By Ashley Dunkak
ANN ARBOR (CBS DETROIT) – Asked the importance of hiring a “Michigan man” who understands the tradition of the program to replace fired head coach Brady Hoke, interim athletic director Jim Hackett launched into an unexpected speech.
“I want to get rid of the word ‘Michigan man,'” Hackett said, then cited three reasons to do so. “One is we live in a world where no business … [talks] about just men in it, so that’s the first. Second, the guy who said that, Bo Schembechler, one of my mentors and heroes, said it when he was being challenged about a coach being recruited somewhere else, and he meant he wanted the person who was at Michigan to be the coach.
“The third thing, though, if you let it stand for what it is supposed to mean, here’s what it means, is if you cut open the soul of people who are ‘Michigan men,’ so to speak, you find, first, selflessness,” Hackett continued. “This was a point about how we stand for the team first. The second thing is the ability to win and be competitive. The competitive spirit in my lifetime and with others that you see around here that played, we knew that we had to work really hard.
“It wasn’t arrogance,” Hackett added. “It was about being competitive. And then the third is that we want to continue the legacy of what’s been great from a values standpoint, that this place does not need to cut corners to win, and you’ve got a lot of pride in the fact that you come here, you know you’re signing up to be the best in the world without any kind of shenanigans going on.”
Hackett said the search for Hoke’s replacement will begin immediately. He has a deadline for finding a head coach but will not disclose it. His description of the search process – which he said will include a headhunting firm familiar with the university – seemed to suggest Michigan already has some candidates identified.
“We’re building what we call swim lane charts that show candidates’ time frames for their availability,” Hackett aid. “They may be in bowl games, they may be wherever they are in their status, and we compare that against our swim lane, where are we in trying to get our recruiting, to get our practice schedule started, and so I’m drawing some conclusions about when we can’t take more risk at Michigan. But with that said, I want you to be patient because it’s a bit of trade here, is if you get an answer quickly and you can wait a little longer and you believe you upgraded, you might be willing to take that risk. That’s part of the process.”
Hackett said he made the decision to fire Hoke on Sunday. The men met Tuesday, and Hoke met with players later to tell them the news and say goodbye.