Congratulations Brady Hoke. Good hire Dave Brandon. But, please, don't try to sell us on this seamless Michigan coaching search. Hoke was not Plan A all along.
We now know that Hoke, Michigan's new coach, was the fourth -- maybe fifth -- choice to replace Rich Rodriguez. Just like Rich Rod himself was about the third choice to replace Lloyd Carr. (Wow, I'm beginning to think Michigan isn't that good a job. That's another argument for another time.)
The truth is that Hoke -- hired last week -- wasn't anywhere near the first choice. You probably know that but now there is tangible proof. Hoke was the Back-Up Plan -- Plan C, D or E. You know how I know? I know who was contacted. You know some of them -- Jim Harbaugh etc. I know who didn't show interest. I know who said no. I know that I'm calling B.S. on Brandon after reading this story.
According to it, Michigan offered $4.25 million per year to Les Miles, more than his LSU salary. Miles reportedly said no. Then, Michigan came back and offered more. Miles said no again. Meanwhile, Brandon, the Michigan AD, still won't admit an offer was made. Who is he trying to kid? Was that meeting with Miles an exchange of phone numbers?
Brandon: "Nice Tiger, Les. Listen, don't want to bother you, Les, but let's keep in touch. Here's my business card"
Les: "His name is Mike and, yes, let's keep in touch."
Brandon shot for the moon and ended up with an Aztec. That's OK. If Hoke was the first choice, Brandon would have announced him the day after Rich Rod was fired. That's what you do with the Plan A guy who said he would crawl to Michigan. In reality, Hoke was the girl with braces in Chem 1 who says yes to the prom after the head cheerleader says no. Not a knockout but at least a date.
There was no embarrassment factor in admitting a big offer to Miles. Brandon lost Harbaugh and Miles for legitimate reasons. There was no disgrace. In fact, it almost sounds better if Miles got two big offers. At least Wolverines everywhere know that their AD gave it the good old college try.
I know that, in the end, it was simply a bad time to hire at coach at Michigan. Hoke may win multiple national championships at Michigan. I hope he does. He's a good guy. But he wasn't Michigan's first choice. Not by a long shot.