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Hoke joins list who won debut

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Brady Hoke was named the University of Michigan's 19th head football coach on Jan. 11, replacing Rich Rodriguez.

No program in the country can match the storied history of the Wolverines. Michigan has more victories and a better winning percentage than any other school. It began playing football in 1879 and was an inaugural member of the Big Ten when the conference was formed in 1896.

With Hoke's victory over Western Michigan on Saturday in his debut, WolverineNation takes a closer look at how some former Michigan coaches fared in their debuts:

Fielding H. Yost

When: Sept. 28, 1901
Result: Michigan 55, Albion 0
In Yost's first game during his 25-year career as the coach at Michigan, his Wolverines blanked visiting Albion. Their biggest margin of victory would come a few weeks later when they destroyed Buffalo, 128-0. It was the beginning of a season in which Michigan would go undefeated and outscore opponents 550-0 en route to a national championship. In this game against Albion, six Wolverines scored touchdowns. The Britons never reached Michigan territory. Following the game Yost, who eventually earned the nickname "Hurry Up," was quite calm. "That was easy," he told reporters. "Nobody has a license to get a swelled head on the result. I'll say this though, that there is no kick coming from the coaches on the men's work."

Harry Kipke

When: Sept. 28, 1929
Result: Michigan 39, Albion 0
Kipke had only 11 days from the day he was hired until the Wolverines' opening day, which featured a doubleheader. The Wolverines walked away with the win over Albion, and another over Mount Union, 16-6. This would prove to be standard for Kipke, whose four years as the head coach resulted in four Big Ten championships and two national championships. Albion, which technically was Kipke's opening game, was a pretty easy feat. Michigan allowed only 14 rushing yards while amassing 200. Its two quarterbacks, James Simrall and Joe Truskowski, combined to complete 11 of 17 passes for 167 yards. What might be more impressive than Kipke's coaching career at Michigan was his performance as an undergraduate at the university. As a student from 1918 to 1923, Kipke earned nine varsity letters in football, baseball and basketball.

Herbert O. "Fritz" Crisler

When: Oct. 1, 1938
Result: Michigan 14, Michigan State College 0
Making a debut along with Fritz Crisler on the sidelines at the beginning of the 1938 season was Michigan's famous winged helmet. Crisler hoped the wings would help his halfbacks -- who threw passes in his offense while quarterbacks blocked -- locate the receivers. Sophomore Paul Kromer scored both touchdowns and kicked one extra point for Michigan. Eventually, the opposing Spartans adopted a winged helmet. But they changed their style upon joining the Big Ten in 1953. Crisler would continue to revolutionize football by introducing the platoon system and modern goal posts.

Bennie G. Oosterbaan

When: Sept. 25, 1948
Result: Michigan 13, Michigan State College 7
In Oosterbaan's first game, his Wolverines had to take on the rival Spartans. Michigan took the early lead on a first-quarter touchdown run by fullback Tom Peterson. The score stayed at 7-0 until Spartans quarterback Lynn Chandnois threw a touchdown pass to Harry Minarik on a controversial play in the third quarter. Michigan's student newspaper protested, saying Wally Teninga actually intercepted the ball in the end zone, only to have it taken from him after he reached the ground. Regardless, the touchdown stood and the game remained tied at 7 until late in the fourth quarter, when Peterson scored his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon. It was the Wolverines' 11th consecutive victory over the Spartans, but this victory, in Oosterbaan's first year, marks the last time that a rookie Michigan coach has beaten the instate rival.

Chalmers "Bump" Elliott

When: Sept. 26, 1959
Result: Missouri 20, Michigan 15
After coaching the Michigan backfield for Oosterbaan, Elliott replaced the head coach in the fall of 1959. But his first game didn't hold the same grandeur of Oosterbaan's premiere. The Wolverines took a disappointing loss to Missouri despite outdoing the Tigers in nearly every statistical category: total yardage (312-249), first downs (17-11) and plays (74-54). But Michigan threw four interceptions, leading Missouri to a last-play win and starting Elliott's career on the wrong foot. With three minutes left and a 15-14 lead, the Wolverines allowed Missouri's second-string quarterback Bob Haas to lead a 76-yard charge down the field to steal the victory. The loss was one of many, as Michigan finished seventh in the Big Ten and had a losing record. But just five years later, Bump would bring the Wolverines back to glory with the 1964 Rose Bowl championship.

