Michigan football forgot how to win. It let rivals Michigan State and Ohio State dominate the Big Ten and remain prominent on the national level. The program and everyone associated with it had only themselves to blame. They let egos get in the way and they botched hires that mattered most. They had mistakes and missteps throughout these past seven years. It seemed they would never learn their lesson.
But eventually they did. And just in time.
The first mistake of many by former University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman was her hiring of an inexperienced Bill Martin as athletic director. Though Martin found gold in John Beilien, he still made two huge mistakes during his tenure that would push Michigan off its pedestal: He failed to have a succession plan and a proper coaching search after Lloyd Carr stepped down. Due to that, the Wolverines ended up with Rich Rodriguez. That obviously didn’t work out.
He also hired an incompetent and inexperienced man with a huge ego as his successor: Dave Brandon. He’s a man who cared more about the brand than the people who actually built it. He burned many bridges and let his ego get in the way of making proper decisions. Instead of executing an extensive search when Rodriguez was let go, Brandon took six days and settled on Brady Hoke.
Hoke was always too nice to say no to Brandon. For example, he allowed the AD to sit in on film sessions, when he had no business being there. Hoke also produced a bad team, just like Rodriguez. Fans had seen a stretch of bad football like never before. They became a laughing stock that even Maryland and Rutgers didn’t respect.
After years of bad football and bad press, Michigan was at its wits end.
Mark Schlissel came in as president this year and offered Michigan a fresh start. Schlissel let go of Brandon, who had built a toxic environment. He then appointed Jim Hackett as the interim athletic director and allowed him to handle the coaching search. There was one consensus candidate to become Michigan’s next head football coach: Jim Harbaugh.
He was the perfect candidate for many reasons. He would help bridge the gap between different factions. He could compete with Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer. He would bring Michigan football back. Harbuagh brings back the attitude that Michigan has been missing. It took a month, but Michigan landed its man. Despite the naysayers, Michigan did its due diligence this time and it paid off tremendously.
These past few years in Ann Arbor have been unprecedented. Michigan has experienced a terrible downfall that has lasted almost a decade. Egos got in the way. Decisions weren’t made properly. Hires were botched. The important thing is that when you make a mistake, you learn your lesson.
After multiple years of mistakes, Michigan has finally learned its lesson. Hackett took his time, listened to all inputs and hit a home run with this hire. Harbaugh has had success everywhere he’s been. He will get Michigan back to prominence and success quickly.
This hire is important for many reasons. It shows that Michigan is done settling. Hackett didn’t settle for a second or third choice, like the last two times. This move shows that Michigan still does take football seriously and it does want to re-establish the program. After so many mistakes, the Wolverines finally learned their lesson. Michigan finally has gotten out of its own way and now is potentially more dangerous than ever.
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