The Case Against The Michigan Wolverine’s Brady Hoke


Sep 6, 2014; South Bend, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines coach Brady Hoke argues a call with a referee during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the humiliating shut-out loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish things have gone from bad to worse for Michigan Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke.  Already on the hot seat from Michigan’s woeful 7 win season last year, the thermometer on Brady Hoke’s chair went from reading uncomfortably warm to scorching hot with the loss.

The Michigan Wolverines didn’t just looked over matched against the #16 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish they looked lost.  And so did their coach who looked disconnected from his team with the NBC cameras often catching the coach wandering outside of team huddles during time-outs.  Hoke actually looked as if he had been demoted to the role of head cheerleader at times, senselessly clapping and congratulating his team as they came to the sidelines even after a turnover.

Then came Hokes stubborn refusal to pull Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess from the line-up even after the game was well out of reach.  Both players went limping into the locker room.

So should Brady Hoke lose his job?

Embarrassing loss to Notre Dame aside, Brady Hoke has given Athletic Director David Brandon plenty of reason to give him ziggy. Here are just a few.

Record Against Rivals

Until their 2014 match-up the one rivalry game Brady Hoke could hang his hat on was Notre Dame.  Going into Saturday’s debacle Hoke was 3-0 against the Irish.  That said Hoke is a combined 2-4 against Ohio State and Michigan State. Not very impressive for a coach who has trouble posting double-digit wins in a season.

Game Management Gaffs

There are several games in his tenure in which Brady Hoke was considered out coached.  This is a common complaint when Hoke matches wits Mark Dantonio or Urban Meyer but the perception goes beyond the rivalry games.  The Wolverines four overtime loss to Penn State last season stands out as one of those times. Hoke’s team looked lost under pressure barely escaping defeat three times before finally losing to the Nitnany Lions.

Mishandling Of Players

At the end of last season the Michigan Wolverines faced a scandal involving former kicker Brendan Gibbons who was accused of sexual assault in Florida.  The accusation was such that is violated the schools code of conduct leading the Gibbons’ separation from the University.  The big question was whether Brady Hoke and Athletic Director David Brandon knew about the separation before or after the teams appearance in the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl.  Gibbons missed the bowl game because of an apparent leg injury severely limiting the team ability to score points.

The questions about the timeline still have not been answered and could come back to haunt the program at a later date.

Gibbons Situation Raises Questions About institutional Control

Athletic Department Knew About Gibbons Expulsion

Winless Against Top 25

After the Michigan’s defeat at the hands of the Notre Dame fighting Irish, Brady Hoke’s record dropped to 0-5 against Top 25 opponents as Michigan coach.  That certainly explains Michigan fading reputation on the National scene.

Poor Bowl Performance

Brady Hoke’s Michigan squads have been part of the postseason every year he has been coach.  That said his record during those bowls has been less than impressive.  Brady Hoke is 1-2 in bowl game with the worst loss coming in last years Buffalo Wild Wings bowl, a game the 7 win Wolverines were lucky to be invited to.

Declining Win Totals

Last but certainly not least are Brady’s Hoke declining win totals.  His first year as Michigan Wolverines head coach was the best with 11 wins. However that season’s success could be attributed to recruits brought in by Rich Rodriguez. Since that 11 win season the Wolverines won just 8 in 2012 and 7 in 2013.

At the end of the day it is win totals and rivalry records that will cost Hoke his job and not the laundry list of other impeachable offenses.  Brady Hoke may be able to save his job by earning a shot to play in the Big Ten title game but short of that even the old blue boosters will have trouble endorsing him.