Talking to your child about the coaching change

Submitted by bronxblue on January 14th, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Over the past few weeks, the University of Michigan football team has undergone some rather significant changes at the top, with Rich Rodriguez relieved of his position as Head Coach and replaced by former San Diego State head man (and former UM assistant coach) Brady Hoke.  Trying to wrap one’s head around the events and motivations behind this momentous shift can be daunting for a fully-functioning adult (or daytime sports-radio host), let alone the most impressionable and innocent amongst us – the children.  Thus, here is a guide with some helpful answers for addressing the coaching change to your littlest of loved ones.

Why was Rich Rodriguez fired as Head Coach of the Wolverines?

Well, there are many reasons why – mostly because he didn’t win enough, especially against UM’s little brother (MSU), that old man who always wants you to mow his lawn but then pays you a nickel (PSU), the fat guy next door who is always working on his car in the driveway in only his undershirt and the music turned up very loud (Wiscy), and especially that kid at the playground who always beats you up the jungle gym but who also eats paste (OSU).  He looked really fast and strong when he played against the smaller kids in the park, but when the bigger kids showed up he always was pushed around and didn’t look nearly as good.  Also, his defenses were really bad, he didn’t always pick the best kids to be on his team before the season, and used bad words like “fudge”, “shoot”, “mother fiddler”, and “read option.”  Some of the local kids got him in trouble by telling everyone that he was a cheater even though that wasn’t true and they were just being jerks, but he still got a bar of soap in his mouth and now everyone has to go to bed a half-hour earlier for the next 2-3 years.  Finally, some people wanted him to look more like the Wolverine’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and creepy grass-eating uncle, even though none of them looked the same either.

Why didn’t the Wolverines give him more than 3 years?  They gave that nice man who coached the basketball team 6 years.

Very good question.  Mostly because, again, he didn’t win enough games.  Also, people care more about football than basketball, and that nice man looked a little like a young Will Smith and dressed like a singer in the band Color Me Bad, a band your mother/father and I used to love listening to about 9 months before you were born.

So who decided to fire Rich Rodriguez?

David Brandon, the current Athletic Director and a former player for the Wolverines.  He was also the former CEO of Dominos Pizza.

Can we have pizza for dinner? 

Not tonight; I already made roast beef and broccoli.  Maybe this weekend.  Don’t make that face!

Is David Brandon a good guy?  You said he should pull his head out of his a...

Don’t you say that!  Yes, sometimes when a person gets really angry, he or she may use bad words to show how angry they are, but you shouldn’t. 

David Brandon is a good person who maybe made a couple of mistakes.  He’s only been on the job for a couple of months, and so it is hard to tell if he is really a good Director or maybe just good at being a boss as a company.  We will know more in a couple of years.

And no, it is not possible physically possible to do what Mommy/Daddy said.  Unless you are a writer for a local newspaper, in which case that is the only way they can do their job.

So who did David Brandon replace Rich Rodriguez with?

Brady Hoke, a former assistant coach at Michigan as well as Head Coach at San Diego State University and Ball State.  Now stop laughing just because I said “ball.”

Doesn’t Brady Hoke play for the Patriots?

No, you are thinking of Tom Brady.  He once played at Michigan, back way before you were born and when the coaches kept wanting a baseball player to play instead of him.  They were dumb.  Also, Brady Hoke was the guy who brought Tom Brady to Michigan from California.

Is Brady Hoke a good coach?

An important lesson you will learn as you grow up is that words don’t always mean the same thing depending on who or what you are talking about.  For example, I “love” you (and your brother/sister/wife/husband where appropriate), but I also “love” Michigan football.  When I say I love you, it means I’d do anything to keep you safe and healthy.  When I say I love Michigan football, it means I like to watch them beat other teams and sometimes when they don’t I throw things around the house and call people “bassbowls.” 

The same can be said about Brady Hoke being a “good” coach.  He’s definitely not a bad one – he’s won 47 games and had recent success at both schools before leaving them.  Also, he is well-respected by other coaches, has a reputation for being good at getting good players to play for his team, and has a plan about how he wants to run his team.  Also, he really wants to coach the Wolverines.

