An attempt to diffuse the hostility - a short summary of the feelings of those underwhelmed by the Hoke hire

Submitted by ish on January 13th, 2011 at 2:47 PM

Brady Hoke is the head football coach at the University of Michigan.  All Michigan fans wish him and the team (or should) nothing but the greatest success.  However, several of us are not convinced that he will deliver on that hope.  We're not rooting for him to fail; we're not trying to undermine him; we're not saying he shouldn't have taken the job; and we're not criticizing him as an individual.  We're expressing disappointment and will ultimately move on.

At his press conference Hoke was asked whether Michigan was still an elite job, still an elite program.  He expressed incredulity at the notion that a sane minded person could consider Michigan anything else.  And we all feel that way about Michigan.  For that reason, we expected the university to hire a football coach whose track record indicates with a high degree of certainty that he would succeed at Michigan.

Let's take a step back to the moment before Hoke was hired and consider whether Bob Stoops would have been a good hire.  He has won a national championship, recruited nationally at a place that doesn't produce a lot of talent regionally, continually produces teams that win conference championships and contend for national championships and has done so while avoiding NCAA violations.  In short, there's no reason to believe that if he coached at Michigan that he couldn't maintain that level of success.  On the contrary, the evidence indicates that but for some unforeseen circumstances, the probability of his success at Michigan would have been high.

Let's next consider Tim Brewster.  Brewster failed to recruit at Minnesota, he produced consistently poor teams and his coaching performance prior to Minnesota contains no evidence that he would have been a success had he been hired by Michigan.

In short, most all candidates fall somewhere on the scale between Brewster and Stoops.  They all come with a certain amount of evidence that increases or decreases the likelihood that they could win at Michigan.

If we believe that Michigan is an elite job, we should also believe that Michigan is capable of hiring a coach who comes with lots of evidence that he could win at Michigan.  Brady Hoke has some - he has the support of the administration and former players, he produced two great turnarounds and SDSU and Ball St. - but Bob Stoops has more. 

I'm not asking for Bob Stoops; that's not the point of this diary.  Rather I'm saying that for those of us disappointed in the hire, we had an idea as to the quantum of evidence we wanted to see that forecasted with high probability that the new coach would be a success, and we believe that Hoke is below that line, or that at a minimum, his resume contains less evidence than those of other potential candidates.  For that reason, we are disappointed.

Say you really want to go to Harvard, and apply to there and Yale and only get into Yale.  You go to Yale.  You try to make the best of the situation.  But that doesn't mean you don't have some disappointment that you didn't get into Harvard.  As it is with Hoke.  We'll make the best of the situation and support Michigan Football.  But it's ok to express some disappointment.

As many have noted, prior success is not always indicative of future performance.  Brady Hoke will have every opportunity to prove that whatever his resume, he has what it takes to win at Michigan.  And those of us skeptical that he can do so will cheer for him with the same vigor as those most convinced that his resume is outstanding. 



January 13th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

Thanks for clearly expressing this viewpoint. While it is not one I hold, it's definitely understandable and it'll hopefully get this place to, as DB-NTDB's avatar states, "calm the fuck down".


January 13th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

Wow.  I'm not sure what you're trying to say other than Hoke is somewhere between Stoops and Brewster (quite the scale) and that we settled for Hoke like someone settles for Hamburger Helper when they can't afford Filet Mignon.


January 13th, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

If you want to be honest with this diary, the question you need to ask yourself not is whether Stoops or Hoke came as a better candidate right now, that answer is obvious.

The question is.....back when Stoops was hired at Oklahoma, and now, when Hoke was hired at Michigan, who would you think had the better chance at success given his track record?

At that point, Stoops had created three great defenses at a school where it gets to pick and choose the 10 best defensive players in the state of Florida, as well as cherry-pick others nationally.

On the other hand, Hoke built 12 and 9 win seasons at low-level schools with little to no support either institutionally or from the fanbase.

I think it's a wash at best, or indicates Hoke is better suited at this point in time to be coach than Stoops was in 1999.

That's the barometer if you want an honest comparison. Comparing Hoke to a 12-year coach at a BCS school is patently unfair.

Shop Smart Sho…

January 13th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Stoops was 39 when he was hired as the head coach at Oklahoma.  He turned a terrible Florida defense into an extremely good defense.  So, comparing resumes of 39 year old Stoops to 52 year old Hoke stills sees Hoke lacking. 

