Back 9: Michigan Hokey PokeyWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
The PGA Tour opened the 2011 season at Kapalua Plantation on Maui with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Jonathan Byrd won his second consecutive tournament and pocketed a cool $1.1 million to open the year. Phil could not be bothered to show up and Tiger didn’t qualify. Maybe Tim Finchem needs to work on his first tournament of the season plan. Oh well, the really important sports news centered around Ann Arbor, Michigan last week.
The rumors were flying in hyper galactic speed around Maize and Blue country last week after suffering through another less than fulfilling football season under the always turbulent tutelage of RichRod and their lifeless loss on New Year’s Day to that power house from the south, Mississippi State. The axe finally fell on Wednesday and probably came as somewhat of a relief to the beleaguered Rodriguez. Let’s not feel too sorry for him though he will still be getting a $2.5 million going away present deposited into his checking account from Michigan through 2011.
Michigan Athletic Director, Dave Brandon, had had enough. He needed someone who not only could spell DEFENSE but understood the importance of Michigan Tradition and beating that team from Ohio. He needed a full out Michigan Man. High on that list was ex-Wolverine quarterback Jim Harbaugh. He would come riding in on a white horse from that bastion of learning Stanford where he had turned the football fortunes around in lightning speed and had The Cardinal competing at the highest level. Only problem was Harbaugh was on everybody’s short list and he decided that the San Francisco area was somewhat nicer than Detroit for much of the year, maybe even all of the year. He said thanks but no thanks to his Alma Mater and opted to sign on with the NFL 49ers.
Next on the list was a true Michigan Man, Les “The Mad Hatter” Miles. Miles has been very successful at LSU garnering a National Championship and even beating that team from Columbus along the way. Les decided that the SEC is a pretty fair to middlin’ conference maybe even better than the BIG 10 and just maybe coming to Michigan might be a step backwards on his career path. Again AD Brandon came up empty. Where are all the good Michigan Men when you really need one.
There were even a couple of other Michigan Men’s names mentioned that would bring a high profile coaching presence to Ann Arbor but none seemed to be too eager to jump right into that ugly winged helmet.
The clock was ticking, Brandon was in the two minute drill. He had to hit the big one. He made his decision. San Diego State Head Coach, Brady Hoke was announced as the next UM Head Coach. Who?? The guy has an overall record of 47-50. However, he did build winning programs at Ball State and San Diego State. He even got SDSU into a bowl game in 2010. Did you even know that they played Div 1 football out there?
The kicker here is that Michigan and AD Brandon may have just accidently gotten this one right. Brady Hoke is a true Michigan Man and relishes the opportunity to come back to his roots and rebuild a once proud football program. He grew up in Ohio but rooted for the Wolverines even as a kid. He was a defensive coach for Lloyd Carr for 8 years and gets the OSU-UM rivalry. Didn’t someone named Bo come from Miami of Ohio, a MAC school, to begin the great football dynasty that continued with Mo and Lloyd, true Michigan Men all.
The Big Ten needs Michigan to get back on track. Especially with the combined Big Ten record versus SEC conference teams. OSU needs a competitive Michigan team to keep the rivalry alive and well. Bo needed Woody and “Jimbo” (Tressel) needs the “Hokey Pokey”.