But at the same time, he also lost 50 games and is really old, like older than mommy/daddy.  He’s never played with the big kids before, so we don’t know if he’ll be able to keep up.  He says he wants to play the game differently than how Rich Rodriguez played, but people aren’t sure if he’ll be able to right now, since the players he has on his team all wanted to play like Rodriguez.  Finally, some people worry that he’ll be like the old guy that coached the Wolverines before Rich Rodriguez, only worse.

So I’m not sure if Brady Hoke is a good coach, but I do know that he is a different coach than Rich Rodriguez, and sometimes change is good. 

Do people like Brady Hoke?

Oh yeah, lots of people like him.  Everyone who writes for the newspapers like him, especially since he is not like Rich Rodriguez at all.  Lots of people who like the Wolverines all like him because he reminds them of other coaches they liked, kind of like how our puppy reminds you of Bo, our other dog who went to that farm up north to live on.  The one with all the rabbits and squirrels to chase.

Now, there are some people who don’t like him as much, but they are just grumpy people who sit in their parents’ basements all day and type on the computer.  They complain about him being not that good at his job and something we call a “safety option”, a word you’ll hear when you are applying to colleges and I have you fill out applications to schools you don’t want to attend, like that school Uncle Murray attended in the middle of the state.  None of them ever talk to girls, they smell because they don’t take baths, and only eat pizza and drink pop all day. 

Can I be one those of people who doesn’t like Brady Hoke?

No, no matter how awesome that sounds.  Almost all of them grow beards and like soccer, and unfortunately (pick one:  we have a medical thing that doesn’t allow us to grow beards/you are a girl and facial hair doesn’t look right on girls).

Were they are any other people who coach have been the coach for the Wolverines?

Great question!  According to Mr. Brandon, the only person he wanted was Brady Hoke, even though everyone knows he was fibbing and yes, fibbing is wrong and don’t you do it.  But sometimes when you are older, you need to say stuff that isn’t totally true so that you don’t look dumb or mean in front of others.  It’s like when Aunt Belinda asks me if she looks fat in her wedding pictures and I say she looked beautiful, even though I’ve told you before she looked like Shrek in a dress. 

But no, I’ve heard that Brandon asked a couple of other people if they wanted to coach the Wolverines, but all of them said they already had play dates lined up.  Jim Harbaugh, a former player for the Wolverines who is also a successful Head Coach at a school with a tree as its mascot, decided he wanted to coach in the National Football League.  He may have told Brandon that he planned on coaching the Wolverines and then used this to get a better job, which is something we call “leverage.”  It’s how daddy/mommy got that new flat-screen television after he/she stumbled on my Google search history. 

Brandon also apparently asked Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern University, but he liked his job and didn’t want to move.  He might have also asked Les Miles at LSU, but he’s even older than Brady Hoke and likes to chew grass like the cat does when she’s sick. 

Did David Brandon do a good job looking for a Head Coach?

I always tell you that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  Well, this is an exception.  David Brandon royally screwed up this search, like how I forgot to pick you up after band practice a couple of years ago and Susie’s mom saw you walking alone in the rain and drove you home.  Except, I don’t think David Brandon can take every Wolverine fan out for ice cream and then buy you tickets to see Space Chimps.  Of course, he might be able to give everyone a free pizza.

Brandon said he was going to look everywhere for the best coach, but then he only looked at people in his Wolverine phone book plus the guy next door.  People probably won’t care that much as long as Brady Hoke turns out to be a good coach, but people also don’t like being lied to when everyone knows you are doing it.  That’s a good lesson for you know.  Also, always wash your hands after you use the bathroom and don’t accept candy from stranger.  Unless they give you Snickers – then they are just really nice people with great taste.

Will the Wolverines be better with Brady Hoke as the Head Coach?

Nobody knows for sure.  They were REALLY good last year at scoring points and REALLY bad at stopping the other guys from scoring them.  They should be better at stopping teams because all of the players on defense are older, and the really fast guy on offense with the dreads is coming back and should be good.  So they should be at least as good as they were this year, and will probably win a couple more games next year. 

