The whirlwind search process was over, and as athletics director Dave Brandon finally sat down in the Jack Roth Stadium Club above Michigan Stadium, he finally had a few minutes to relax and laugh about the one week he will never forget. The day wasn't quite over, but the search and the announcement of Brady Hoke as U-M's new football coach were done.
Brandon talked about "Flight Tracker" and how the private jets were followed on the Internet by media and fans alike. He laughed when he told the stories of how he was sitting, interviewing a coach from his undisclosed confines.
"I am interviewing this coach and I am being called by all these people who either want to warn me that the media will be waiting for me or media trying to confirm my whereabouts," said Brandon. "And I am sitting there doing this interview and really no one knows where I am. It was amazing."
A maize and blue jet had been chartered for someone else, and, ironically, the destination was Baton Rouge. Brandon laughed about what that plane's passengers must have been thinking when they exited the aircraft and saw the media.
He talked about the days when he was being recruited to play football at Michigan in the 1960s. He remembered the newspaper headlines "Bo Who?" and chuckled at "how they tried to say and spell Schembechler."
Finally, Brandon could laugh. He had introduced the new coach, answered the questions he knew he would face, and studied the reaction U-M's new head coach was getting from the number of supporters and the football players that spanned decades.
And the reaction was just what the doctor ordered: positive.
Brandon knows today was just the first episode of the story. He knows Hoke has his work cut out for him. But today was special.
I don't know if Brandon relaxed a little when Brady told the media he would be here "forever" or if it was when Hoke became emotional talking about his former players and saying they were his family's sons. Maybe it was just Hoke's demeanor or when he talked about the "school down in Ohio."
I do know that Brandon feels comfortable because he has the coach he wanted in the first place. A good coach, but even more than that, a good man.