A field submerged under water at Qualcomm Stadium a day before kickoff wasn’t the only story line for the Poinsettia Bowl this year. While sports bloggers and T.V. analysts alike were cracking “advantage Navy” jokes at the thought of a soggy playing field, San Diego State and coach Brady Hoke — in sticking with the military cliches — flew seamlessly under the radar.
Well, after defeating the Midshipmen 35-14, going around unnoticed is going to be harder for Hoke and his team. San Diego State chalked up their first bowl win in over 40 years and, in Hoke’s second year, had a 5-game turnaround from 2009’s 4-8 season.
Hoke has only held two head coaching jobs at the Division 1 level, Ball State and San Diego State. Yet, he’s managed to turn both programs into contenders within their respective conferences. In his final year at Ball State, he took his alma mater to a 12-0 regular season before departing for San Diego.
With that kind of success, Hoke will undoubtedly become one of the hottest coaching commodities over the next few years — that is, if he isn’t already.
While interviewing for the SDSU job, Hoke stated openly to his athletic director Stephen Weber that being the head coach at Michigan would ultimately be “the arc of his career.” Hoke was an assistant at Michigan from 1995-2002.
The fact that Hoke views San Diego State as a stepping stone job, and has received the blessing of his AD in the event the Wolverines come calling, begs the question “How much time is left on Hoke’s clock in San Diego?”
As evidence with the recent coaching shuffles, universities, AD’s and coaches alike have shown us that head coaching jobs are, well, just that: jobs. Jobs become available and coaches move around. Even destination gigs like USC have seen their national championship winning coach, Pete Carroll, bolt for the sexiness of the NFL.
Loyalty is a thing of the past.
Hoke gets that and, to his credit, doesn’t attempt to lie about it, either; nothing’s more annoying than a coach who screams loyalty and gets offended at the mere thought of them taking another job, then when the better offer comes along, turns right around takes it.
No, Hoke has made his intentions of moving up the coaching ladder very clear. For San Diego State, it’s now a matter of playing the waiting game to just how long he sticks around.