After much speculation, the University of Michigan has reportedly decided to fire head football coach Brady Hoke.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports provided news Tuesday of the team's decision:
The news was later confirmed by interim athletic director Jim Hackett via Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com.
Hackett went on to talk about his decision via Baumgardner:
Hackett also addressed the term "Michigan Man" via ESPN's Dan Murphy:
Despite the down season, Hackett remained optimistic the school could find a top coach for Hoke's replacement via Baumgardner:
Hoke released a statement on the news via Ralph D. Russo of the Associated Press:
ESPN's Darren Rovell noted how much firing Hoke would cost the Wolverines:
The Wolverines struggled mightily this season, falling to 5-7 with Saturday's loss to Ohio State. Michigan righted the ship a bit after starting the season 2-4, but it has settled for a malaise of mediocrity under Hoke.
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Losing wasn't the only issue plaguing the Michigan program under Hoke. After a Sept. 27 matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Hoke came under fire for allowing quarterback Shane Morris to remain in the game after sustaining an apparent concussion. The coach received plenty of criticism in the ensuing days, forcing him to release a statement, via Auerbach:
Still, it was almost surprising at the time for the coach to keep his job, as Paul Finebaum of ESPN argued:
Baumgardner and Jon Solomon of CBS Sports provided comments from Hoke regarding his decision to let Morris continue playing. The coach insisted he wouldn't have kept Morris on the field had he felt the player's health was at risk.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon released a statement and cited a "serious lack of communication" for how the situation was handled, via MGoBlue.com.
Hoke, 56, got off to a great start at Michigan after coming over from San Diego State in 2011. The Wolverines went 11-2 in his first year at the helm, including a win over Virginia Tech at the Sugar Bowl. Since then, however, things have gotten progressively worse, with an 8-5 record the following season and then a 7-6 mark in 2013.
Fans started to shower him with boos during the poor start to the 2014 season, although he refused to acknowledge it.
"I didn't hear it. When you're in the moment, you really don't," he said after the loss to Minnesota. "This is a big-boy business."
Michigan tight end Jake Butt tweeted support for his outgoing coach on Tuesday:
Unfortunately for Hoke, the school agreed with the rest of the fanbase and removed him from his position. Beating the Buckeyes almost certainly wouldn't have saved his job, but losing to OSU by 14 points only served to make his departure even more of an inevitability.
The defeat also meant Hoke wouldn't have the satisfaction of finishing his Michigan career with a bowl game.
After going almost 40 years without a losing season under Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr, Michigan has dealt with plenty of mediocrity under Rich Rodriguez and Hoke. It is clear the program would like to hire someone capable of turning things around in a hurry.
With this being the case, do not be surprised to see the school go all out in an effort to bring in a high-profile hire who can help both the team and Michigan's image.
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