What Type of Football Personality Should U of M Seek ?
Brady Hoke was the University of Michigan’s coach until 2014. I met coach Hoke this past year at a University of Michigan alumni Association presentation where we shared the stage. Again, later on in the week, we again shared the microphone. This time it was the Brady Hoke-Jim Brandstatter radio show, in Ann Arbor. My impression of coach Hoke was that he is a real gentleman, soft-spoken and someone you can trust. He seemed very likable and someone to sit down and drink beers together. I’ll bet he’d make a good friend.
After listening to Thom Darden, Mike Keller, Jim Betts, Fritz Seyferth and other former players, Coach Bump Elliott seems more similar to Brady Hoke, then to Bo Schembechler. Coach Elliott was described as soft-spoken, intelligent, well dressed and extremely personable. In fact, Mike Keller thought that coach Elliott was like an uncle. And, Fritz stated that Coach Elliott would not disrespect the players compared to Bo, who initiated the slap and stomp drill. Coach Elliott had a better record than coach Hoke in part because of his Rose Bowl victory. One expected coach Hoke to be fired, but not Bump, who had an 8-2 record in his last season.
Michigan needs to find a football head coach that has “fire in his belly.” This head coach should take charge and get in a players face when required. He has to be in control of his program and not be intimidated or influenced by outside forces. If a player is unwilling to take his direction (or rules), he should be dismissed from the team. The strong personality of a head coach should not be intimidated by the A.D. By the same token, the A.D. should not be afraid of the head coach. His ego should be separate, with clear intact boundaries.
We know that Michigan’s President Dr. Mark S. Schlissel is an academic and wants the athletes to graduate from this prestigious institution. Dr. Schlissel has made that clear. The University doesn’t have to compromise its integrity regarding academics. The A.D. should implement the following: 1. Hire an administrator to oversee the academics of the football program. This person has to maintain relationships with deans and faculty alike. 2. Recruit former athletes with degrees to become a mentor/coach/family member for incoming players. It’s important that these mentors were former players, because then these mentors can say to these freshman “I understand what you’re going through because I was there too. I know from personal experience what’s required, and I’m going to help you become successful as we are all part of the same team.” This mentor should be available to the young recruit at all times and be in contact with family and faculty alike. This mentor becomes more than a tutor, he becomes a valued and trusted friend.
Jim Betts, Fritz Seyferth, Mike Keller come to mind because of their experience in administration, athletics and academics. These former players made it clear of their commitment to Michigan football, and to the University, it self. They are Michigan men true and true.
Jimmy Hackett A.D., take advantage of these concrete resources at your fingertips. These men are not like water that will slip through your fingers. Find them and pick their brains.
In conclusion, Michigan needs a strong A.D., a strong football head coach and a strong tutoring-mentoring program in order to take advantage of the many athletes available.