The legend of Brady Hoke has grown over the past year. The support for Brady Hoke has turned into something greater than 107,501 fans gathering every Saturday to cheer the Wolverines on, it’s a movement.
The “Support Brady Hoke” movement on Twitter and Facebook has captivated and brought together their respective audiences in a fever pitch. A place where everyone can share one common thing, loyalty and appreciation towards our coach.
Kerri, the brains behind the operation took some time out to answer a few questions about her project and the future of the SBH movement!
Q: To start, let’s clear the air, shall we? Can you confirm that you are indeed a Michigan woman?
A: Yes, it’s true! I am indeed a Michigan woman! Ever since the tender age of 3, when I remember
hearing Bob Ufer’s unforgettable voice echo through my living room for the very first time. I have
been a die-hard Meeechigan fanatic. My family and I (well, all of us except my dad, who regrettably
was an Ohio fan who went to MSU) would decorate our living room in maize and blue
streamers, felt pennants, and homemade signs for every game. We would all gather around the TV
every chilly fall Saturday to watch the likes of Bo, Carter, Morris, Wangler, Harbaugh, Taylor, Powers,
Howard, and the hundreds of other legendary Wolverines take the field and make history. I’ll never
forget our pilgrimages to the Big House as kids: where my sister and I would teeter on the top stairs
to collect all of the cups we could find to take home with us while hoping for just a peek of the team
we loved so much as they exited the stadium. I credit my mom – the ultimate Michigan woman –
for my love of the game and the greatest university in the world. She has certainly taught me well!( Love you, mom!)
Q: What prompted you to start this “Support Brady Hoke” movement on Twitter and Facebook, and
why do you think it gained such high popularity?
A: Well, a dear friend of mine from college (and fellow journalism major) Moe Anani actually started
the page on Facebook in January 2011 as an effort to galvanize support for the hiring of Coach Hoke
when Dave Brandon was conducting our coaching search – and I wound up being one of the first
five ‘likes’ of the page. (I have been Team Hoke since he was an assistant at Michigan in the 90s,
so for me, Coach was my choice from day one!) The original name of the page was actually “Brady
Hoke for Michigan Football Coach” so when Coach was hired, my friend quickly changed the name
to “Support Brady Hoke as Michigan Football Coach” and the page took off like a shot! Shortly
thereafter, Moe got a bit too busy to maintain the page regularly – so I’ve been at it ever since! As
far as my Twitter page goes, after being at the ‘helm’ of the FB page for a bit, I decided to create a
Twitter account to complement our FB presence: as I myself had just joined the Twitterverse and
had the chance to see first-hand what an awesome tool Twitter was as a way to interact with friends
and other die-hard Michigan fans, players and alumni. So, “Support Brady Hoke” on Twitter was
born. (When I began, I had one follower: myself!) I just can’t believe how many fans have
joined the SBH movement and how far the pages have come in one year. It’s awesome! (Or dare
I say, TREMENDOUS!) It’s so cool to see so many people come together for such a great reason. I
just think that people really respond to a positive outlook and unconditional support for the team
and the university that we all love so much. Every post and tweet that I create comes straight from
the heart, and reflects what I myself would like to see as a fan. Unfortunately, the internet can be
a spiteful and negative place sometimes – especially when things aren’t going so well – so, I think
that the people who follow my pages appreciate my sincere effort in creating pages where they can
celebrate all that is awesome about Coach Hoke and the University of Michigan in a fun and positive
way: without the negativity that can sometimes be found in other places around the web. We also
have many current and former players – as well as incoming freshmen and recruits – who follow my
pages and retweet my content: which to me as a fan is SO super cool! There’s nothing like getting a message from a player, their siblings, or their parents thanking us for our support. That is the
foundation of why I do all that I do – and I absolutely love every second of it!
Q: What is the main purpose of the Support Brady Hoke movement? Do you feel it has shifted at all with the way things have turned out with Hoke and the successes he has had?
