- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (AP) - Brady Hoke set the tone for a new era of Michigan football with his mouth and fist, pounding the lectern with each word when asked about the suddenly lopsided rivalry with Ohio State.

“It’s like none other in football,” Hoke said when he introduced as the leader of college football’s winningest team Wednesday, a week after Rich Rodriguez was fired. “Being engaged in that battle for eight years and growing up in the state, you knew Bo and Woody and the great fights they had. It is the most important game on that schedule. Not that the others aren’t important, but it is the most important game on that schedule.

“It’s almost personal.”

The late, great coaches of the stories programs _ Michigan’s Bo Schembechler and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes _ likely would’ve loved the passion that poured out of Hoke when he landed his dream job.

“I think my dad is probably as happy as anybody right now,” Shemy Schembechler said with a smile after attending Hoke’s news conference. “This is an exciting day for Michigan.”

Hoke, who turned around San Diego State and Ball State after being a Michigan assistant for eight seasons, might not have been the fans’ first choice because many of them wanted Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles to restore the program as a national power.

Athletic director Dave Brandon said he had discussions with both of them, but insisted Harbaugh and Miles weren’t offered the job in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday night.

The next day, he seemed to try to knock the luster off the coach who left Stanford to lead the San Francisco 49ers and the one who stayed at LSU.

“All that glitters is not gold when it comes to some coaches,” Brandon said. “A two- or three-hour meeting with a coach uncovers much more than you could learn scanning the Internet or sifting through statistics.

“Sometimes the hype or the PR doesn’t match the real person.”

Brandon had Hoke on his list of candidates from the start and toward the end of the seven-day search, he liked him even more after talking to coaches who played against him and hearing from former Michigan stars such as Tom Brady and Charles Woodson lobby him to hire Hoke.

“He is clearly a players’ coach,” Brandon said. “Unlike some other coaches, it’s not about him, it’s about his team.”

Hoke was so excited about accepting the job that he didn’t ask how much he would be paid in a six-year contract that hasn’t been finalized.

“We would have walked here from San Diego,” Hoke said.

After meeting Hoke at the Big House, some of the current Wolverines sound as if they would try to run through a brick wall for their new coach.

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