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Attention, Michigan fans: Brady Hoke will wear a headset as Tennessee’s interim head coach

Hoke famously shed the headset as Michigan’s head coach.

NCAA Football: Massachusetts at Tennessee
Hoke (wearing a headset) as Tennessee’s defensive line coach in September.
Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s interim coach for the last two games of the season is Brady Hoke, the former Michigan (and also San Diego State and Ball State) head coach.

Here’s something that wouldn’t usually be notable but is in this case:

Just about every head coach wears a headset. This is true in the NFL, college, and probably most high school football, too. Coaching staffs are big, and the sideline is pretty long, and most teams have several coaches hanging out upstairs in the press box during the game. Headset radio communication makes the stadium smaller. The photographic evidence atop this post says Hoke’s worn one as an assistant this year.

When Hoke was the head man at Michigan, he didn’t wear one. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, probably, if Hoke had won more games. But Hoke went 7-6 and 5-7 in his last two seasons before getting fired after 2014, so the headset became a popular discussion point. Maybe Michigan wouldn’t have been as bad if Hoke were plugged in.

Hoke in 2012, via

Hoke says the entire topic is "overrated."

"It is overrated," Hoke said on an interview with the Stoney and Bill Show on WXYT 97.1-FM. "You ever watch guys on head sets and they don't say a word? This gives me an opportunity to coach kids during a game.

"The game is a mental game, it's a game of motivation and enthusiasm and teaching. Not wearing a headset, I get to teach on the sideline and be a part of it."

As for the question of whether or not he knows what play offensive coordinator Al Borges is sending in, Hoke says he doesn't need a headset to hear that.

"I do know what the calls are, because there's a guy standing right behind me who tells me every call that's going in," Hoke said.

Hoke’s Michigan tenure was not doomed by his lack of a headset.

But Tennessee fans are likely glad he’ll don one on Saturday, and Michigan fans are free to wonder why he wasn’t wearing one all along.