A: I feel that the main purpose of the SBH movement is simple: the absolute and unconditional support of Coach Hoke, our beloved university, our athletic department, and most importantly – our student athletes. This is something that I personally felt was lacking in the last few years: when our players were experiencing the collateral damage borne of an unfortunate situation that was totally out of their control. We were a Michigan family divided, and in my opinion, it was our players who felt the brunt of it. They were still wearing the same winged helmet as all of the great Wolverines who had come before them: yet the unyielding support for the team kind of fell by the wayside – mostly out of sheer frustration relating to changes in the program that a large number of fans and alumni did not agree with. I think that sometimes people can get caught up in statistics and rhetoric as it relates to the game and lose sight of the fact that our maize and blue gridiron heroes are just kids working tirelessly on the football field, in the weight room, in the classroom, and in the community each and every day for the opportunity to represent the University of Michigan. Always a cheerleader at heart, I feel that these kids deserve nothing less than our sincere encouragement and unconditional support – win or lose. That’s the lifeblood of all that I do. And that is why Coach Hoke is so awesome. He has reunited the once-fractured Michigan family. He gets it. He understands that life is bigger than football. It’s back to being about the kids and the lessons that the game of football can teach all of us. And that is where the shift comes in as it relates to the SBH movement. Although some may have seen crystal footballs in their yes at the thought of Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh taking the reins last January, Coach Hoke has proven – and continues to prove – that he was the man for the job all along: and that the tenets of Bo still ring true. Sure, the on-field success of our 2011 season has certainly galvanized support for Coach, but more and more fans are seeing now what many of us have known all along – and they want to be a part of it. Win or lose, Coach Hoke and this program make us all so very proud both on and off the field: and that is what makes me so proud to be a Michigan fan and an ardent supporter of Coach Hoke and the University of Michigan!
Q: In your definition, what is a Michigan Man, or in your case, a Michigan Woman?
A: To me, a Michigan Man (or woman) has always been a term that I have held in the highest regard. Pride, integrity, and a level of class when representing the University of Michigan are three of the attributes that I feel best describe this special kind of person. These ideals help guide me in my leading of the SBH charge daily, and I can only hope that I can encourage others to do the same through my tireless commitment to the positive support of our Coach and this program.
Q: Do you have anything planned for the future of the Twitter and Facebook profiles?
A: OH YES! Over the last year, we have had a great time with our dear friends at Moe Sport Shops in
creating contests and giveaways that have gotten fans involved in many different and creative ways –
and we are looking to continue our partnership in 2012. We also held our first annual SBH Tailgate Party before the Minny game last season with the awesome team from MGoTalk – which we are hopefully going to do BIGGER and BETTER this season as well! I am also looking forward to doing more ‘TweetUps’ this season – when SBH fans on Twitter can use a specific hashtag and live chat with me and other fans throughout the game. There’s nothing like interacting directly with true Michigan fans all over the world! Whether it’s through a caption contest, a fill-in post, TweetUp, or SBH Fight Song Fridays, I just love getting fans involved in all that I do. I also have a few other plans in the works, but those are going to be surprises for all of my SBH followers – so, be sure to stay tuned!
Q: To conclude, what are your realistic expectations of this season and for future seasons under Hoke?
A: Well, based upon our absolutely crushing it on the recruiting trail since Coach Hoke arrived back in A2, the future has never been brighter for Michigan football. I anticipate more than a few championship runs before all is said and done with Coach: but, our immediate future is so very bright! Although the loss of some key defensive linemen and a Rimington Award-winning center will sting a bit this season, there are so many other young Wolverines who are already stepping up and adjusting well! It’s going to be sweet to see younger players continue to come even more into their own out on the field, and to see our seniors step up and lead this team to another yet successful season! I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to Indianapolis in December. I think that this year will be a great time to book my ticket…how about you? HAIL TO THE VICTORS VALIANT! ][V][ GO BLUE!