I think what many people wanted was that young, up and coming guy to take over at Michigan.  I am not a huge fan of the Hoke hire, but I wish him the best.  I'll be at the games, I'll continue to donate to the University, and I'll cheer just as loudly as anyone. 

That being said, I don't have to be happy with how this "coaching search" was carried out.  It is obvious that Brandon planned on hiring Hoke all along.  I got tired of the nepotism and cronyism under Carr, and see this hire as a return to the same type of thing.

Blue in Seattle

January 13th, 2011 at 6:41 PM ^

The Hoke resume, on a standings result basis isn't as good as Bo Schembechler's at Miami of Ohio (Bo never had an undefeated season, but finished higher in his conference more often.  This from a quick scan of records without knowing if Bo had great players from the start).  So yes, I understand that hiring Brady Hoke is not as resume solid as hiring the OC or DC from one of the other elite teams.

Where I think the discussion goes off from just stating the facts is by calling it Cronyism and Nepotism.  Yes, the guy coached at Michigan while Lloyd Carr was the coach.  Brady Hoke admits he called Coach Carr a lot while he was struggling to learn to be a Head Coach at Ball State.  But how do we suddenly jump to the point of calling it Nepotism?  That term for me is reserved to an organization that hires someone with no intention of that person putting in any effort toward the job, yet collecting all the reward of the job.


Everything I've read, critical or not, of Brady Hoke does not fit these definitions of Nepotism and Cronyism.  If you said David Brandon did not hire someone who's only mission and goal was to accomplish a National Championship and you are disappointed then fine leave it at that.  I would even partially agree with you, although I really can't understand how anyone can think that is the approach Michigan had in 1997.  Or even with all the recruiting classes and goals of the team after Bo's retirement and his nepotistic hiring of Gary Moeller.

You can take the Drew Sharp point of view if you like, but it doesn't really explain how the 1997 team could have possible gone undefeated and then been voted by the Press as the National Champions.  True the coaches did not vote Michigan the National Champions, and maybe because that metric is decided by something as subjective and uncontrolled as voting it stands to reason that it should NOT be the goal of a team to achieve something they do not have full control over.  Next year there is a very clear metric in the Big Ten Championship.  Beat more teams in your conference than all the other teams in your divisioin, then go beat the other divisions best team.  After that, if you are lucky enough to get voted into the NC game then awesome go take that one too.

Yes, Brandon hired someone who has worked at Michigan before, and he is not rated as up and coming, or hot, etc.  But don't call it nepotism, that's going past disagreement and into insulting.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:58 PM ^



patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics: She was accused of nepotism when she made her nephew an officer of the firm.
We call it nepotism because Brady Hoke would not have been a realistic candidate if he hadn't previously been an assistant at Michigan. Furthermore, it appears that the only candidates Brandon seriously considered were current HCs from the Michigan "family". Finally, all the talk of "Michigan Men". That's... pretty much the definition of nepotism. The candidate hired because of nepotism may end up being a good hire - it's still nepotism.  It's not unreasonable to be dissappointed by the weight nepotism was given in this search.

Robbie Moore

January 13th, 2011 at 7:07 PM ^

...before I nod off completely let's be clear.  The Michigan we all want to return to was coached by three men whose hire would be deeply criticized today because they don't have "the resume." Bo from Miami (NTM). Are you kidding ?? A MAC coach? We're Michigan! We can hire a bigger name than that. Gary Moeller was the Tim Brewster of Illinois, an utter failure. His only head coaching experience was posting a 6-24-3 record. Kinda makes Brady Hoke's 47-50 look OK. And Lloyd...never a head coach and not the worlds best DC for that matter. Maybe he could get a job in the MAC if he ever left the nest. 

Give me a break. 


January 13th, 2011 at 4:24 PM ^

Your own comparison fails; Stoops had a much more impressive track records.  Stoops was co-DC at KSU from 91-95, helping turn what had traditionally been literally one of the worst teams in college football around.  In 1991, they had a winning record in conference for only the third time in over 50 years!  They then went on to win about 75% of their games, including their first ever bowl victories.

That's a progression - turn around the defense of a historically challenged school, step up to an elite school and kick butt there, then (while still young), move on to a historically great program (which had foundered for the past 10 years).

I wish Brady well, but Hoke's previous 8 years (comparing to Stoops previous 8 years before he became HC at Okie) has nothing to match that.


January 13th, 2011 at 5:39 PM ^

The OP was establishing a range of candidates in terms of desireability and their probability of achieving success, with the 'current' Bob Stoops being the ideal at one end (not that he was a viable candidate), and Hoke being significantly lower on that range with a lot to prove. He isn't comparing them directly as hires so the apples/oranges thing is moot.

