Why Are People Defending Hoke?

Submitted by 303john on November 12th, 2014 at 3:09 PM

I for the life of me don't see him staying.. 


From Marcus defending him and Jon Jansen defending him today on his podcast..



Is it the Carr faction grasping at straws?? 


On a side note did anyone listen to Marcus Ray this morning? 


He basiclly called Hoke out when he was stating OSU out coached MSU..






November 12th, 2014 at 3:16 PM ^

Because players legitimately like the guy and want to see him do well.  They get to have a say too.
At the end of the day, I don't think it will matter . . . the record will do all the talking.


November 12th, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

does not quite have the same ring to it, but I tend to believe "the available replacements will do the talking" as opposed to the record.

It is hard to see it, but there is really a worse thing than Hoke coming back, and that is us hiring the next Brady Hoke.  He is not going to be fired for the hell of it.  He is going to be fired if the guy is already lined up.

I know people think that Hoke is going to be fired no matter what but I don't think that is the case and I really don't think it has to do with a bowl game.  I think it has everything to do with who is available and will come here.


November 12th, 2014 at 3:28 PM ^

I heard the MSU fan sub-in host this morning on 107.3 (the guy subbing in for  Bentley the Clown) saying the same thing you are in your first sentence, as he was defending Hoke by saying "Who is going to coach Michigan if they fire Hoke?! They should keep him"


Is Michigan the only school out there that seems to not know how to do a good coaching search and transition properly? Why does it seem to be rocket science for them to have to transition from one coach to another?


November 12th, 2014 at 3:41 PM ^

There are plenty of schools that have done poor coaching searches over the years.  Look at Alabama - with the exception of Gene Stallings, every hire between Bryant and Saban was poor.  Oklahoma's hires between Switzer and Stoops were poor.  USC had a string of medicore hires in the 80's and 90's.  Heck, ND between Holtz and Kelly was one bad hire after another. 


November 12th, 2014 at 3:56 PM ^

Is it solely retrospective, based on whether he exceeded expectations or not?

About half of FBS every year has a losing record (well, now that there's an even number of games in the regular season 6-6 screws that up a bit but you get the drift), and given the nature of fandom I'm guessing more than half of FBS each year has a season the fans consider disappointing. I'm guessing it's true, simply by definition, that there are more bad hires than good.


November 12th, 2014 at 4:55 PM ^

If you go into this thinking the next hire is "the next Brady Hoke", well then you might as well just stick with what you have and accept being a mediocre team.  

However, what if the next hire is "not the next Brady Hoke"?  Isn't that a possibilty too? Maybe the next coach turns out to be "the next Nick Saban/Bo Schembechler/Urban Meyer"?  Are you not willing to take the risk of potentially hiring a better coach?  Afterall, given the last 4 years, I think we know what kind of coach we have now and he's not meeting expectations.  

Cronan the Barbarian

November 12th, 2014 at 6:02 PM ^

I understand the fan base's affinity for Schembechler, especially how he won a lot of games / Big10 championships and did it the right way.....

That said he never won a National Championship. His offense was apparently (I am too young to have watched so correct me if wrong) not forward looking at all. 

Meanwhile Michigan had Fitz and Yost coaching pre 1950's who by all accounts were incredibly innovative compared to the rest of the country and each won multiple national titles. 

Why do so many want to point to Bo as the peak of this program in regards to coaching? Isn't the fans and coaching staffs insistance on this "toughness" as opposed to innovation what has essentially stalled the program?




November 12th, 2014 at 6:40 PM ^

As someone who followed Michigan football since 1982, I will say straight out that yes, we are a little bit guilty of revisionist history about Bo.  We did not think about him then as the football demigod that we think he is now.
Bo was stubborn, and we bitched about it at the time.  He was a "fundamentals" guy, not an "innovation" guy.  When those fundamentals came up against an opponent with better athletes or innovation, he struggled.  He was not going to beat you with schemes.  If his guys could not beat you on execution, he was done.
What separated Bo from a couple of National Championships was the lack of willingness to call about three total pass attempts on third and short during his career.  Not much more.  He could have gotten there.
So, yes, I will grant you that he had his flaws. 
But that being said, he was very good at what he was trying to do.  His defense was tough.  His offense was Manball.  It was not just talk. He was able to do what he intended to do.
He put Michigan back on the map after a down period that was easily the equivalent of what we are in today.


November 12th, 2014 at 8:19 PM ^

But it's important to recognize the hyperbole that goes with this "affinity for Bo." It's the knee-jerk reaction that Bo was great and all our coaches should be llike Bo that's caused our decline. RR wasn't Bo and had a different philosophy than Bo, so he was basically run out of town even though before and after his stint here he was, and is, considered an excellent coach.

