Non-Hoke Options: Extant

Submitted by Brian on January 5th, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Note: New banner thanks to Six Zero.

I didn't think we'd be here. I thought Rodriguez would get year four or we'd be having a press conference introducing Jim Harbaugh today, but the bowl game happened and Harbaugh spurned us, apparently to coach mercenaries at AT&T PNC Citi Invesco Parkfield because all that stuff about bleeding maize and blue turned out to be so much bullshit. But we're here.

It's either this or self-pity. I already binned all the Smiths songs yesterday and am all out of high-concept emo posts. So. Contrary to what you may have heard, there are people other than Brady Hoke coaching college football and some of them also win games. A brief list of people a "national search" might turn up as people to kick the tires on:

The Same Mid-Major Names That Come Up Every Year For Naught

The Ps currently dominating wack (get it) leagues: Chris Petersen at Boise State and Gary Patterson at TCU, plus Utah's Kyle Wittingham. The latter two will be in BCS conferences next year.

Chris Peterson Chris Petersen, Boise State
Record: 61-5 in five years with the Broncos.

PROS: 61-5 in five years as a head coach. Relatively young. Trick-play happy and ballsy. Runs a passing spread that seems adaptable to Michigan's current offensive talent. Nice-seeming dude who would not throw the local media into a conniption fit.

CONS: Both previous Boise State head coaches to light out for greener pastures have been miserable failures as they go from way more resources than the competition to less. Petersen took over a monster program already and has had it humming along just fine but did not build it. No recruiting ties to the Midwest.

ACQUIRABILITY: Michigan could more than double the 1.5 million he's currently making. Would it matter? Petersen's had his name up for dozens of jobs and seems content in Boise.

Gary Patterson, TCU
Record: 98-28 in ten years

PROS: Took over for TCU in 2001 and has had a decade at the helm of the Horned Frogs. After a 6-6 start his teams have won ten games in seven of nine years and just finished an ass-kicking 13-0 campaign that ended with a Rose Bowl win against Wisconsin. Turns out awesome defenses on the regular. Runs passing spread like Boise and should be able to adapt to Robinson and company.

CONS: Also took over a team that was already pretty good at 10-2 the year before. No Midwest recruiting ties.

ACQUIRABILITY: Salary unknown since TCU is private but certainly Michigan could offer a major bump. TCU is moving to an auto-bid conference next year and is poised to own it, but it's the Big East, AKA "probably no better than the Mountain West." Like Petersen, obviously should have gotten a bigger job already but has not, suggesting he is in for the long haul at TCU.

whittingham Kyle Wittingham, Utah
Age: 51
Record: 58-20 in six years.

PROS: Slightly less awesome record than Patterson but did put together that 13-0 team in 2008 that beat Michigan and stomped Alabama in the BCS. Team fell off slightly to 10-3 the last two years. Was the DC for a decade before his move to the top job. Nice guy. Runs same passing spread the two guys above do.

CONS: Same story: took over a program with many advantages relative to its peers already poised at the top of the heap. Urban Meyer came in and the Utes went 10-2, then 12-0 when Wittingham took over.

ACQUIRABILITY: Wittingham makes 1.2 million a year, though entry into the Pac-12 will give Utah the funds to greatly increase that. Same story with the guys above: if he's still at Utah it seems like that's because he is not inclined to leave.

Guys We Would Instantly Make Villains By Hiring Them

Charlie Strong, Louisville
Record: 7-6 in one year

PROS: Architect of killer Florida defenses for almost a decade and annual subject of "why on earth won't anyone hire this guy" posts because he's also an awesome recruiter—Louisville picked up Teddy Bridgewater after he decommitted from Miami—and an all-around nice guy. Good shot at keeping and properly deploying Denard.

CONS: Bolting Louisville after one season would seriously damage his rep and give folks the same old story about how Michigan's coach has the audacity to change jobs. And oh by the way has only one season under his belt. No Midwest connections.

ACQUIRABILITY: Makes $1.6 million a year, so Michigan could pay the man. Unfortunately the conventional wisdom says there's little chance Michigan (or anyone) could pry him from Louisville given his long struggle to find a head job and Louisville's willingness to finally give it to him.

dan-mullen Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Record: 14-11 in two years.