I think if people honestly assess what their feeling would be about Hoke, if he had never coached at Michigan at all, that they would have to admit it would be a pretty big ? on the hire.


January 13th, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

You are allowed to be skeptical.  Being skeptical is the natural reaction to something that isn't proven, and Brady Hoke is not a proven product, at least not at the level of the B1G.  What is proven is that every coach that has worked with him, and every player that has been "touched" by him holds Hoke to nothing but the highest regard.  That is where I find solace in this hire.  


January 13th, 2011 at 3:17 PM ^

I would also like to add that the hostility does not appear to be coming from rational folk such as yourself, but from the "FIRE DB!!!!!!!!111!!!1one" type folks, of which there are plenty.  We are a society driven by instant gratification.  People don't realize that just about every successful coach at UM was hired with not much more than a "meh" reaction.


January 13th, 2011 at 3:32 PM ^

I'd say there's plenty of hostility on both sides of the divide.

One side is furious about what they feel was a sub par decision spelling four more years of DOOM while the others side is astonished at what they perceive as hypocrisy. Personally, the thing that gets me hostile is people making pathos based arguments, or snide imputations when they should be using, you know, data.

Also, +1 to you for begin reasonable and n


January 13th, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

That's a fair assessment. There have been so many let-downs the past three years, it's hard to even let yourself want anything anymore for fear of being disappointed. I was heart-broken when we didn't get Harbaugh, but not surprised. I didn't even let myself think that we might get Miles, whose track record and Michigan Man status should have appeased everyone, even though he had his warts. 

The main reason I'm open to Hoke (who, by the way, I was opposed to before he got hired) is because I can't take the negativity and disappointment anymore. If having hope in Hoke sustains 8 months of positivity, then at least I've had 8 months of good feelings about our team before it goes south. I hope it doesn't go south. I'm holding on to every little bit of positive feeling I can. I need to feel good about Michigan football again. 


January 13th, 2011 at 5:03 PM ^

there's more that I think those who are less-than enthused are concerned about.  Hoke may or may not succeed, and he may have a slimmer resume than we would like.  It is worrisome that the line on the resume that moved it from "average" to "hiring-worthy" was his time here.  The fact that the "have you been at Michigan?" criterion carries so much weight is an indicator that outside ideas, influences, or people are not real welcome.  The worry there is that without some different voices entering the mix - new blood, new ideas, call it what you will - organizations tend to stagnate and decline.  Is that what is happening here? We hope not!  Although RR didn't work out here, the attraction of someone of his ilk is the tendency to innovate.  (although it could be argued that RR got caught in a recursive loop and was unable to adapt here) 


January 13th, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

Completely agree.  It's especially concerning when you consider that Michigan is a great research university that continually pumps out new ideas, research, and inventions.  Shouldn't our football program incorporate new ideas as we more forward?

This hire feels like:  "Well, we tried the new way and it didn't work.  Let's rush back to the old way because that was better than the new way.  Also, let's forget that the old way appeared to be very unlikely to get us to the ultimate goals that we strive for."

Our CEO/AD should know that failure to innovate in the long term = failure/death.  Let's hope that Hoke brings enough innovative thinking with him to push us forward to where we all want to get to.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

Yes. Compare how we responded to failure to how Texas responded to failure. They brought in all the newest up-and-coming coordinators to reinvigorate the program. What did we do? Try and travel back in time, even though that style of football was what caused us to lose perpetually to Ohio State in the first place.


January 13th, 2011 at 5:11 PM ^

I am one of those underwhelmed by Hoke. I am not hostile toward him, but I'm not thrilled with him. Nonetheless, we have to give him a chance.

The thing that does get under my skin is the insularity and elitism at Michigan that never gave RR a chance. The players on the current team loved RR, as far as I can tell. The cheap shots and lack of support from Michigan football alumni and from some on this board and from many fans does make me feel hostile. I won't lash out, and I'm not looking for Hoke to fail. But those who want to return to "smash mouth football the way we've always done it" can go ahead and carry Hoke's jock strap. I sure won't.


January 14th, 2011 at 9:40 AM ^

If Brady Hoke has the same performance as RR did after year three...


RR's 3 years were constant, horrendous, embarrassing failure on the field.

NOBODY tolerates that.

