Stories indexed with the term ‘Brady Hoke’

Column: The Hope for Hoke

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Moments before the Michigan Wolverines introduced Brady Hoke as their new head football coach in 2011, Michigan fans had lots of questions. Why not hire a national star like Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh, who both played at Michigan? Who was Brady Hoke? Was he up to the task of taking over the Wolverines, and returning the team to glory?

Hoke answered these questions by nailing his first press conference. He won over more Michigan fans in just a few minutes than his predecessor, Rich Rodriguez, had been able to capture in three years, for a variety of reasons. When a reporter asked Hoke if the Wolverines would be rebuilding in his first season, he famously replied, “This is Michigan, for godsakes” – and a star was born.

It’s hard to remember a happier honeymoon than Hoke’s. In his rookie season, the Wolverines beat Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State – the latter for the first time in eight years. They won their first BCS bowl game since a young man named Tom Brady did the job in 2000, en route to an 11-2 record. From the fans in the stands to the team in the trenches, the love for Coach Hoke was universal.

But then a great senior class graduated, the schedule got tougher, and Michigan’s amazing luck finally ran out. Hoke’s second team went 8-5, but most fans gave Hoke a pass, and I believe rightly so.

But the Wolverines don’t look much better this year, and might even be worse. [Full Story]

Column: Brady Hoke’s Sophomore Slump

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon

Exactly one year ago, Brady Hoke was the darling of Michigan football fans.

He’d charmed even the doubters at his first press conference – where he coined his now famous phrase, “This is Michigan, for God’s sake!” – then led a team that had averaged just five wins a season over the previous three years to a 10-2 regular-season record, including thrilling wins over Notre Dame, Nebraska and arch-rival Ohio State. Then he capped it all off with an overtime upset of Virginia Tech in the prestigious Sugar Bowl – Michigan’s first BCS bowl victory since a young man named Tom Brady beat Alabama on Jan. 1, 2000.

The man could do no wrong. When Hoke started referring to injuries as “boo-boos” and Ohio State as “Ohio,” fans did not think he was an ignoramus who knew nothing about the greatest rivalry in sports – as they surely would have if Rich Rodriguez had said the same things – but a motivational genius, who understood exactly what the duel was all about.

When fans noticed Hoke did not wear a headset during games – unlike just about every other coach in the country – they did not conclude he was an out-of-touch, glorified cheerleader, but a master delegator and teacher, trusting the play calling to his assistants while he focused on coaching his players.

When you’re winning, everything’s cool. But when you start losing, the same people who patted you on the back start questioning your quirks. [Full Story]