Time will tell if fan and media speculation about Michigan’s loss to Maryland ending any remaining hope of retention for Brady Hoke is true. Only interim athletic director Jim Hackett knows that for sure. But on the slim chance it isn’t, what conditions would Hoke have to meet?
“’I’m telling you in my A.D. voice (that) you’ve really got a chance to be here on two conditions,’” Ray said during his mock meeting with Hoke. “Number one, I don’t have a slam dunk hire right now. As a new AD, chances are that I really don’t because I got this job on the free and clear that I don’t have a guy coming with me. I took this AD job on the terms that I’m going to come in and truly evaluate the program. I took the job saying I don’t have a guy ready to go right now, so I’m not going to fire you right now.”
Ray’s other condition would be major changes to the assistant coaching staff. That task seems impossible for a head coach whose future would continue to be under a great deal of scrutiny. That, though, is where Ray would offer an assist as the athletic director. His message to Hoke on the topic would again be very direct.
“Part of the reason that we got Doug Nussmeier is because we gave him a three year contract,” Ray explained. “Being that you were (possibly) only going to be here one year too, Doug has a three year deal, so that’s all negotiable. The other thing is that if you can do what you say you can do, you don’t have to worry about one year or bust. The other thing is that I’ll sweeten the pot up just a little bit to get those guys to come in. And I think you’re forgetting that this is Michigan. You’re the one that said it. Who wouldn’t come here and coach? Who wouldn’t come here for 250,000 and coach these linebackers for an opportunity to turn this program around? I remember Les Miles was the offensive line coach here.’ See that’s the problem in this conference, the coaching is down. I remember when Nick Saban was the head coach at Michigan State, Mark Dantonio coached his secondary. Oh and Urban Meyer, he was a wide receiver coach at Notre Dame in 1997.”
“See in the ‘90s, there was a reason there was six different Big Ten Champions – Penn State, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State and Purdue. You know why? Because the level of coaching was up and there were NFL guys in there, but they had assistant coaches who could move on and be head coaches in the future. ‘So those are the types of guys that I want to pay you to go get and 20 years ago those guys weren’t making that kind of money, but they were getting that kind of production. ‘
“I remember Lloyd Carr saying a long time ago that the most important thing a head coach can do is hire great assistants.”
So in short, for athletic director Ray staff changes would be mandatory in on the slim chance retention wound up being the way forward for the Maize & Blue.
Said Ray in his A.D. voice, “’this is Michigan and I want future head coaches as assistants. If you can’t bring me four new guys that can be coordinators somewhere else right now, then you’re out of here.’”
To listen to the second part of our Ray as A.D. series in its entirety, press play below.