PROS: Dismantled Michigan with rushing-based option spread 'n' shred and would make Denard at home. Hot young name seems to be large chunk of Florida's monster run under Meyer since the offense took a huge step back after he left despite returning the Tebow Child. Found Manny Diaz and deployed him as the defensive ying to his yang.

CONS: Brief track record as a head coach. Only two years under his belt, so a lesser version of the Strong issue.

ACQUIRABILITY: Born in PA and went to school on Staten Island(!) so not exactly a born-and-bred Southerner. Hadn't ever coached in the South until Meyer went to Florida. Just got a large contract from MSU that now pays him 2.65 million, however, bumping him from last to sixth in the SEC.

patfitzgerald2 Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Record: 33-29 in five years

PROS: Young, enthusiastic former Northwestern legend sits next to "football" in the dictionary. Personal acquaintances describe him as "model of excellence." If it works out, could work out for a very long time indeed. Runs spread 'n' shred based on Randy Walker's that fits Denard like a glove.

CONS: Ripping someone away from their alma mater again would get things off on the wrong foot. Hasn't actually, you know, won that much. Even if you forgive him for his 4-8 opener because he was thrust into a terrible situation, since he's gone 6-6, 9-4, 8-5, and 7-6, and that was with epic buckets of luck on his side. He has outperformed his predecessor, FWIW.

ACQUIRABILITY: Salary is unknown because Northwestern is private. Michigan could add a lot to it. Even so, Fitzgerald is a NU icon and the CW is that he "hates" the rest of the Big Ten schools. Since a large portion of that hate rests in the fact he's never experienced what it's like to be at a Big Ten game where the majority of people are rooting for you I think he'd have to consider a move.

Guys Who Would Definitely Move And Not Be Villains


In Order Of Preference

  1. Dan Mullen – youth, experience in tough conference, fantastic track record as assistant, excellent DC hire, offensive continuity.
  2. Pat Fitzgerald – youth, Big Ten and Midwest ties galore, spotless media image, offensive continuity.
  3. Gary Patterson – most accomplished of the mid-major guys, should provide access to Texas recruiting.
  4. Charlie Strong – would rather roll the dice on him than the other two; DC experience in SEC seems at least as indicative of future success as HCs at massively advantaged schools.
  5. Chris Petersen – somewhat leery of Boise State's track record elsewhere..
  6. Kyle Wittingham – Wouldn't be displeased with anyone but I'd rather have other guys on the list.

Does Hoke approach any of these guys? Absolutely not. If he'd been a Michigan State assistant no one would have ever brought him up.



January 5th, 2011 at 3:10 PM ^

Some of the others names tossed around - in the interest of thoroughness if we can avoid the gag reflexes - or ridiculous fits of laughter - that might ensue?


January 5th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

I can't believe that it has come down to this. This whole situation is making me sick to my stomach. Oh well...
<br>Mullen would be good for the offense, but we're looking at another RichRod if he can't bring Diaz with him. He got pretty lucky with that hire. Diaz only had like one previous year of DCing?
<br>I personally would love Patterson. Spead and zone read concepts in his current offense. Clearly great and adaptable on defense.
<br>Just not Hoke...please God

Rupert Pupkin

January 5th, 2011 at 5:44 PM ^

Les miles would bring experience in huge games. If you can coach week in week out in the SEC then Minnesota, Indiana, NU, Iowa, MSU will be like D2 schools. He also has established southern recruiting pipelines. If he stays 10 years and you establish a transition for his replacement then we would rule the B1G TEN.


January 6th, 2011 at 10:19 AM ^

Dude, its the SEC.. they don't care about that stuff as long as they win.
<br>Plus all you gotta do is play the Chappelles friend Chip move..
<br>"I'm sorry officer/NCAA. I didn't know I couldn't do that."
<br>Plus ESPN (yeah I know) said that LM's buy out clause for UM was 1.5m... We just paid 2.5 to RR..


