“Sources” have told ESPN’s Joe Schad that Ball State head coach Brady Hoke is going to be leaving the school to get another head coaching opportunity. Pretty much everyone could see this coming. Hoke’s Cardinals went 12-1 this season, were undefeated until the MAC championship game, and had Nate Davis, who should have received more Heisman votes than he got. 2008 was a fantastic season for Ball State and Hoke is very deserving of a better opportunity…at San Diego State? One of the worst teams in the country? Huh?
Any way you slice it, this is a major score for Booter and I’s beloved Aztecs (okay so we’re UCLA and Indiana alums, respectively, but this was the team of our youth). The SDSU program, never particularly successful, has become a laughingstock over the past few years and their AD needed to change that in a hurry. I know exactly what he was thinking: “Hell, if Brady Hoke can turn Ball fucking State into a winner, imagine what he can do recruiting in Southern California! Shit, Hoke was interviewing for the Auburn job LAST WEEK and now we can get him!”
Some people, like pretty much every BSU fan, might be thinking this is, at best, a sideways move for a coach who could easily have turned his success at Ball State into a major conference job. And they’re right. I guess the deal isn’t done yet, but it seems as though Hoke just wants out of Muncie, IN, putting him in the majority of people in Muncie, IN. I do have some friends who are Ball State alums and they all enjoyed their time there, but they didn’t stay in Muncie to live, if that tells you anything.
Besides, SDSU has more potential for long-term success. The recruiting area, the location, the amount of NFL players who have come out of that mediocre program all add up to something that can be much stronger in the long run. This was about as good as it gets for Ball State in the MAC. In the Mountain West, Hoke can access some actual honest-to-God ath-uh-letes and compete on a yearly basis with Utah, BYU, and TCU. Those are three teams that threatened to make the BCS, in case you weren’t paying attention. And though I campaigned to get Ball State into the BCS, had they gone undefeated, there was never a realistic chance of that happening. At SDSU, there is (see: Utes, Utah). And any success like that can turn in to a major-conference job. Like when Pete Carroll says peace out for the NFL again in a year or two. Kidding, Phillips, kidding. (No I’m not)
In any case, if the Aztecs really have scored Brady Hoke, then this could finally signal the turnaround for this much-maligned program. They finally have a guy that knows how to win with a historically shitty program. A guy who can deal with absolutely no administrative support, horrible facilities, and a dwindling fan base. A guy who can handle recruits laughing at him the first time they meet, or saying “you’re from where?” when he tells them what school he coaches.
I’m telling you, this guy can turn this mess around. SDSU is a party school located in San Diego (should help recruiting), has the attractive female population one can expect based on its location (again, recruiting), is in one of the most football talent-laden areas in the entire country (recruiting one more time), and has a cadre of alumni just dying for a winner (cha-ching!).
Hope springs eternal in America’s Finest City. Now maybe its one major-college football program can act like it again.