[ED: Normally, the judgement on diaries is left to others, but I think this might merit that status for length / presentation reasons if nothing else - LSA]
So I work in Columbus in the O.R. and unsurprisingly, most of the people here went to OSU. This week I was in an OR with the guy who is the blue jackets team doc and played college ball (not sure where, not exactly sure whether it was BB or FB, could have been either). I was asked what the shelf life of the football coach was and my response was that the AD was going to be fired and replaced before the FBHC was fired and replaced. The overwhelming response was that if the football team was winning, the AD wouldn't have been a problem,
My response was that there's a distinct difference between the health of the department, the program and the current team which it seemed people were unwilling to differentiate and I think the former players and some members here are already losing the distinction as well.
The Athletic Director was fired, in part, for being an ASS. He was terrible at crisis management and damage control. He was instrumental in "Concussiongate" and was unable to recognize the issue with "Cokegate." Add into these the additional issues of "Emailgate" as well as the rumors of "Interfering with the coaching-gate" and "Watching film with the coordinators-gate." And we begin to see the issues which sealed the fate of the AD. The fact that the football team is a disaster is not as much a reflection of the AD as it is of the coaching staff. The Athletic Department as a whole was being viewed in a very negative light and it was due to the inability of the AD to manage the issues which occurred.
This brings me to the program. This is the other half of why the AD needed to go. Since Brandon took over, revenue has increased, but not significantly more than other top programs' per http://mgoblog.com/content/mailbag-qb-not-major-problem-revenue-increases-oregons-thing. However, student participation at the football games has plummeted and the wait list for season tickets has disappeared. It was anticipated that the game this past weekend, even though it was a homecoming, would be the first game in decades which did not have 100k+ in attendance. These are not the causes of the deteriorating health of the program, but the symptoms of the health of the program, which is a responsibility of the AD, not the coach, per se.
Finally we get to the health of the team. This is not something that should be specifically related to the atletic director unless there is some documented issue with dysfunction withing the football team itself or the coaching staff. We don't get to hear enough about the inner workings of the team and staff to know if these are going on, but we do get to see the results of the team management on the fielf. And its performance speaks for itself. It's a mess. The coach is obviously failing. He's had nothing but a significant rise in the amount of talent on the team, except for the possiblity of OL due to questions about OL youth and the slow development of OL in particular, yet basically all position groups continue to underperform related to their recruiting rankings. Yes, caveat re:STARZZ, but it has also been shown that high recruiting rankings and offer sheets from top tier programs correlate the best with success. Hoke has gotten many highly recruited players which have had offers from many other programs, but the results are not evident based on the results from the field. This should be criteria solely for judging the coach and the performance the past 3 years are what should be the nail in the coffin for Hoke.
The only thing that there is a crossover between the AD and the state of the football team is that there has been much chatter that non of the highly attractive coaches would come and coach at Michigan if Dave Brandon had still been the AD. His inability to hire the best coach for the job because none of them would accept the job from him is the only thing that should have tied his tenure to the production by the football team,
In short, the AD got canned for being an ass who is hated by many, the coach is going to be fired because he's obviously made some bad decisions. I'm not going to say Hoke couldn't fix the team, but he doesn't deserve a chance to do so. If he's hamstrung the team though retaining friends who could not handle the job in the first place, he is culpable and does not deserve the chance to put it right as he's already used 4 years to make this team unable to compete.