Not Charles Woodson, not Mark Bihl, not Tom Brady, not  Dhani Jones, and not whiney bitches on the internet.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:10 PM ^

If Brady Hoke has the same performance as RR did after year three, he probably won't be fired.  He's one of the AD's "boys" you know.

And in a perverse way, that's probably a good thing.  You can't and shouldn't fully evaluate a coach until he's at least graduated a class.

RR was not given this benefit of the doubt, even after our saviour Harbaugh was not available.  Why that's true, I'll never be able to figure out.  RR's top guys weren't even Juniors

Hoke would still have been available in a year or two if we needed to go that route.  Why pull the rug out from under RR now?  He must have really pissed in someone's cornflakes.

At the end of the day, it really doesn't much matter.  Hoke probably gets an extra year or even two that the hated RR would not get, but that's pretty much the end of it.  He's gonna have to show some championships to stay around here, no matter who's boy he is.



January 13th, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

Although I understand your uncertainty, the fact of the matter we have no clue how Hoke will perform as the head football coach at the University of Michigan.  That goes for Harbaugh, Stoops, Miles, Gruden, etc... as well.  My point is, the decision cannot and will not be changed.  Brady Hoke has a powerful love to be at Michigan.  He loves coaching and molding lifelong relationships with his players.  His players from the past completely respect and love the man.  He is more than his record shows.  He can be as great as any other coach at the University of Michigan.  But he needs our support.  Unrelenting, uncompromising, outspoken support!  And why not give it to him?  Because other coaches have better records?  Maybe those other coaches walked into a machine of a program and basically had to stay on cruise control.  Does that make them better than Hoke or more capable to be the head coach at Michigan? 

Schools like Florida, OU, Texas, USC etc…have firm systems in place.  Those schools almost recruit themselves.  I can’t say the same for Ball State, San Diego State etc…  I do know when he was here in 97’ we won a championship.  I do know that the players on that team have expressed their sincere excitement to have him at the helm.  I tend to lean towards credibility in this regard.  Both Harbaughs have commented on how great of a hire he is, a myriad amount of former players and Urban Meyer too.

I just ask the question, why keep bringing up the argument that we could of/should of/would of got somebody else.  It’s done, we need to move on and embrace the decision as if we made it ourselves.  If things start falling apart, reassess the situation and go from there.  But to assume he is not the best candidate for the job will get us nowhere fast! 

Everyone should be able to share an opinion.  I just think we should consider who may be in the audience in a public forum and ask ourselves, what really am I going to accomplish or change.  Why not roll the positive route and start changing the national perception of our program in a more positive light one fan at a time!


January 13th, 2011 at 6:03 PM ^

Look, the point is this is a sports blog where people share their respective opinions. If there were only one acceptable opinion, this would be a pretty boring place.

Whether some people on this site express their doubts about Hoke will not affect his likelihood of success or failure here. I know everyone talks about how RR had no support early on in his tenure, but I don't think they're talking about the plebes on the blogs . They're talking about rich alums, former UM players, and the media. Hoke has already gotten a better reception than RR from all of these people. Whether some of us "little people" voice our own misgivings will have no affect whatsoever.

The FannMan

January 13th, 2011 at 10:45 PM ^

There seems to me to be a balance between people saying that they have concerns, and blasting away again and again.  I am also not so sure that he the little folks don't have influence.  The split in the fan base was always cited as a reason that RR never had a chance,  The Freep and other media took more shots at him than at Lloyd b/c they knew that they could get away with it.

I agree that people are entitled to their opinions.  But, it seems at some point people need to get on board and support the team.  I mean, what has he done so wrong since he got here, other than not be a spread coach?


January 13th, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

While introducing Hoke, DB said of others he'd interviewed that "all that glitters isn't gold" – to me a shot at Miles almost for sure, and maybe Harbaugh as well. He went on to imply that those others were focused on themselves, while with Hoke "it isn't about Brady Hoke" (in Hoke's own words).

In other words, the longer the resume the bigger the ego. We might have dodged a bullet on this one.


January 13th, 2011 at 10:04 PM ^

After it was nearly certain, and then announced, that RR was being let go(I wanted him here longer), I got enamored with the thought of Harbaugh coaching UM. That was, up until I heard about his desire to coach in the NFL. At that point, I felt that even if JH became UM's coach, that he'd be gone in a short time for his "ultimate goal".

As for Miles, I never really wanted him here, although I'd have been ok with it. Too many things in the background that wouldn't sit well at UM.

As for an up and coming coordinator, the only one I'd be looking at was Venables from OU. No one else even peaked my interest.

