MAT-TER OF FACT: Guess this is goodbye

by Staff

Brady Hoke had an informal meeting with Minnesota.

San Diego State football head coach Brady Hoke doesn’t have much thinking to do. Just a lot of thanking.

And packing.

Oh dear Hoke, you haven’t said it yet but I know you’re leaving for the Minnesota job if you’re offered. We’ll keep the memories, OK?

Like that time you almost beat Missouri. Remember that? Remember when you almost beat BYU and Utah? Remember TCU? I do. You almost beat them too!

Almost.

Remember when you left your alma mater Ball State before its bowl game? The Cardinals were undefeated in the regular season. You preached family to your kids, but then divorced before the honeymoon. You left for something sexier then; I’m sure you’ll do the same now. Can’t blame you. It’ll just be Minnesota’s turn to pay for your dinner.

When I asked if Hoke would be staying long enough to coach SDSU’s bowl game this year, he said, “I hope so.”

For the record, that isn’t a yes. Which is telling, coming from a “yes or no” type of guy.

Hoke used the Aztecs, and SDSU used Hoke. Relationships like these are never meant to last.

“Bye Hoke. Don’t let the truth hit you on the way out: You needed us more than we needed you. The university is planted in recruiting soil more fertile than the banks of the Mississippi River and anything west of it. Any competent leader can find success here. You’re just one of the first to properly use us for what we are 8212; a trampoline for up-and-coming coaches.

Don’t worry about us. The Aztecs will be just fine. The Red and Black play at an NFL stadium in the greatest city in the world. There is no reason SDSU shouldn’t contend for a conference title every season 8212; with Hoke, or without.

Adios coach. I hope you enjoyed the fruits of Chuck Long’s recruits. Long was an easy act to follow. Ryan Lindley, Vincent Brown, DeMarco Sampson and Miles Burris were all here before you were. But thanks for helping lure Ronnie Hillman, the best running back in the conference. He’ll be back next year.

It’s a shame you won’t.

If it seems as though I’m unimpressed with what Hoke has brought to this school, it’s because I am. Hoke has simply performed the expected and taken advantage of a Mountain West Conference that rolled over like a well-trained dog this season. And now Hoke is either leaving for Minnesota, or he’s using the recent interview with the Golden Gophers to squeeze more money out of an Aztec nation scared of losing him, which is like molesting a tube of toothpaste that’s been empty for days. We simply can’t offer what it would take to brighten Hoke’s smile.

No hard feelings. Maybe Hoke wants to stay in San Diego, but the opportunity at Minnesota is too great to let slip: More money, better facilities and fans, a stronger conference. He’s a Big Ten kind of guy, too, having already coached at Michigan.

But one thing Hoke won’t have if he leaves is Lindley. Coaches coach games, but players win them.

Bye Hoke. It was never your team to begin with. This is Lindley’s team. He was here during the turmoil when you were a thousand miles eastward. Lindley was here during the 70-7 loss against New Mexico. And he has been here to brave SDSU through the storm of irrelevance.

Hoke may leave, but it won’t be the end of the world. The waves will still crash the beaches of San Diego hot girls will continue to enroll at State, and the Aztecs will still play under the stars, which will themselves, continue to shine.

And when all the grains of sand have settled, and when he has announced he will forgo the NFL, Lindley can finish what Hoke began: the quest for a MWC championship.

Or, at least, to borrow some words from Hoke:

“I hope so.”

8212;Matt McClanahan is a journalism senior.

8212;This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.

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