Update: 6:00 p.m.
This was not an easy choice.
That's what interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett told reporters at the press conference earlier today after announcing that he'd fired head coach Brady Hoke.
Hackett talked about Saturday's game against Ohio State University, in which Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner comforted OSU's injured quarterback as he lay on the field.
Hackett says he "couldn't remember a more poignant moment ... and where does that leadership for that kind of sportsmanship come from? It came from our head coach."
"I can't emphasize what an authentic and real person [Hoke] is. So when you have a discussion like this ... I was not going to make this a discussion just about wins and losses. I said he had mastered certain parts of coaching, he needs to leave knowing others should learn from him in certain areas," said Hackett.
Hoke built a "great program in terms of the values, but we didn't have the results on the field. That's the tension. And in trying to figure out, why did that happen? That's where I started to come to a decision. So I made that decision Sunday night [to fire Hoke]," Hackett said.
The interim AD says he spoke briefly with Michigan's football players, but kept it short so they could spend their previously scheduled 3:00 meeting with Hoke. Hackett says he will talk more with them soon so there's an "open discussion about what they're concerned about with the next coach, things they want to see me address, even the things they may disagree with with his decision."
The stakes are feverishly high as Hackett searches for Hoke's replacement. He plans to hire a headhunting firm "that I don't have to spend a lot of time bringing up to speed about what Michigan's about" to help inform his decision.
The choice will be deliberate, but there is a "walk away" time "when we can't take more risk at Michigan. But it's a bit of a trade here. If you get an answer quickly but if you wait a little while longer you believe you might get an upgrade, you might we willing to take a risk."
But one thing he wants to make clear right now: he's not leaning toward a "Michigan man" in the sense that the next head coach needs to have Michigan ties, the way Hackett, Hoke, and previous AD Dave Brandon do.
"If you let it stand for what it's supposed to mean, here's what it means: if you cut open the soul of the people that are Michigan men, so to speak, you find first selflessness. This is a point about how we stand for the team first. The second thing is the ability to win."
Update: 5:02 p.m.
Brady Hoke released this statement about his departure:
"I feel very fortunate to have been an assistant and head coach at the University of Michigan," said Hoke. "I will always support the University and this football program. This is a special place and one that Laura, Kelly and I have enjoyed representing during our time in Ann Arbor. I want to thank all of the sons that played for our teams and appreciate the commitment that our coaches and support staff made to the program every day. I will miss the relationships that I've been fortunate enough to make within this university and community. I additionally appreciate all of the support that our fans, alumni, students, administration and former players have provided our program. I leave with fond memories of my experience at Michigan. Thanks and Go Blue!"
U of M's sport administrator Mike DeBord will oversee the the football program while Interim AD Jim Hackett searches for a new head coach.
Michigan Radio has learned that the University of Michigan's head football coach, Brady Hoke, has been fired.
Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett is holding a press conference at 4:30.
This comes just one month after the previous athletic director Dave Brandon resigned.
Hoke is beloved by his players.
But the team has gotten progressively worse under his leadership, wrapping up a disappointing 5-7 season with a loss on Saturday to bitter rival Ohio State University ... and failing to make it to a bowl game for the first time in years.