Hoke is a much, much better coach than his overall 47-50 record shows, and UM will be fielding elite level teams in the near future.


January 14th, 2011 at 12:35 PM ^

I would be really interested in hearing exactly who DB was referring to when he mentioned "big name" coaches who he learned alot from by speaking with them for 2-3 hours: Coaches who were all about THEMSELVES and not the TEAM.  Ouch...not exactly a ringing endorsement of some big names in college football.  If I was a college coach I think I would just say "No, I never talked with Dave Brandon" rather than be put under that umbrella of suspicion.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:37 PM ^

I would rather have a coach who loves michigan and has the same passion for michigan football as i do then someone like miles who is just coming to coach a program.

If you are a michigan fan then you know its way more then just another program.

He has been here before, won championships before, and is a great coach that can help what? Our DEFENSE


January 13th, 2011 at 10:22 PM ^

Anybody is free to list the candidate(s) they are sure would have been better hires. DB likely talked to most of them as well.

The fact is, none of them had on their otherwise stellar resumes "I and my family will WALK to the University of Michigan."

Along with some actual football knowledge, Brady Hoke's did. He's my coach, and I am all the eff in.

Now, would someone with more clout than me please request that banner be removed.


January 13th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

He was a longtime dc at kstate then at florida when he was hired by Oklahoma.....yeah that's right they went after a successfull coordinator to run a program that is very prestigious....

Ohhh yeah, before stoops Oklahoma made more then a couple big name hires....uhmm Howard Schnellenberger ring a bell... 

Stoops at Oklahoma.....funny how oklahoma gave stoops a shot to be head coach he wins a national title and suddenly every program thinks they can lure him there when they wouldn't even talk to him before.....florida, nd, ohio st, and every other top job that has opened up.....

Harbaugh...   funny michigan wouldn't field a call from him 3yrs he leads stanford to a bcs bowl and blows out vatech and michigan fans are drooling all overthemselves and swearing harbaugh should be running home....when michigan wouldn't call at all 3yrs ago.....  


Point is you have to be ahead of the curve....sometimes you have to take a chance and just hire the best coach, not the best name coach......


January 13th, 2011 at 7:21 PM ^

...when the arrogance of uofm football gods ran rr out of town.  im willing to give bh the same chance the old farts living in the past 100 years of glory that only brought a split national championship in the past 50 years gave rr.  i will judge the bh hire the same way the blow hards in the aa / detroit media did rr.  uofm set the precedent now it has to follow it.  it only gave rr 3 yrs to turn around and outdated system and archaic attitude....3 yards and a cloud of dust along with playing not to lose.  the program declined from '97 and especially during the last 3 - 4 yrs especially in did a horrible job that left the team depleted...if u dont believe that just look at the nfl draft picks since lc left...those were his players playing under rr the first 2 years...5 nfl draft picks total in the '09 and '10 draft and only 1 first rounder....and there are those still saying the cupboard wasn't bare...bull (no financial pun intended)!  rr had his recruits really the last 2 yrs because most of the recruits the first year of rr were lc's.  who in their right mind would play slow small linemen, idiot linebackers and walkon db's unless that was all they had to play?  when rr came here he had only 23 defensive players on scholarship...think about that.  no sir, i will give bh the same precedented treatment rr got and i will give credit to rr and his recruits if they win and i will blame bh if they dont.  we will also see now that bh is going to recruit the midwest instead of florida how depth will be built now that rr has been kicked out of town by a bunch of arrogant self serving cowards.  leaders and best my ass...try laggards and worst regarding philosophy of football and leadership behavior of  the uofm decision makers / past players / alumni and boosters.  uofm u get what you deserve and the whole football world has seen how you acted toward rr, his family and coaching staff.  the new "MM" gets the same treatment as rr. besides, didnt bsu fall under probation with bh as coach?


January 13th, 2011 at 11:50 PM ^

...I understand that some people may use English as a second language and/or may not have had the same opportunities to learn it as I did but I'd like to request that you start to capitalize at least some of the things that should be capitalized.  Not only is it correct English but it makes my eyes hurt less when reading the post.





January 13th, 2011 at 8:13 PM ^

I was hoping for some up and coming coordinator at a successful school. Instead we got Brady Hoke who has, admittedly, increased the win totals at historically terrible schools.  The short of it is that we have who we have, and to say that he should cast out because he replaced RR, or that he should only get 3 years because that's what RR got, then turn around and say RR should have gotten 4 or 5 or 6 years is some serious hypocrisy.