Sports columnist Nick Canepa, writing in the San Diego Union-Tribune's online site:
Canepa gets a lot of stuff wrong, but not everything. He talks about the amount(s) Michigan has paid in buyouts to WVU, to Rodriguez, and now to SDSU, by "a public university in a fiscally deprived state." Nevermind that not one dime of that money comes from taxpayers or the University's general fund, and that Michigan's football program actually reverses the flow of money back to the general fund.
But he also talks about Hoke, and what sort of record he has had at SDSU that promotes him to the Michigan job. It ain't past success at a high level.
Here's the thing. One column does not begin to settle any arguments about Brady Hoke. But I remember how the articles from West Virginia papers concerning Rich Rodriguez were treated by the Detroit and national media. Those articles, about shredded documents and stolen files, were actually less accurate than this bit of fluffy opinionating by Nick Canepa. And yet they gained traction, as the anti-Rodriguez propaganda machine began to find its momentum:
All of which adds to the mystery of this serpentine caravan. Because other than being a former Wolverines assistant — thus fulfilling the ritualistic “Michigan Man” requirements — Hoke, a man who displayed the right philosophy and attitude, hasn’t done much to warrant the attention of the winningest college football program in history.
State is replacing Hoke from within, with defensive coordinator Rocky Long, whose reputation and skill as head coach during an 11-year run at New Mexico actually surpasses anything in Hoke’s résumé. If you take New Mexico to five bowl games, you probably can do something with loaves and fishes.
Rocky Long is a good football coach and his quick hiring is prudent, especially with offensive coordinator Al Borges following Hoke to Ann Arbor. All I know is, the last time Long coached New Mexico against San Diego State, in 2008, he beat the Aztecs 70-7. It was 49-0 at the half.
Brandon, using the Domino’s corporate jet as if it were a Town Car, crisscrossed America in his quest for a new coach. He tried Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, who spurned his alma mater for the 49ers job. Then the pizza guy wooed LSU’s Les Miles, another Michigan alum, but LSU announced Tuesday morning that Miles was staying.
Then, by Tuesday afternoon, Brandon has Hoke’s signature? What I smell isn’t pepperoni and cheese.
Where was Hoke during all this? Are we to believe Brandon signed him sight unseen? Are we to believe Hoke was hired without even meeting Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman? This is Michigan, not Ferris State. The football program funds an athletic department with a $100-million budget. Think a president isn’t going to be involved?
At some point, when Hoke was supposed to be recruiting for San Diego State, he had to be meeting some of these people somewhere.
Hoke never purchased a home in San Diego. He rented in La Jolla. He wasn’t staying here forever, and even he no doubt is surprised by how fast this happened. He hadn’t done much of anything, which he admits.
But in the end, it wasn’t so much betrayal as it was deception. It’s hard to say San Diego State is better off today, but if Brady Hoke couldn’t be stand-up about this thing, sneaking around in college football’s increasing shadows, maybe the school’s better off.