Bo Schembechler

When: Sept. 20, 1969
Result: Michigan 42, Vanderbilt 14
Schembechler's illustrious career at the University of Michigan began with a shellacking of Vanderbilt. Despite the Wolverines racking up 209 of their 367 total yards in the first half, they held just a 21-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. But Schembechler would later explain that "the pressure came off" for Michigan, allowing its offense to score just as many points in the final quarter as it did leading up to it. Vanderbilt relied on its speed, sending out five receivers for most of the game. "We knew they were bigger than us, but we thought our speed would make up for that," Vanderbilt coach Bill Pace explained after the game. "What we hadn't realized was that they were just as fast." And while this was Bo's first game, it was also the first game in Michigan Stadium played on the famous "Tartan Turf." While Michigan had practiced on turf fields, it remained an unknown entity in game play. "[The turf] really wouldn't have decided the game," Pace said. "We would have lost no matter where we played them."

Gary Moeller

When: Sept. 15, 1990
Result: Notre Dame 28, Michigan 24
With the entrance of Moeller to the Michigan football scene came the entrance of the no-huddle offense to Ann Arbor. It took the Irish by surprise and allowed Michigan to mount a 21-point comeback after trailing 14-3. But with 1:40 remaining and with what Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz called "competitiveness, the luck of the Irish and the Lady on the Dome," the Fighting Irish managed to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to send the Wolverines back to Ann Arbor disappointed. From the statistical analysis, it would've seemed like a success for a trio of Michigan underclassmen, as junior tailback Jon Vaughn ran for 201 yards, sophomore quarterback Elvis Grbac threw for 190 and sophomore wide receiver Desmond Howard caught six passes for 133 yards. But it was Notre Dame's fourth quarter that would end up stealing the show, which Moeller could see coming. With the Wolverines up 24-14 with eight minutes to play, Moeller was still uncomfortable. "I knew Notre Dame's ability to come back," he said after that game. "There was just too much time." Despite the loss, the team was able to finish the season 9-3 and share a Big Ten conference title.

Lloyd Carr

When: Aug. 26, 1995
Result: Michigan 18, Virginia 17
Carr's first game is probably better remembered as the "Mercury Hayes Catch Game" than the game that launched Carr's Michigan career. With Michigan trailing 17-12 with four seconds remaining and facing a fourth-and-10 from the Virginia 15, redshirt freshman quarterback Scott Dreisbach hit senior wide receiver Mercury Hayes in the back of the end zone. Michigan had been down 17-0 with less than 13 minutes remaining before the Wolverines woke up and clobbered their way back into fighting position. Michigan went on to finish 9-4 that season with a loss to Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. This game was also current Michigan coach Brady Hoke's first game as an assistant to Carr. "That was a pretty wild game, a pretty good comeback," Hoke recently said.

Rich Rodriguez

When: Aug. 30, 2008
Result: Utah 25, Michigan 23
One year after Appalachian State came in and ruined the 2007 season opener for Michigan fans, Utah came in and did the exact same thing. Rodriguez's spread offense was held to just 203 yards while Utah quarterback Brian Johnson was able to accumulate 305 yards by himself. The Utes took a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and while Michigan was able to chip it down to two with touchdowns from Junior Hemingway and Sam McGuffie, a failed 2-point conversion pass after McGuffie's score proved to be the difference. Following the game, Rodriguez admitted that Utah deserved to win. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said, "It shouldn't have been as close as it was. It's a sign of a pretty good football team when you can not play your best and come away with a win, particularly in a venue like this."

Brady Hoke

When: Sept. 3, 2011
Result: Michigan 34, Western Michigan 10
Brady Hoke's premiere at the helm may have been the most historic yet: For the first time in Michigan football history a game was called. After two weather delays, and with a storm cell headed toward Ann Arbor, athletic directors from both schools agreed to halt the game. By calling the game, Michigan was awarded the win and all statistics would stand. Hoke described the day as wet and wild. However, what might have been more unexpected than the shortened game was the breakout performance of linebacker Brandon Herron, who scored Michigan's longest interception return for a touchdown in modern history (starting in 1948). The 94-yarder gave Michigan a 14-7 lead. Herron explained that after grabbing the ball out of the air, "I just looked straight ahead -- obviously no ball security whatsoever. But I just tried to get to the end zone." Herron followed that up with a 29-yard fumble return that made him the first defensive player to score twice in a game. Hoke's debut was by most standards a success. However, Hoke's standards aren't like most. Sitting n a postgame press conference, drenched, he told reporters, "We have a lot to work on."

Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at jenningsespn@gmail.com.