Update: Hoke Springs Eternal

By Luke on January 11, 2011 at 2:10p

Oh, college football coaching searches. A time honored tradition of innuendo, here say, conjecture, and FlightAware. Not even 24 hours removed from speaking with Michigan brass about their Great Lakes sized vacancy, the Mad Hatter has removed his name from consideration:

"I am pleased to announce that Les Miles will remain the head coach at LSU," said [LSU Athletic Director Joe] Alleva. "Les has led this program to many great successes on the field and his players represent LSU well off the field. We look forward to many great years of LSU football under his leadership."

Six days deep into the process with valuable recruiting time slipping by the minute, Michigan is approaching desperation (*cough* Hoke *cough*) territory.

And right on cue, would you look at that:

When the girl who eats grass turns you down for the prom, sometimes there's no where else left to go except the overweight girl who's been poking you on facebook for years.

What say you? With Brandon and co. headed to San Diego, is it Brady Hoke's job to lose? Or will a mystery coordinator (Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Alabama's Kirby Smart, or Oregon's Mark Helfrich, etc) swoop in allowing Michigan to quasi-save face (albeit amidst many questions)?

UPDATE: Brady Hoke is a Michigan Man through and through and now he's the head coach at the University of Michigan. Remember: Jim Tressel wasn't exactly Ohio State's first choice either.


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SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

I actually think Hoke is a better choice than Miles. I can see him excelling at Michigan, easily.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree. Time will tell, but Hoke has LOOKED to me like the best choice all along.

I appreciate that Les Miles is known as an excellent recruiter and has had a good track record of developing talent (then, again, he's got a lot of built-in advantages at LSU). But does anyone think he's a good, reliable in-game coach? I mean, the types of head coaches who are known as delegators - like Les Miles - tend to come to the forefront only during special situations. For example, end-of-half strategy and clock management. How does Miles perform in those situations?

I see Hoke as a big (potential) risk, big (potential) reward pick with much more upside than Les Miles. Actually, why should Michigan SETTLE for a good but not great coach like Les Miles? 

Maybe Michigan favored Hoke all along, was not overly impressed with Miles in person, but they allowed Miles the courtesy of pretending that he was removing himself from consideration on his own accord? 

NW Buckeye's picture

Hoke will be a good choice, but he obviously is not the first choice.  And, what if Stanford beats UM to the punch? 

Let's see, scUM was turned down by Jim Harbaugh, turned down by Les Miles after it was reported during the BCS Bowl that he would accept if offered, and now they are on their way to curtain #3, and we will never know how many "not interested" replies they received without the public knowing.  As I stated earlier, the circus in Ann Arbor makes it difficult to bring in the obvious choice (at least in the fans' minds).  It may not be the "We have a lot of qualified coaches beating down our door" atmosphere that Brandon was trying to make everyone believe.

And, for what it is worth, Brandon will probably try to spin this as the interviews with others were just gathering information about Hoke in the first place. 

Kyle Rowland's picture

Hoke would never go to Stanford over Michigan. He has stated time and again that Michigan is his dream job. I also don't even know if Stanford is considering him. They seem pretty gung-ho on one of their assistants. 

As for this hire, I think it is a good one for the Wolverines. Hoke has shown he can turn a program around. His familiarity with Michigan will certainly help too. He will walk into this job and be welcomed with open arms. That means a little something. I'd say the chances of Brady Hoke never beating Ohio State are slim to none. He may not be a world better, but Michigan will be back competing for Big Ten titles in the not too distant future. 

Kyle's picture

And this is how TSUN got in to trouble last time.  Grasping at straws (not that Hoke is in that category but might be) is how Dick and Rita Rod ended up in Ann Arbor.  Desperation doesn't go well with the maize and blue.

The_Lurker's picture

Pat Fitzgerald also asked to not be considered, and Gary Pinkel from Missouri as well.

It is 2:30 a.m. at the bar, the bouncers are asking everone to leave the bar and Dave Brandon is furiously trolling the leftovers for someone to take home.

ERIC OSU's picture

Hahaha I love the analogy... I think its more like 1:45 a.m and the bar turns on the bright lights and tells everyone to get the hell out.... commence scramble for the leftovers!