We need to accept that Bo was good, not great, even in his heyday, and though he kept Michigan relevent, he never made Michigan elite (using the NC metric) mainly because he failed to keep up with the new trends -- like the forward pass -- and was extremely conservative and predictable. He couldn't win it all then, and he certainly couldn't now.

For the next coach, we need to start thinking outside the Bo Box, outside the Michigan Man Box, outside the Manball Box, and any other self-limiting parameters of Tradition we put on ourselves. We need to look forward, not back. What matters is seeing excellence on the field. Seeing improvement on the field. Getting wins. And last but not least, winning National Championships. 


November 12th, 2014 at 6:57 PM ^

Maybe this is part of the reason why? B1G winning percentages at the school (minimum 20 games):

  1. Schembechler .855
  2. Yost .796
  3. Carr .779
  4. Crisler .777
  5. Moeller .775
  6. Oosterbaan .648
  7. Hoke .600
  8. Kipke .560
  9. Elliott .485
  10. Rodriguez .250

85% against your peers would be good regardless, but the contrast to the period immediately prior is stark. People think "big two/little eight" but Michigan had lost more conference games than they'd won, in the decade before Bo.


November 12th, 2014 at 7:23 PM ^

That's because the Big Ten in the 50s and 60s was arguably the best it's ever been. OSU and Michigan State were the best followed by Minnesota and Illinois. Purdue, Wisconsin, and Iowa were also solid. Even Indiana managed to get to a Rose Bowl in there. 

It wasn't the Big 2 little 8 until the 70s. 


November 12th, 2014 at 8:45 PM ^

I'd suggest that the conference was mediocre during those years. Look at its Rose Bowl record for the '70s: 1-9

Michigan was to football during that period what Kansas was for many years in basketball (a team with a slightly outsized rep based on beating up a crappy conference).

Cronan the Barbarian

November 12th, 2014 at 7:26 PM ^

That is a good point. That said, if you take a look at the Football National Championships won by the Big 10 by decade, I think that it would show the Yost and Crisler were competing in a significantly stronger conference. BIG Football championships decade (note early years had more than one Big team share the title and multiple ties with non-BIG teams):

1901-10: 6

1911-20: 4

1921-30: 6

1931-40: 8

1941-50: 6

1951-60: 4

1961-70: 5

1971-80: 0

1981-90: 0

1991-2000: 1

2001-10: 1

2011-Curent: 0

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Big_Ten_Conference_national_champi…




November 12th, 2014 at 10:52 PM ^

Those were B1G winning percentages, not overall. Michigan's peers are the large, midwestern state schools. There's been a lot of change in non-conference scheduling over the years, but the conference is the conference.

Mpfnfu Ford

November 12th, 2014 at 8:56 PM ^

To look back at the past and the record of a coach like Bo and complain about the lack of national titles. The pre Bowl Alliance-Bowl Coalition-BCS "national championship" was so bloody stupid and nonsensical. Bama won one after losing it's bowl game! And The Big 10 had some really wonky rules that kept Michigan out of some Rose Bowls that if they had been in and won could have meant an AP title or some such. It was just a lot dumber then. 

If Bo doesn't have his health problems and was able to coach in the THERE'S A NATIONAL TITLE GAME era, he could have gotten that ring that eluded him, as it did other great coaches like Bowden and Tom Osborne. Of course he would have probably been screwed like Lloyd was by the Rose Bowl deal pre-BCS, but a share of a title is still a share.


Bo and Canham are the reason Michigan is MICHIGAN and not Pitt West. Not trying to take anything away from Fielding Yost and that era of Michigan athletics, but there was a real small number of schools playing top level football in those days. The success Bo had, and the fact that he was able to have success without shaming the university like the Jackie Sherrils of the world, has allowed Michigan to still command a respect that they STILL haven't managed to totally flush away.


November 12th, 2014 at 9:15 PM ^

I was thinking Minnesota East, instead of Pitt West.

In the mid- to late-60's Minnesota and Michigan were in the same place: still high in the all-time-wins listings (Minnesota was still ahead of OSU in all-time winning percentage as late as 1967) but with reputations as traditional powers that weren't supported by recent results, except for one fine Rose Bowl season for each ('61 and '64).

If you could go back in time to the '67 Jug game and you told the fans there that one of these schools would win 39 of the next 42 played between the teams, or that one was about to embark on a stretch of 40 straight winning seasons while the other had seen their last Rose Bowl for half a century, they wouldn't believe you and they'd have no idea which team was supposed to be which.

