Brady Hoke was announced and introduced as Michigans new football coach today, and he did a great job with his first appearance. I knew Brady when he was with Michigan as an assistant coach, and I can tell you, he hasn't changed a bit. With considerable success at Ball State and San Diego State as a head coach, you might think he had changed a bit with the trappings of a head coach surrounding hium, but he hasn't. He's still the same, passionate, affable, easy going, yet intense, football guy.
With former players making the trek to Ann Arbor from considerable distances to be there for Brady Hoke, the mood at the Jonge Center was really special. It was clear by who was there that this guy is loved and respected by these Michigan insiders. I couldn't have been happier, because it is the first step in reuniting the incredible football base behind the head coach. We really need it, and Brady Hoke delivered just by showing up. This is the right guy!!!
He said all the right things, and there is no need for me to go into that here, you'll get all that from the newspapers, if you read them. The points I want to make are the impressions I got.
First, he said he'd have walked here from San Diego for the job, in other words he really wants this job, and it's the last coaching job he will ever have. That's music to my ears. Second, he talked about character and toughness and that his teams would play with both. He talked about effort, and that his teams would never lack that. Third, he talked about he is an educator reminding everyone in attendance that football is a conduit to teaching life skills, and that was a critical component to his philosophy as a coach. Fourth, he singled out Denard Robinson as a special player. It indicates to me, he's going to find a way for Denard to excel no matter what kind of offense he runs. He is flexible in his approach to adapt his coaching to the skills of the players he has. Fifth, he talked about his background as a defensive coach, and that he didn't care about scheme as much as he did about results. He wants his defense to be physical and tough. It's the way he played, and its what he expects out of his team.
These comments aren't just lip service. He means it. Michigan is in good hands with this guy. The players I spoke to are very excited about him. The showing of his former guys in attendance proves he's a players coach, that will contiunue with his career at Michigan.
Now a comment about the process. I've heard a lot of crap about Athletic Director Dave Brandons week long odyessy in getting this done. The comments have not always been positive. Well friends, if my opinion matters at all, give Brandon high praise for getting this done, and high praise for the way he did it.
Look, Brandon told us a week ago what he was going to do. Then he went out and did it. He didn't rush it. He had a process. He followed the process and didn't waver despite daily innacurate reports about his progress. He did his due diligence. He interviewed candidates, he gathered the information, and when all the data was collected to his satisfaction on his list, he made the best decision for Michigan. That decision was a slam dunk for Brady Hoke.
And remember this, Brady Hoke was the only candidate he talked to who was offered the job. So to suggest Hoke wasn't his first choice is just wrong! Jim Harbaugh was the hot candidate at first..he was never offered the job by Brandon. Les Miles was the next hot candidate...Les was never offered the job by Brandon. Only Hoke was offered the job, and he took it without question or condition. He didn't even ask how much it paid! He was Michigans first choice, and in my judgement the right choice.
The other guys mentioned in this search were the choices of the media and talk show hosts. The problem with that is that they don't do the hiring or firing, only Brandon does that. He was the only one with a vote, nobody else had a vote. If you believe anything else, you are being led astray by those who want you to think they knew what was going on, and I'm here to tell you they didn't.
This process worked. It allowed the best candidate for Michigan to identify himself. Brady Hoke was that guy. You know, Loyd Carr once said about the Michigan Football coaching job that "you didn't find the Michigan job, the Michigan job found you." In this case, it found Brady Hoke.
Go Brady, Go Blue.