OHIOinME's picture


Do the hokey pokey and turn your self around, because that's what it's all about...because we need some credit for beating you.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

I see Nebraska and FSU in Michigan's future. Those two programs are still wandering around aimlessly on the gridiron for their return to greatness. Personally, I could care less to see Michigan turn it around. Its awesome to see such an arrogant fanbase being humbled.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

btalbert25's picture

It is kind of funny that people want Michigan good again.  We despise the SEC, yet some of Michigan's fans opinions of Ohio State aren't all that much different than the ones We have of SEC schools.  Michigan has always kind of laughed at Ohio State's academic requirements and that some of the guys that have played or do play in Columbus would never have a prayer of getting into Michigan.  I've also heard comments about recruiting, being redneck, backward, too slow, coaches that don't match up to theirs etc.  In a lot of ways they kind of treat us in the same regard as we treat the SEC.  I hope they stay bad forever to be honest.  In all likelihood they'll be good sooner rather than later, but I can hold out hope that they'll remain terrible for a while.

Matt's picture

Jim Tressel was something like Ohio State's fourth or fifth choice.  It has turned out pretty well for OSU.  I'm not overly knowledgable about Hoke, but he strikes me as a guy made in the Tressel mold -- emphasis on defense and running the ball and on placing tradition at the forefront.  After Michigan gets over its embarrassment re: Harbaugh and Miles, they will embrace Hoke.  I expect we'll see something akin to Tressel's speech at halftime at the 2001 basketball game -- except, where Rich Rod came off flat, Hoke will make Michigan believe. 

yrro's picture

But Tress had some real success before he came to Ohio State. Granted, at a lower division, but he dominated that division.

Hoke has had... one good year? At a program that crashed and burned after that one year?

He seems like a solid candidate for Illinois or Minnesota or something, but Michigan you'd think could look higher.

Btw, I bet after all the news is out, Les Miles should send them a thank you card for making him the highest paid coach in the SEC.

tomcollins's picture

Was he the fifth choice?

I'll admit I wasn't very keen on him initially being an "unproven" and "unknown" candidate, but after getting to know more about him it became clear that he was the right man for the job.  Tressel at least had some really successful seasons under his belt.

Hoke, while the Ball State story is nice, managed only 1 1st place finish in his division at Ball State.  SDSU has improved, but still it's only 2 years on the job.

He may be a solid double for them, but in no way is he that great of a get.  He's got a paper thin track record of success, other than a lucky season at Ball State (mostly due to playing absolutely no one).

He may be a success for them, but most coaches aren't, and I'm far from convinced he'll be the guy.

BuckiGirl's picture

Hoke rhymes with choke and joke, so I think it's a match made in heaven.

Luke's picture

Don't give in to the Hippie! It's what he wants us to do.

BuckiGirl's picture

OMG, please don't tell me I thought the same thing as that man. I take it back!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Also: coke, smoke, croak, broke, poke, stroke, woke, yoke, revoke.

I think you're on to something. Hoke might be the greatest gift to TTUN limerick writers evah!

btalbert25's picture

In all honesty it's hard to say if Hoke will be good or not.  Going in, I thought Rich Rod may be a tough coach to have to deal with every year.  I honestly though Michigan would've been much better under him.  He had been a success at different levels and seemed primed to take a big job at a big School.  I was worried.

Conversely, Tressel seemed like a not so positive hire.  Here was a guy that I had never really heard of. He wasn't the best name out there, and he had coached in D I-A.  The program was down and I wasn't sure sure he'd be the one to bring it back.  For every Urban Meyer there is a Rich Rod.  For every Nick Saban, there is a Steve Spurier who has been pretty good, but never seemed to get that success back that he had at Florida.   This year was arguably his best at USC and they had what, 4 losses? 

Whoever gets hired will have quite a job infront of them.  I know nothing about Hoke, but I guess he is "Michigan Man" (good god I'll be glad when we don't hear that term anymore) He may be able to turn them around, but if I were a fan of that program, I would really hope they could bring in a big name with proven success on the big stage. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Bo Schembechler went straight from Miami, Oh to Michigan. Granted he spent six years in Miami, going 40-17-3 there before getting the big promotion. Yet Miami also won the MAC the year before under John Pont, who was 43-22 in seven years there before Bo took over.

Brady Hoke has stepped into much more difficult (re)building jobs at BSU and SDSU. His overall record is only 47-50, but he got BSU to 12-1 in 2008 and completely turned around SDSU in two seasons.