There but for the grace of Canham....

Mpfnfu Ford

November 12th, 2014 at 9:33 PM ^

1. Hire someone like Bo or Tom Osborne who could win without shaming your school. 

2. Choose your schools reputation over football success and become Minnesota

3. Sell out and hire shysters like Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherill or Ron Meyer, and either lose your reputation as a university or over correct into being worse than the Minnesotas of the world to try to get it back. 

Neither 2 or 3 are great places to be.


November 12th, 2014 at 6:11 PM ^

With a small handful of exceptions, every school that has an elite coach now took a risk on hiring that coach.  It is only in retrospect that it looked obvious.

LSU took a chance on Saban from middle-of-the pack Big Ten MSU.

Florida took a chance on Meyer from no-name Utah at the time.

LSU took a chance on Miles from up-and-down OK state.

USC took a chance on NFL re-tread Pete Carroll.

OSU took a chance on 1 AA Youngstown State Tressel.

God knows, Michigan took a chance on Bo who? from Miami of Ohio.

It is very rare that a program can hire a ready-made elite coach that has already done it somewhere else.  Alabama got Saban, Ohio State got Meyer, but these are lucky right-place-at-the-right-time hires.

If the planets align and Michigan gets Harbaugh, it will be a stroke of good luck completely out of the norm.  If we have to do it like everyone else and take a risk on an unproven commodity, it is not a disaster.  It's the norm.  Other programs have figured out how to do it. 


November 12th, 2014 at 7:09 PM ^

Saban took Michigan State to 9-2 in 1999, their best record in more than a decade (1991-1998 they lost 5+ games every year), before moving up.

Meyer took Bowling Green (who'd lost 6+ games the prior six years straight) to 8-3 and 9-3 seasons before moving on to Utah.  Then he took over a Utah program that had 4+ losses nearly every single year to 10-2 and 12-0 including a BCS bowl win (the first BCS bowl win for a non-AQ team), before moving on to Florida.

Jim Tressel had several mediocre seasons at Youngstown State to start out, so he didn't take them quickly to unprecedented heights as Meyer/Saban did.  But after about 5 years he took them on a run of three national titles in four years, and won I-AA coach of the year four times.

All of these guys were picked up from lesser programs and/or lesser divisions, BUT the one thing they had in common was that they were highly successful head coaches at those programs.  Taking a I-AA (er, "FCS") head coach who's won multiple national titles, or a non-AQ head coach with an undefeated season and BCS bowl win, or a coach who's taken an average-plus AQ team to unusually good years... those aren't really huge risks.  (Harbaugh more or less fits the third category.)

In my view, a risk is picking up a young-and-promising coordinator (like Ohio's OC).  That's a big gamble that might pay off big, or might not work out at all.  (What if he's largely a figurehead and Meyer is the brain trust by himself, for example?)  I'd prefer not to go that route; IMO any elite program should be able to pick from among folks who've already proven themselves highly effective head coaches.


November 12th, 2014 at 10:27 PM ^

There is always risk.  Significant risk.  

You are mentioning coaches who you already know succeeded at an elite level and saying that success at lower levels predicted it.

But if you go through the records of P5 coaches that are fired every year, you will see a steady stream of coaches that had great records at lower levels.  It is by no means low-risk to pick a coach who won FCS NCs or had non-AQ BCS bowl wins or had good years with lower tier AQ schools.

Right now, Craig Bohl, Doc Holliday, and David Cutcliffe all fit the formula you mentioned.  Don't think for a minute that there would not be significant risk in hiring any one of them to a place like Michigan.    

You do your best due-dilligence, but then you cross your fingers.


November 12th, 2014 at 7:29 PM ^

"It is hard to see it, but there is really a worse thing than Hoke coming back, and that is us hiring the next Brady Hoke. He is not going to be fired for the hell of it. He is going to be fired if the guy is already lined up."

Brady Hoke will not be able to recruit at the same level since recruits will shy away from a coach that is on the chopping block. Even if the next Brady Hoke is hired, at least the new Hoke will have a chance to bring in a good recruiting class..


November 13th, 2014 at 4:28 AM ^

I agree...

If you keep Hoke then you basically have to extend his contract otherwise it would be playing Russian Roulette hoping that he has a GREAT season next year...one that clearly takes him off the hot seat. Otherwise, if Hoke flounders the program will sink likely two, maybe three recruiting classes. 


November 12th, 2014 at 3:22 PM ^

I think it's just because they like to be different and they like to argue.

EDIT - ^^ This applies to fans.  For why players are doing it, see the several people below who gave great reasons (loyalty, don't want to be wrong, etc.)