In one of the least surprising coaching moves of the season, Brady Hoke left San Diego State for Michigan on Tuesday afternoon.
Hoke never made it a secret that he considered Michigan his dream job, and even told San Diego State president Stephen Weber when he was hired in 2008 that he would go to the Wolverines if the opportunity ever presented itself. Well, after two seasons with the Aztecs, it did and he is gone.
In his brief stay, Hoke was able to bring San Diego State back to respectability, posting a 9-4 record in 2010 for the best season since 1996. He won Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors, and there is plenty of talent on this team to expect another bowl appearance in 2011. Freshman Ronnie Hillman had the best rushing season in school history and won Freshman All-America honors, and veteran quarterback Ryan Lindley returns, along with some solid players on defense.
A big part of the success for San Diego State this season has been the work of offensive coordinator Al Borges and defensive coordinator Rocky Long. The Aztecs should definitely turn to those two men when they start thinking about filling their vacancy. Long makes the most sense, having spent 11 seasons as head coach at New Mexico. He left as the winningest head coach in school history. He clearly can win in a place with limited resources, facilities and support. Look at what Mike Locksley has done since replacing Long -- he has won two games in two seasons.
Long recently interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Texas State, which ended up going to Dennis Franchione. So he clearly is ready to be a head coach again. Borges, meanwhile, has been a long-time offensive coordinator on the collegiate level, with stops at UCLA and Auburn among others. San Diego State went from No. 86 in total offense in his first season to No. 16 in 2010.
Of course, the question is whether San Diego State wants to cast a nationwide search or if it believes it has the best candidates under its roof.