honors tradition, reminds of the goal, and focuses on the rival. Brilliant.
You think Brandon's willingness to have multiple jerseys (FOR SALE) is because players & recuits like it?
To play Devil's Advocate here, recruits are the marketing target for a major college program. We can complain all we want about the clown show jerseys, but young kids seem to like them. Brandon is many things, but among them is an excellent marketing executive. He was able to sell subpar pizza for and mailbox stuffers successfully for a long time. Michigan sports, in contrast, are very easy to sell and no marketing message is going to change the number of people in Michigan Stadium on Saturdays.
Brandon is trying to do what he can to make the program better, and to him, that means an aggressive, vibrant marketing campaign. I'm not a fan of the silly jerseys or the piped in music, but Brandon knows people like me won't walk away and he knows some top recruits might be more attracted to that environment. He's smart, we'll bitch, but ultimately, we want happy, excited players and recruits that win a lot of games. He's actively working on making that happen.
College kids playing big time college football are going to be excited about things, especially new/different things. If you ask them how awesome it is to wear their brand new bumblebee uniforms they will say it is super exciting. If you ask them how awesome it is to wear the exact same helmets and uniforms Michigan players have been wearing for the last umpteen years they will say the same thing. "The players/recruits like it" is about as weak as an argument can get.
Plenty of schools haven't done the goofy uniform thing (Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn, USC, Texas, Penn State, etc. all come to mind, though I could be wrong) and they are all still raking in high profile recruits. Michigan and Ohio State similarly didn't suddenly benefit from a transition to Pro Combat status.
If anything it hurts the brand long term not to maintain a strong degree of consistency, and you also run the risk of crediting stupid gimmicks for any and all successes, which only leads to more and stupider gimmicks.
Whether or not people eventually walk away isn't really the issue. If someone keeps pissing in your Cheerios, that guy is an asshole, even if you really fucking love Cheerios and still aren't about to throw them out.