Michigan head coach Brady Hoke may very well be coaching his final games in Ann arbor. With four wins, Michigan needs to win two of its final three games just to become bowl eligible, and even that may not be enough to save Hoke’s job on the sideline. If the position does open up this season, Michigan will have a very attractive vacancy to fill and it should be able to hire one of the best coaching options out there in this season’s edition of the coaching carousel. With the resources available at Michigan, finding a good quality coach should not be a problem. But where does the university turn in its likely search?
Yesterday, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports suggested Michigan should make an attempt to lure Bob Stoops away from his comfortable coaching position for Oklahoma. The main concept behind the reasoning Stoops would even consider moving from Norman to Ann arbor seemed to be based on the idea that change can be good. Change for the sake of change? That is generally not how it works in college football. The major problem is Oklahoma is a destination job, and rarely will a coach leave one destination job for another. Stoops has had a long and successful coaching career at Oklahoma. Even though this season may not have lived up to some of the expectations the Sooners had going into the season, Oklahoma is still in a much better position today than Michigan is. Why would Stoops leave the Sooners, a program with a realistic chance to win the Big 12 every fall, for a program in need of some rebuilding and tweaking?
This is not to suggest Stoops is one to back down from a challenge, but at this stage of his career it would seem the only challenge left for Stoops would be to coach in the NFL. Stoops has been coaching in the college game since 1983 and has never been on an NFL sideline. Perhaps at some point we will come to the realization that Stoops is a college coach, and he is Oklahoma’s coach.
But the point that should be made here is Michigan should not hold back in attempting to go after the best possible candidates for the job, whether it is realistic the coach leaves to coach the Wolverines or not. Michigan cannot afford to worry about being turned down. Like Texas with Nick Saban, the university’s leadership has a responsibility to reach out and try to hook the best possible coach it can. If the coach says no, then the university moves on. Concern over the public image of the university or football program should not come into play when making a coaching change and a hire.
Michigan needs to make a great hire, and Stoops would be just that if for some reason it came true. Michigan needs to show its fans, boosters and more it is serious about changing the direction of the program, and making any effort to reach out to a coach with a proven track record of success is a start, even if it is inevitable it will go without much success.