9 Reasons Brady Hoke Was the Right Choice for the Michigan Wolverines
After three long years of torture under the Rich Rodriguez regime, Michigan fans were allowed some relief by the announcement of his firing this past offseason.
Once the decision was handed down, questions of who the next head man at Michigan would be began to swirl. Would Jim Harbaugh return to Ann Arbor after a successful season at Stanford? Could they finally lure Les Miles from LSU?
In the end, Brady Hoke was the man deemed responsible for rebuilding a former giant of college football. Here are nine reasons to be happy as a Michigan fan about the hire.
He Wants to Be Here
The top two candidates in the coaching search, Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles, were coaches who needed to be lured away from their current positions. In Harbaugh's case, the NFL came calling and the Wolverines just couldn't compete with the allure of coaching on Sundays.
Hoke was very clear in his desire to have the head coaching positions at Michigan. He stated upon accepting the job that he would have walked from San Diego to Ann Arbor to be named head coach of the Wolverines. He even had a clause in his contract allowing for a lower buyout from San Diego State if the Michigan job came available.
Michigan fans should feel encouraged about the hiring of a man that wants nothing more than to lead the Maize and Blue on Saturday afternoons.
He Preaches Intesity and Physicality
Michigan has lacked any sign of intensity or toughness over the three years of RichRod, so Hoke's intense demeanor will be a welcomed sign for those who support the Wolverines. Hoke wants to instill toughness in a team that had been built for finesse.
In a big, strong, physical Big Ten, you have to have size and the aforementioned toughness to compete with the top teams. Michigan should see a huge upgrade under Brady Hoke as they rebuild over the next few years.
He Is Defensive-Minded
The Michigan defense was one of the absolute worst in the country last year, surrendering 35.2 points per game. It's difficult for any team to win football games when they average giving up about five touchdowns every time they take the field.
Brady Hoke knows that Michigan enjoyed their greatest success when they were a team that played great defense and focused on running the ball. There will be a heavy emphasis on these two phases of the game in 2011, setting Michigan on the right road to once again become a national contender over the next few years.
Focus on Tradition
The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry will no longer be an afterthought with Brady Hoke at the helm. Michigan has a long, rich history of tradition that should be embraced rather than ignored.
Rich Rodriguez did not seem very well-versed in Wolverine tradition, and showed that by initially attempting to give out the prestigious No. 1 jersey to an incoming freshman defensive back. Rodriguez did fix his mistake following the backlash he received over the ordeal, but probably should have done a little more homework before donning the block M.
Hoke will surely emphasize the traditions and what it means to wear the winged helmet. Coach Bo Schembechler set things in motion upon his arrival in 1969, and Brady Hoke will harken back to those days during his tenure at Michigan.
His Choice of Staff
Did anyone see Baltimore Raven defensive coordinator Greg Mattison leaving the NFL to accept a job as the Michigan defensive coordinator?
I certainly did not and was floored when I heard about the hiring. Getting Mattison to join the staff was an absolute home run hire and will immediately improve one of the worst defensive units in all of college football.
Al Borges is a very capable offensive coordinator who helped Brady Hoke's San Diego State Aztec team average 35 points per game in 2010. With several offensive weapons at his disposal, the Michigan offense will be in good hands despite changing to a pro-style set.
Hoke clearly knows the importance of hiring good assistant coaches, and has done just that in his first year in Ann Arbor.
He Is Tearing Up the Recruiting Trail
Brady Hoke has been a beast of recruiting over the last year. Michigan already has 22 spots filled in it's 2012 recruiting class, which includes one 5-star recruit and 12 4-star recruits.
The Wolverines were recently moved to No. 1 in the Scout.com team rankings, which should be very exciting for Wolverine fans. Teams that recruit better than other teams typically win more games than other teams. It's a very simple dynamic in college football.
Brady Hoke's recruiting success can also be attributed to his great hires for the coaching staff. What incoming defensive player wouldn't want to play for a defensive coordinator who has coached the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed?
Hoke Is a Mentor
Brady Hoke will mentor his players and turn them from young players into young men. He has already decided to hold out one of their best offensive players in wide receiver Darryl Stonum for the entire 2011 season because of a DUI arrest. Stonum will redshirt and be allowed back for a fifth year in 2012 assuming he shows that he is deserving of one through his behavior.
This type of leadership is becoming less frequent in college athletics, which is very disheartening. All of the greatest coaches throughout history have made it a point to turn their young kids into mature young men, and it's encouraging to see Hoke following in their footsteps.
He's Had Previous Success
Whether you want to discredit his accomplishments or not, Brady Hoke has successfully turned two programs into winners. Granted they were small schools and not in BCS conferences, but they were huge rebuild jobs.
Hoke took over at Ball State and started with four straight losing seasons. In 2008, however Brady Hoke led a turnaround for the Cardinals as they marched to a perfect 12-0 regular season and a No. 12 national ranking. They lost the MAC championship game because of two long fumble recoveries, and then the bowl game after Hoke left for SDSU, but were still an impressive team that year out of the MAC.
At San Diego State, Brady Hoke led them to their first bowl game since 1998, beating Navy 35-14 in the Poinsettia Bowl. This and his career ties to Michigan led to an opportunity for him to become the head coach for the Wolverines.
He's a Michigan Man
I know, I know. The Michigan Man thing has been drilled into the ground. But the honest truth is yes, most Michigan fans want a guy with ties to the university to be the leader of the program.
Bo Schembechler instilled a sense of pride to accompany the label of "Michigan Man" over his two decades at the helm for the Wolverines. He always emphasized the importance of it, and the tradition still carries on today with the hire of Brady Hoke.