In the future, though, I’m not sure if the team will be better.  We’ll have to see, especially as Hoke brings in more players that he wants and play the way he wants.  My guess is that they’ll win games but will disappoint me enough most years that I’ll be making many trips to the store to refill the bottles of adult drinks I keep in the dining room.



January 14th, 2011 at 11:39 PM ^

to the conversation I had with my kids earlier this week.  Except you left out the part about how I had to explain share all my "feelings" and maybe I should go talk more about it with "the feelings doctor."


January 15th, 2011 at 12:15 AM ^

We couldn't score points against teams who actually put live players on the field. The zombies couldn't keep up, but if they were alive we got shut down, at least at the end of the year.

Other than that, awesome.

Bull Michael

January 15th, 2011 at 1:19 AM ^

it took me 4 separate conversations with my 3 year old daughter for her to somewhat get why RR is no longer she just randomly walks up to me and says "Rich Rodriguez!"  ....oh well.....


January 15th, 2011 at 1:37 AM ^

I read this after watching the 2006 Michigan vs Michigan St. game...and it was well worth the time.  I found it funny and entertaining, you should get plenty of requests to move this to the main page, I'm sure!


January 15th, 2011 at 9:41 AM ^

But, I'm still put off by assertions that lack evidence but fits a narrative someone wants to push.  There is no evidence to believe that Brandon only interviewed Michigan people.  He himself said that he interviewed, what six or seven?  It may be the case that they only had Michigan connections; it may be the case that they never had a serious chance, maybe, maybe, maybe.  If I'm wrong please correct me.  That said, I don't actively believe he did interview a variety of people. I don't know.  But, I'm more comfortable understanding what I do know and don't know rather than having a conviction on every question of the day.  Believe what you want, but being clear on what are facts versus beliefs makes for better public discourse.  Sorry to play the part of cranky old man.

True Blue in CO

January 15th, 2011 at 9:58 AM ^

who has been accepted to UofM. He had given up on Rodriguez but wants to go to school that will have a good team. Hoping the prospects for Denard and Devin remain good and he stays Blue.


January 15th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

for title alone; will have to come back to read the rest later.

I had a momentary flashback to MSM columns from the Starr-Clinton days.


January 15th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

If only you had posted this a little earlier -- before my fourth grader came home from school a couple of days ago and said the other kids told him Rodriguez had been fired because he made the players practice three whole hours one day!


January 15th, 2011 at 1:40 PM ^


Doesn’t Brady Hoke play for the Patriots?

No, you are thinking of Tom Brady.  He once played at Michigan, back way before you were born and when the coaches kept wanting a baseball player to play instead of him.  They were dumb


lol awesome


January 16th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

My seven year olds main concern was retaining Denard. He was happy to hear Shoelace is sticking around. I think the entire state was. We both look forward to the future and watching Denard evolve into more of a Mike Vick like roll.


January 16th, 2011 at 9:36 PM ^

First, you should be arrested for child abuse for feeding your poor child broccoli.  The poor kid will suffer from gas during school the next day and be made fun of in class as she relieves herself.  All in all, I hope this Fairy Tale has a happy ending!

micheal honcho

January 17th, 2011 at 8:50 AM ^

who just really got into actually watching football this year,seemed to understand perfectly why he was fired. He loves him some Denard but just can't stand the whole "losing to everybody" part.

After the early part of the season, he was pretty convinced that Denard was actually superman with funny hair, but then during the MSU game he just kept asking me "why cant denard just run for a touchdown?"  This continued for basically the rest of the season during every game "Dad, why doesnt Denard just run for a touchdown?". What could I say?? Eventually I had to admit that the coach is a one trick pony son, and his one trick has been figured out. I compared it to when we play checkers, how he used to always try and make a wedge starting in the middle of the board but then that didnt work anymore so he had to change it up. He said "but why doesnt the coach just change it up like I did? How can I respond to that?