Meeting with the Athletic Director a few days after a miserable season ended with a loss to their biggest rivals. Brady Hoke has done a terrible job these last three years with Michigan, and there’s a good chance he walks out of his meeting with Jim Hackett looking for a new job.
The Wolverines went 5-7 under Hoke, missing out on a bowl game for only the third time in the last 40 years. They’ve won less games in each of his four season, beginning with 11 wins and a Sugar Bowl win, down to eight in the next season, 7 in 2013 and now a miserable 5-7, including going 3-5 in the conference, with some very humiliating home losses along the way.
In truth, the storm over Hoke was stronger earlier this season over the Shane Morris concussion incident. Dave Brandon, the former Athletic Director, seemed to be the top target for fans to direct their frustration at. Eventually, the awful job done by a corporate man who tried to act like he’s promoting a pizza parlor instead of one of the biggest and stories sports programs in the United States, got him to lose his job.
Hoke isn’t a villain. It’s often the circumstances that turn him into one. Being unable to turn his recruits, usually very promising, into players that succeed on the field, was probably his biggest flaw. His first year came with Rich Rodriguez recruits. The more time passed, the more it became a Hoke program, and the worse Michigan got. College Football head coaches are often given time to improve, but with Hoke, over the course of four years, everything declined.
Maybe when he meets Hackett, who is the favorite to land the full-time AD job, it’ll turn out to be a meeting between two men looking forward to working with each other. But that’ rarely how things go in a program under pressure to immediately turn things around. This isn’t a school that has patient fans and boosters, used to down seasons. They have gotten used to it in recent years, but no one is accepting it. Keeping Hoke as head coach means agreeing that Michigan is no longer a program striving to be the best.
Who comes next? Jim Harbaugh is the hottest name, but his situation with the 49ers is still unclear. If he’ll lose his job, it won’t be before January. Michigan probably can’t afford to wait that long. Recruits don’t wait around forever in hope of getting the head coach they want. They’ll simply go somewhere else. Believe it or not, things can actually get worse for Michigan before they get any better.