Hoke is gone after compiling a 31-20 record over four seasons. Hoke debuted at 11-2 for the Wolverines, but went 8-5, 7-6 and 5-7 over the next three years in a denuded Big 10 where Michigan State has eclipsed big brother in football and Urban Meyer's Ohio State seemingly has the run of the league. The traditionalist Hoke hire was meant to erase the bad taste of Rich Rodriguez's legacy (meanwhile, RichRod has Arizona in the Pac 12 title game) and though a better cultural fit in Ann Arbor than his predecessor, he couldn't get results between the stripes.
What Does It Mean For Texas?
The Longhorns are currently vying for the attention of TE Chris Clark, a 2015 Connecticut recruit currently committed to Michigan. Clark is a huge four star TE with good hands who will likely play his college ball at 6-6, 260 or so. Exactly the stick mover and in-line blocker Shaun Watson wants to feature in his play action offense. The Longhorns are currently on the outside looking in, but the carrot of early playing time is dangling.
Hoke's firing post-script is sobering for insecure Texas fans: Hoke came to Michigan as a no-nonsense, defensive-oriented coach with a reputation for integrity and quick turnarounds at Ball State and San Diego State. Hoke floundered because he was never able to develop a functional offense (the Al Borges spread gave way to Doug Nussmeier's Bama O) or identify a consistent QB - Devin Gardner always flashed just enough potential to keep his job while getting his head coach fired. As with the Will Muschamp experience at Florida, if Charlie Strong fails at Texas, the broad strokes recap will read much the same.
Finally, it's always instructive for Texas to watch the hiring process of its rough analogs in the college football world. Michigan and Florida are very much that. Does Michigan get rid of or properly redefine its Michigan Man ideal? Or is this a former college superpower doomed to fade with the changing demography of the United States and they're about to learn that a once Top 5 job is slipping out of the Top 10?
The former star Michigan QB prefers the NFL to college, but this was once his dream job. He's worn out his welcome in San Francisco, but 49er management is largely comprised of family scions and former consultant and banker types long on ego and intellect and short on functional football knowledge and the ability to work quietly behind the scenes instead of seek credit and constantly prove their football bona fides. Harbaugh doesn't like when they draft him 1st round WRs and 2nd round RBs that he later has to cut in training camp. In short, they embody some of the worst aspects of current Silicon Valley credentialism - professional halos conferred by who you know, where you went to school and media manipulation - actual job performance is barely examined. The antithesis of the region's meritocratic genesis.
Harbaugh is a highly sought after commodity and he has a number of options to move elsewhere in the NFL. He doesn't need to take the Michigan job. Does he want it?
While Harbaugh may not want to admit it, particularly since the NFL represents the apogee of football achievement, his demanding style and maniacal focus may actually play better to 20 year olds seeking father figures who recycle every four years rather than jaded NFL veterans.