Maybe I like playing the contrarian, maybe I'm twisted, maybe I'm even a little out there. But I believe that a plausible case exists for Brady Hoke as Michigan Coach and it doesn't necessarily rest on the misapplication of the term Michigan Man (though I believe Hoke qualifies under the more accurate definition that Bo actually meant when he used it in relation to the Bill Frieder incident). More after the jump.
There are several positives that Brady Hoke does bring to the table as a possible head coach at Michigan that I've come across in researching the man.
1. He brings a tremendous amount of passion to the job. Which I don't believe that most of the non-Harbaugh, non-Miles candidates would have. Passion from a coach can help tremendously if the coach in question is able to communicate it. Caveat: When it doesn't work, things can get ugly, a prime example of a passionate candidate for a job failing is Gerry Faust at Notre Dame.
2. While his career head coaching record isn't great it improves tremendously in recent times. Brady Hoke, as the critics of the possibility of the hire never cease to bring up has a career head coaching record of 47-50 in his 8 seasons. However, when you look at most recent half Hoke has a very respectable 32-19 record (a perfectly respectable 62.7% winning percentage) and was named this year's Mountain West coach of the year.
3. He has a track record as a good recruiter. Many people say he was among the best recruiting assistants during his tenure as a Michigan assistant. In addition to this he has experience recruiting in both the Midwest and in California.
4. Michigan's best coaching hires have typically been either small school coaches or coaches that didn't have huge resumes as a "Name". Bo was a Miami of Ohio coach who someone told me got a "Bo Who?" headline from one of the newspapers. Gary Moeller (who I still believe shouldn't have been fired back in the 90s) was mostly a career assistant who had a very poor run at Illinois as head coach prior to being named Bo's successor.
5. Former players (including NFLer Larry Foote) speak very highly of his ability to motivate and deal with players, something that could come in handy to prevent attrition.
I know there are a lot of people who complain about "Hoke wouldn't even be considered if he wasn't an assistant here before" but the thing is, this isn't new. FCS head coaches generally don't get considered at programs as prestigious as Ohio State but guess who did get that consideration because...he had been an assistant there for a number of years (and remember, OSU got turned down by at least one prominent choice prior too).
Is Hoke a better candidate than Harbaugh? No. There isn't a college program that wouldn't want Harbaugh to be head coach if they could get him (though I'll admit I have serious doubts about whether his personal style and complex offense could work in the Pros, but that's JH's decision not mine) but I think Hoke's better than a lot of the other candidates.
And I'd take Hoke over Les Miles as a decision to take Miles is one in which the U is saying "We just care about winning, we're throwing in the towel on doing it remotely right". And if that's the world we live in, I just might watch exclusively Service Academy games and advocate for college football to be demolished, because if the whole of it became SEC-World (in which recruiting is done at the sleaziest level imaginable to win), I just don't think I could take it.