Michigan fires Brady Hoke after four seasons as coach


Michigan coach Brady Hoke was fired Tuesday after four seasons on the job.

"In the end, I feel moving in a different direction is the right decision," interim AD Jim Hackett said during a Tuesday news conference.

Hoke went 31-20 with the Wolverines, including 5-7 this season. The Wolverines went 11-2 in Hoke's first season after he replaced Rich Rodriguez, but they were on a steady descent ever since.

Hackett spoke highly of Hoke's character, but also said he felt Hoke had enough time as coach to warrant the move.

Hackett said he thinks the Michigan coaching job is one of the best in sports and that his search for a new coach would begin immediately.

Under Hoke, Michigan went 2-6 against its biggest rivals, Michigan State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes scored 42 points in each of the past two seasons against the Wolverines, the first time in the rivalry's history that either team scored 40 in back-to-back games.

This season marked the fifth time in the past seven seasons that Michigan has lost at least six games; the Wolverines experienced only one six-loss season in the previous 40 years.

Hoke released a statement following his dismissal.

"I feel very fortunate to have been an assistant and head coach at the University of Michigan. I will always support the University and this football program. This is a special place and one that Laura, Kelly and I have enjoyed representing during our time in Ann Arbor. I want to thank all of the sons that played for our teams and appreciate the commitment that our coaches and support staff made to the program every day. I will miss the relationships that I've been fortunate enough to make within this university and community. I additionally appreciate all of the support that our fans, alumni, students, administration and former players have provided our program. I leave with fond memories of my experience at Michigan. Thanks and Go Blue!"

Numerous reports have indicated that Hoke's buyout was around $3 million.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is a Michigan alum, but he reportedly has told school officials he is not a candidate for the job.

Michigan is seeking a new coach for the third time in seven years. Lloyd Carr stepped down after the 2007 season and Rich Rodriguez was hired away from West Virginia. It was a bad fit from the start, and Rodriguez lasted just three seasons before being fired following the 2010 campaign. He was 15-22 in his three season, though the Wolverines did go from three wins in his first season to five in his second to seven in his third.

Hoke, who had been an assistant to Carr from 1995-2002, was Rodriguez's replacement. He left Carr's staff after the '02 season to become coach at Ball State, where he lasted six seasons before being hired away by San Diego State. He spent two seasons with the Aztecs before heading to Michigan.

The Wolverines' win total dropped in each of Hoke's seasons, from 11 in 2011 to eight in '12 to seven last season and five this season.

Hackett, a former Michigan football player, became interim AD in October, when Dave Brandon -- who hired Hoke -- stepped down. Hackett has no background in college athletics, having spent the majority of his business life as the CEO of a large company that manufactures office furniture.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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