One caveat: Hoke had the two peak years at BSU and SDSU, respectively, when he was able to benefit from top level QB play. Nate Davis at BSU, obviously. But, if you watched the Pointsettia Bowl this year, that kid Ryan Lindley has an absolute rocket of an arm (and he's throwing to really good receivers). Of course, Hoke should be given credit for developing those QBs, too.  



btalbert25's picture

Again, I'm not saying he won't work, just seems like a big risk.  I think it's fair to say that RichRod had a more proven track record at a higher level.  He has done a good job at a pretty low level of FBS football.  It's not to say he isn't going to be great, or doesn't have the potential to turn them around, but with out the power of a big celebrity name, are Michigan fans going to be patient enough to wait more than 3 years for a seemingly unproven coach to turn the program around?

Kurt's picture


Buckeye Scottie's picture

I gotta think this is Miles last chance at scUM, right?  I mean, for supposedly wanting/dreaming to go back to Michigan this is twice now he has turned them down. 

Luke's picture

It's easy to forget that homedude is 57. Both the window and the door is probably closed at this point.

Rooster Buckburn's picture

I heard the earthquake in Ohio last week was due to the fact that Michigan has hit rock bottom.

Powers's picture

and there it is..... Michigan hires Hoke

that meeting must have taken 3 minutes

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Yes. And honestly, of course I love you guys at Eleven Warriors and you all do a marvelous job, but the sarcastic nature of this entry and referring to Hoke as the less attractive option might come back to bite you. This guy really wants to coach Michigan, knows the program through and through, and has a reputation as a program builder. He might be the best choice of any coach, including Harbaugh.

Luke's picture

No, I completely agree. I think he'll be a huge success. The blurb was written sort of to poke fun while the fanbase was up in arms, but in all honesty, I think Hoke will be incredibly successful for the Wolverines.

SouthPlainfieldNut's picture

Right. And regardless, poking fun at Michigan fans is always awesome. Next year's game could be interesting... I can easily see a Michigan team going 8-4 or 7-5, yet either giving Ohio State a huge scare or (hopefully not) pulling the upset in Ann Arbor at season's end.

tomcollins's picture

If he gets a chance.

It will take a few seasons to fully switch back.  The defense will be a bit better just by aging, but he is already an unpopular choice among many Michigan fans, and it's going to be hard to get the patience needed to succeed.

jbenz's picture

Will someone enlighten me?  Who were the top choices for the head coaching spot when the Bucks hired Jim Tressel?  (There are some comments here stating he was the fourth or fifth choice).  I just can't remember the other names and I'm curious.  Thanks.

The_Lurker's picture

I was also trying to remember and couldn't. I thought Glen Mason's name might have been in the mix, but I could be just old and senile.

The_Lurker's picture

It's not that I forgot. It's that history has erased all other possibilities from existence. There was never anyone but Tress.

tomcollins's picture

Glen Mason was my uneducated and uninformed favorite at the time.  He would have been OK, but we made the right choice.

Jason Priestas's picture

Mason, Bellotti, Gruden, Spielman were all names floated. Bellotti pulled out, but did meet with OSU. Not sure how serious Gruden ever was, but Mason and Spielman both wanted it.

NW Buckeye's picture

The big difference was that supposedly Bellotti was the only one who came close to an offer before JT was hired.  Mason, and Spielman would both have taken the job if offered. Also, Fred Pagac put in for the job and had the support of past players, but was never offered.  JT was either the first or second it was offered to, depending on who you believe.  The UM search seems to have run the gamet, with a few rejections by some of the candiates before offering to Hoke. 

That said, Hoke will most likely be a good hire.  He wants to be there and understands some of the traditions.  Needless to say, he will be better than RichRod, but hey, they could have hired Brewster and still been able to say that. 

Bucksfan's picture

Tress came in and had some serious NFL talent remaining, particularly on defense, from Cooper's recruiting.  That pipeline only got stronger as JT solidified himself in year 2.  Hoke has an empty defense and a gimmick offense.  Whether he can resurrect Michigan's recruiting of Ohio players is key to his success.

DaveH's picture

I think that any coach deserves a chance at the very least. You never know, he may surprise even the most critical of fans and players. In any event, it is going to be interesting.