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30 November, 2011

Brady Hoke Named B1G Coach of the Year (and thoughts on UM, leadership and more)

In his first year as head football coach for the University of Michigan, Brady Hoke was named the Big Ten (B1G) coach of the year. Shocked? Well no. But surprised about the year, absolutely. How did he accomplish a 10 win season and a victory over Ohio? He followed two of my biggest leadership principals for one. The first one is that, often times, the best leader is the one who surrounds himself with the best people. Greg Mattison very well might earn assistant coach of the year honors for what he has done with UM's defense this year. He is a defensive genius. Offensively Al Borges adapted to his talent and got the most out of them that he could. Secondly he empowered his seniors to do what they needed to do to motivate the younger players. Enable them be the "deck plate" leaders.

Look, I know Michigan is loaded with talent. Rich Rodriguez (RR) had a ton of flaws. Recruiting was not one of them. Facing a roster of talented athletes who have seen the worst that college athletics can be, and motivating them to win 10 games for him, all while changing offensive and defensive schemes, that is amazing. This team, though, has one of the strongest group of seniors that I have seen (keeping in mind that by "seen" i mean, from a far. Like Hubble Telescope far). They impressed me with their interviews, with their on the field composure, and their love for the TEAM. I do not know them first hand. I did not see in person what happened for the last three years.  I do know a thing or two about leadership though, and the results speak for themselves in this case. Over the last three years, after a devastating coup the team lacked leadership. Blame it on Bo's passing if you want, but the fact remained that the team had no real leadership. I mentioned RR's flaws, well effective leadership seemed to be one of them. Screaming at kids and telling them they are wrong doesn't teach them to be right. They need a strong  and stable force to follow, and that is what this team had. I have a genuine fear that this team is the best that UM has had in a really long time, and they were forced to waste because of yet another coaching transition. A transition that was necessitated by a lack of leadership. Time will tell whether the younger players step up and lead, but this group of seniors had a vendetta, and the leadership skills necessary to accomplish what they wanted. If the current group learned what not to do over the last three years, lets hope that the next group takes the road map that this years seniors' have made and use it for the future.

Every team will be different, but this team is by far my favorite. They truly ENDURED. Their success culminated today in this award. Well done to the coach and the players, who I think earned it for him. 

Fortitudine Vincimus

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