Michigan Football Press Conference Contest Winners

Jan. 12, 2011

University of Michigan civil engineering student CJ Lilly won U-M's first-ever contest for a chance for fans to attend the introductory press conference for new Michigan football head coach Brady Hoke. Lilly brought along friend and 2010 Michigan graduate James Stanhope for the rare chance to be a part of history. The pair received a tour of the Michigan locker room and television production studio and got to rub elbows with current and former players before watching the press conference with the rest of the media. They took some time after the proceedings to speak with MGoBlue.com about the experience:

CJ Lilly (left in maize) and James StanhopeCJ Lilly (right) and James Stanhope

How did you hear about the contest?
Lilly: I was in class when I saw something on Facebook, so I signed up. When I got the call Tuesday night I almost forgot that I'd entered.

Stanhope: He called me up and said, what are you doing tomorrow?

What did you think of the press conference?
Lilly: I enjoyed everything that was said. I didn't know a lot about Brady Hoke, but I'm really excited now after listening to him speak. He's got a tough road ahead of him, hiring all his coaches and finishing the recruiting session. He sounded a lot like what I've heard of Bo or what I've read. I like his attitude -- straight to the point.

Stanhope: Coach Hoke was asked, "What's your biggest challenge?" and it's interesting. I'm a substitute teacher now at Ann Arbor Huron and going through my classes at Michigan people would whine about how hard teaching was and I didn't think that made any sense. We signed up for this. It's not hard, it's awesome. So he said it's not a challenge. This is what you do. It's football. It's what he loves to do.

Would you call yourself a big Michigan fan?
Lilly: Well, I sit front row for all the basketball games and we had row one for football games this year. I went to four of the five away games this year. I've been there. We follow all Michigan sports, so if there's a Michigan sport doing well I'll follow up on it. We were at the Michigan basketball game one night and the men's soccer team was playing for a shot at the Final Four. We got home and I found the online video feed and we watched the overtime when Michigan scored. We were cheering like crazy. We're happy when any Michigan team does well.

Where do you get most of your news about Michigan athletics?
Lilly: I read MGoBlog and my dad has a subscription to The Wolverine. We hear a lot of stuff through the grapevine.

Stanhope: I'll read ESPN if I'm feeling lazy.

What about MGoBlue.com?
Lilly: I go there for highlights and schedules. I don't go there for opinion, but I go there for facts. You know when MGoBlue says this is our new head coach, you know this is our new head coach.

Stanhope: Before the season started I religiously followed the Countdown to Kickoff videos. It's from the program giving you a look into the program, which is great.

Were you star struck at any point today?
Stanhope: We've met a lot of Michigan players. I met Chad Henne and Jake Long when they were here. The big thing is that these guys are people. I was impressed how Brady Hoke is a real guy. Jim Brandstatter and some of the players are just people. Maybe larger than us, but people. We all go to Michigan. I represent Michigan, maybe not on TV every Saturday, but we all represent Michigan the best way we can.

What did you think about the media buzz today?
Lilly: TV trucks have been around campus all week. It goes to show that anyone who thinks this isn't a premier coaching job is crazy. You don't get 40 television cameras for a lot of head coaches. It's not shocking to see this many media people, but it's pretty cool.

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