As the athletic director of one of the most storied football programs in the country, Dave Brandon had a giant task when he was looking to fill his vacant head coaching position after parting ways with Rich Rodriguez back in 2011.
Before deciding that Brady Hoke was the right man for the job eight days into the search, there was a lot of leg work and smoke and mirrors going on behind the scenes. Brandon shared a lot of the behind the scenes information in a MLive article this morning.
During the speculation period, some of the more overzealous fans are known for tracking departing and arriving flights, but Brandon explains that athletic directors go to some pretty extreme measures to keep their moves close to the vest.
"During that process (media members) were tracking flights, finding tail numbers, checking hotel rooms ... You can't enter a face-to-face interview with a coach (without confidentiality). You don't want to let your current employer know you're interviewing. So I had ensure confidentiality. So that required sneaking in the back door of hotels, flying empty airplanes (to random destinations), just silly stuff."
Brandon then explained that he had 14 different criteria that he rated each candidate on during the interview, and with some candidates it was clear very early on whether they'd work or not.
"As I recall there were 14 different criteria that I wanted to rate each of them on," Brandon said. "So I had questions that were designed around all 14 of those points. I would cover all 14 and then I rated them like one through 10. Ten being proven skills, proven experience, high level of proficiency."
"Some interviews, 15 minutes in it was like 'what am I doing, this isn't going to work.'" he added.
With three seasons now under his belt Hoke is 26-13, with his best season coming in his first year in Ann Arbor (11-2 and a victory in the Sugar Bowl). After dismissing offensive coordinator Al Borges and hiring Doug Nussmeier away from Alabama, the expectations and excitement in Ann Arbor are sky high going into 2014, and it all began with 14 questions and some smoke and mirrors from the athletic director