January 6th, 2011 at 9:23 AM ^

How many of those recruits do you really think Les Could bring North?
<br>Why would he leave a school that has over solicited scholarships to 4-5 star players? He is loaded with talent...
<br>Can money really lure a coach away when already has a chance to win a Championship every year?
<br>I don't think so.. Even if he has love for Michigan like JH.. But why stress another 2-4 years to rebuild when you already have a slice of the pie?


January 5th, 2011 at 3:21 PM ^

There is a better chance of getting Harbaugh as a head coach with Rich Rod as an OC than prying Dan Mullen away a week after signing an extension.


January 5th, 2011 at 4:06 PM ^

Brian can u please elaborate on why you hate hoke so much? It seems to me that he turned two programs around in the past 3 years. Who cares about his early BG years, maybe some people learn how to adapt and become a good coach


January 5th, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

Hoke was under .500 for four years in a row at Ball St. Then 7-6 then 12-1. ONE YEAR. That it no way qualifies as a turnaround. The first four years showed zero improvement. He has had 3 winning seasons in eight as a HC. The guy is thoroughly average at best.


January 5th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

But there's a difference between the tone of your first post (which conveys a lot more "what? He sucks" vibe) vs. This one (the he's unproven enough to not be a good risk for Michigan). The idea that Hoke is OUTRAGEOUS, where as someone like Fitzgerald, who has done less is a high profile candidate (more Brian's words than yours) seems silly to me, and predicated on having made fun of one guy and not the other. I could find just as many in the coaching field who would speak just as highly of Hoke as Brian's man love for PF. I think he'd do a good job, but would do nothing for the fractured fanbase. I'd rather have Harbaugh, even though I think he's a bit of a jerk, because of the intangibles. But that doesn't look the least bit likely at this point.


January 5th, 2011 at 5:31 PM ^

I think that DB'S move today actually helps give JH a chance to get here. Yesterday, too much pressure. Yesterday, Conventional wisdom said DB had To trot out a new coach when RR was let go. We are nervous because it feels like the bungled rovers 3 years ago. But now, JH can vet the NFL options and still visit with DB over the next few days. It strikes me that this is plausible. Until JH states himself he's not coming,I am not convinced. Regardless I don't think this is doom. DB Will likely have more options as people mAy be more comfortable talking, now that there is a vacancy.


January 5th, 2011 at 4:24 PM ^

But after seeing your list, even before I saw your order, I would have taken Dan Mullen. He had a great first interview, amiright? And seems like a guy who wouldn't mind going back north. Similar offense, great defense. I could warm to that.
<br>I don't get the Hoke hate, but whatever. But the Fitzgerald love even makes less sense than Hoke. You compare what Hoke has done to all these others...when has PF ever done as well as Hoke? They've JUST been a middle of the pack Big Ten team. Gary Barnett he's not.
<br>Seems like you'd rather have an offense than a good coach.


January 5th, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

At this point, I don't see Brandon as I did Martin during the coaching search of '07. (caught with his pants down while sailing the Carribean). No Brandon is to coaching search '11 as Delany is to Big Ten expansion '10.
<br>Note the similarities:
<br>Clearly defined timeline that the media is too impatient to see through. (End of season review = 18 month review)
<br>Obvious fit who is reluctant to sign on due to pie in the sky dreams of greatness. (Harbaugh = ND)
<br>Amazing, unlikely option who is never gonna sign on. (Mullen = Texas)
<br>Eager beaver who obviously wants the job but who ain't gonna get it - hopefully. (Hoke = Missouri)
<br>And one very successful, single-minded leader who is in complete control, but who everybody thinks is screwing the pooch. (Brandon = Delany)
<br>My only question is: who = Nebraska?


January 5th, 2011 at 8:57 PM ^

It's a common complaint/observation that qualified candidates with longer legislative records get the shaft in favor of younger types who are more appealing because they haven't been around long enough to piss anyone off.
<br>Is that what we're dealing with here? I mean, I understand that Miles is insane, can't manage a clock, and pulled a shady oversigning move. And yeah, Harbaugh would be better. But Miles is the only guy even semi-available with an established big-conference record. Don't these other guys doubtless have flaws that we don't know about?