Editorial: University of Michigan can now look to futurePublished 8:18am Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
It is time for Michigan football fans to put the past three years behind them and begin looking to the future.
The University of Michigan announced late Tuesday afternoon that former Wolverine assistant coach and current San Diego State coach Brady Hoke would become the school’s 19th head coach in its 131-year history.
For the past three years, the nightmare that was the Rich Rodriguez era left Michigan fans wanting more. More quality contests, more improvement and yes, more victories.
Those things just never seem to come under Rodriguez’s guidance and the notion of giving him more time to turn the program around was not something they were willing to endure.
So new athletic director Dave Brandon pulled the trigger earlier this month and dismissed the embattled coach.
Wolverine fans began drooling over the possibility of getting former standout quarterback Jim Harbaugh away from Stanford. But that wasn’t going to happen either. As Brandon tried to tell them, Harbaugh had his sights set on the National Football League.
That left the names of Hoke, a defensive assistant at Michigan from 1995 until 2002, and LSU’s Les Miles at the top of the list.
Miles would have been a better choice than Rodriguez three years ago, but the Tiger mentor is not the right man for the job now.
First of all, no one is sure if Miles can rebuild a program. The LSU program he took over when Nick Saban bolted for the NFL was in great shape. He just tweaked it and kept the Tigers rolling along.
Hoke has proven himself at a couple of stops as a head coach. He led a dreadful Ball State program, of which he is an alum, to the top of the college football mountain in 2008 as the Cardinals were 12-0 heading into a Bowl Championship Series contest.
Those 12 wins were a new school record and the first undefeated Mid-American Conference campaign for the program as well. His Cardinals also won the 2007 West Division title in the MAC.
He then moved on to San Diego State to take over another program that had fallen on hard times.
He was named the 2010 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Aztecs to a 9-4 overall mark and a 5-3 record in the conference. San Diego State earned a bowl bid and defeated a pretty good Navy team 35-14 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
While those numbers are all fine and good and give Hoke credit, it’s some other numbers that impress us even more and make him the right hire for the Wolverines.
Hoke was a member of the defensive coaching staff that helped Michigan win a share of the 1997 National Championship. The Wolverines were stellar on defense that season. They led the nation in rushing defense and yards per carry.
Another important statistic is a 5-3 record against Michigan State and Ohio State.
Brady Hoke may not make a lot of people go wow when they hear his name, but he is the type of football coach that Michigan fans can grow to love.
After fiddling around with the spread offense for the past three years and paying dearly for it, it is time for the Wolverines to get back to playing Michigan football and Brady Hoke is just the man to lead them back to where they belong, standing atop the college football world as one of the game’s elite programs.