Michigan’s Hoke: ‘This is an elite job’

New Wolverines coach on rivalry with Ohio State: ‘It’s the most important game on the schedule.’

By the numbers

3 — Winning seasons for Brady Hoke in eight years as a head coach. He rebuilt Ball State, taking the Cardinals to two bowl games. He led San Diego State to a bowl game this season. His career record is 47-50.

6 — Years on Brady Hoke’s contract with Michigan. Athletic Director David Brandon did not disclose terms: “We never talked about what he was going to be paid. ... We’re paying him. We got to it eventually.”

12 — Verbal commitments to Michigan secured by former coach Rich Rodriguez. Hoke said he would honor them all. National Signing Day is Feb. 2. “There’s no doubt about it, we have a lot of work to do,” Hoke said.

Growing up in Kettering, playing linebacker and center at Fairmont East High School, Brady Hoke was the prototypical tough guy with the big heart, always there for his teammates, never backing down.

“He was the kind of kid who always had to hit somebody,” his dad, John Hoke, recalled with a chuckle. “And that’s the way he coaches.”

Hoke revealed some of that competitive fire at the news conference Wednesday in Ann Arbor introducing him as the 19th head football coach at the University of Michigan. It especially shone through when it was pointed out that many national pundits no longer regard the Michigan job as “elite.”

“This is an elite job,” snapped Hoke, who was given a six-year contract to succeed the fired Rich Rodriguez. “This is Michigan, for God’s sake. People can say what they want, but it baffles me how people can make a comment like that. They’re wrong. This is Michigan!”

There was emotion, too, when Hoke, a Michigan defensive assistant from 1995-2002, talked about the many lives he has touched during a coaching career that began shortly after his graduation from Ball State in the early 1980s.

And when the subject of Michigan’s rivalry with Ohio State arose, Hoke pounded the lectern for effect while saying, “I think that rivalry is special, like none other in football. Being in that battle for eight years and growing up in (Ohio), you knew Bo and Woody and the great fights they had.

“It’s the most important game on that schedule. It’s almost personal.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2408 or smcclelland@DaytonDailyNews.com.

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