Michigan gets its man, hiring Brady Hoke

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ANN ARBOR, MICH. (AP) - Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is learning that Brady Hoke is a pretty popular coach.

Hoke might not have been the fans’ first choice to take over college football’s winningest program, but Brandon became convinced he should have been after calling his former players and hearing the same thing time after time.

“He is clearly a players’ coach,” Brandon said Wednesday in his opening remarks at a news conference to introduce Hoke. “Unlike some other coaches, it’s not about him, it’s about his team.”

“If you’re going to find out about a coach, the best thing to do is ask the players who played for him,” Brandon said Tuesday night. “I did that, not only with the players with him here at Michigan for eight years, but also since he left Michigan.”

Clearly, Hoke has landed his dream job.

“We would’ve walked to the University of Michigan,” he said.

Cleveland Browns player Aaron Shea, who asked former teammates like Tom Brady to lobby for Hoke, was one of the many people with ties to the program that are happy with the choice.

Brady will make a great head coach at Michigan,” Shea said. “He understands and knows about the great tradition, he has been part of that great tradition, and now he will be the one to bring back that great tradition.”

“If you love the University of Michigan, whether you’re a fan or a former player, you should give Brady Hoke all of your support,” Brandon said.

Hoke has at least a few things in common with the late, great Bo Schembechler.

They both hail from the Buckeye state, didn’t attend Michigan and climbed the coaching ladder before getting a chance to lead the Wolverines. Schembechler restored Michigan as a national power after being welcomed with “Bo Who?” headlines.

Hoke? Despite successful head coaching stints at San Diego State and Ball State, the former Michigan assistant might get a lukewarm reception, too, after fans clamored to bring Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles back to their alma mater.

Brandon picked Hoke as his new football coach Tuesday, insisting he was Plan A and not a backup option after Harbaugh left Stanford for the San Francisco 49ers and Miles stayed at LSU.

“The job was never offered to them,” Brandon said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday after informing the team of his decision. “We did have different discussions with them that were helpful and positive.”

Harbaugh was the popular pick when Brandon bought out the last three seasons of Rich Rodriguez’s six-year contract last week. When Harbaugh went to the NFL, Miles appeared to be a logical choice to return Michigan to its glory days.

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