it's a major award
“Good afternoon everybody, and thank you for coming. This morning I accepted the resignation of Athletic Director David Brandon. Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department, and the University community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the University to continue without daily distractions. I agree with this decision.
“I’ve spoken regularly with Dave over the last few weeks and we both want what’s best for Michigan athletics, which is to be able to pursue the highest levels of excellence in all of our programs for our 931 student-athletes, and to advance the strong bond that athletics has helped the University foster with our students, our alumni, and our fans. I believe Dave has always had the best interest of the University of Michigan in his mind and in his heart. He is fiercely dedicated to all of our student-athletes regardless of their sport or background. During his nearly five years as Athletic Director he worked to ensure the well-being and the athletic and academic success with programs and facilities that helped them grow as individuals as well as teammates, and to succeed as students.
“For years Dave’s commitment to Michigan has touched many other parts of the University as well. He co-led the campaign that raised funds for the construction of the new C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital. He and his wife Jan personally donated $2 million for the creation of our neonatal intensive care unit. Dave has also provided support for the arts on campus, student scholarships, and many other academic and educational priorities. He served on the Board of Regents also from 1999-2006. Dave’s first connection to the University of Michigan was as a student-athlete himself when he played football under coach Schembechler and earned his undergraduate degree. There is no doubt that Dave loves the University of Michigan and wants to see us move forward and succeed. I thank him for his long service and life-long commitment to Michigan.
“I’ve appointed Jim Hackett as the Interim Director of Athletics. The interim appointment is effective immediately and will become formal with approval by the Board of Regents at their next meeting. Jim is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity, and a devoted member of the Michigan community. He was a student-athlete and graduated from the U of M in 1977. In 1994 to 2013 he served as Chief Executive Officer of Steelcase Incorporated, the office furniture company based in Grand Rapids. He led the company in their transition from traditional manufacturing to an innovate global company and now brings that success and experience in heading a complex organization into his interim role here. I’m also very pleased with his interpersonal skills, his value system, and his long-standing commitment to serving the University. Jim is currently on the Board of Trustees at Northwestern Mutual Life and on the Boards of Directors at Ford Motor Company and Fifth Third Bancorp. Perhaps most importantly he serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and Life Sciences Institute.
“I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan's next permanent athletic director.
“To our alumni and others in the Michigan family, I want you to know that we are working to establish the right balance between academics, the competitiveness of our athletic programs, the financial stability and the athletic traditions that we hold dear. To our students and student-athletes, I want you to know that the University of Michigan is behind you always. To our fans, I want you to know that we value your input, your support, and your spirit. Recent events have only reinforced my belief that it is important to listen and to engage in dialogue with all of our stakeholders.
“It is clear that Michigan athletics helps unite us as a community. It has an enormous reach that I've seen firsthand and the connections it fosters are deeply personal. These connections cross state and national borders, they spans decades, and they're shared across generations. The force that has this amazing power to join us together, the connective tissue if you will, is the heartstrings of the Michigan faithful.
“At a recent fireside chat with students, a student in the crowd further illustrated this point for me. She had lived in a major city in another state, but she could always count on hearing “Go Blue” when she walks down the street wearing her Michigan sweatshirt on a Saturday in the fall. Those moments, those uniquely Michigan moments, take place because of our unique sense of community. Before I turn things over to Jim I invite everyone in our community to help us as we begin a new chapter in the history of Michigan athletics. I hope we can join together as we move forward to preserve and enhance the qualities that make us truly special for the ultimate benefit of Michigan athletics, our students, and our great university. Thank you all very much and ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce Jim Hackett.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Interim AD Jim Hackett speaks as President Mark Schlissel looks on. [Anbender/MGoBlog]
"This morning I accepted the resignation of athletic director David Brandon."
Adam will have the full—and lengthy—transcript of today's press conference up later, but U-M President Mark Schlissel's opening statement obviously contained the most important part. Brandon met with Schlissel on Wednesday to discuss his resignation, saying he thought it would be best for the student-athletes and the university if he stepped down; Schlissel agreed, saying it was best for the department to continue "without daily distractions."
Jim Hackett, incidentally a former M teammate of Brandon's, will take over as the interim athletic director effective immediately. Hackett served as the CEO of Steelcase from 1994 until February of this year; he currently sits on the Board of Advisors for both the School of Public Policy and the Life Sciences Institute.
The search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately; in the meantime, Schlissel made it clear that Hackett has the power to run the athletic department as he sees fit, including evaluating the football coaches, especially if a replacement isn't in place at the end of the season. Hackett mentioned Bo Schembechler and Gerald Ford as personal heroes of his, saying "both would be quite certain the future of Michigan is not in doubt."
When asked if he would be looking for a candidate with Michigan connections to permanently replace Brandon, Schlissel said that he simply wants "the best man for the job," adding that he'll take as long as necessary to find the right person. "I have excellence in mind," he said.
Terms of Brandon's resignation will be released later today, according to Schlissel.
UPDATE: The terms of Brandon's resignation have been released. Full PDF file is here; the short version:
- Brandon will receive $3 million over the next four years.
- Michigan has the right to reduce his compensation should he take another job.
- The University will pay the cost of COBRA for Brandon and his dependents' health benefits through June 30, 2015.
- Brandon will retain two "Regents Emeritus" seats for football, men's basketball, and hockey.
- Brandon retains the use of two company cars through the end of the year.
The rest is mostly legalese; here's the fun part of said legalese:
The Michigan basketball team held their media day yesterday at the Crisler Center, and the theme of the afternoon was a familiar one: the team's youth. The players discussed leadership, the progress of the six freshmen, and much more; here's what I managed to get on the recorder yesterday.
Soph. Guard Derrick Walton
On his shooting getting better last year: “I understood that there were guys like Nik and Caris, the guys that waited their turn, it was their time to do the things that they’d sat and watched other guys do. I was very comfortable letting those guys make the plays and just contribute to the team any way I could, and that was one of the ways.”
On what prompted him starting: “Just starting to feel more comfortable, getting back and doing the things I was used to doing. Like I said, I was just happy contributing any way I could last year.”
On being comfortable becoming assertive this year: “Of course I have. We talk about it almost every day, just how it important it is for me to be aggressive this year. I want to be successful, so I take it upon myself, and my teammates encourage me every day, so I think I’m doing a good job with it.”
On being the point guard: “I try to find my balance and know that there are other guys who are very capable of making plays. It all depends on the situation. It’s hard to predetermine what may happen, so I just try to play it as is.”
On getting the ball into the post: “To be honest with you, this is the exact same thing we did last year. It just so happens this year we’re getting the ball into the post more. That’s the way it’s been thus far. I honestly don’t see a big difference between what we did last year and what we’re doing this year, there’s just guys getting more looks in the post.”
On his comfort level in the system this year: “Yeah, just knowing all the ins and outs of the offense, knowing how and when to pick my spots, just having a year under your belt in the system, it’s a big leap, that’s all I can say, from freshman to sophomore year, there’s a lot of stuff now that I didn’t even recognize last year.” (2:56.8)
On playing more with the ball in his hands this season: “That’s kinda been my M.O. my entire life. Just sitting back and having to watch another guy do it wasn’t a big deal. I’m just capitalizing on the opportunity I have right now.”
On this year being a return to normalcy for him: “It was different in some ways, but like I said, I was focused on winning and helping the team in any way. That was the role I was given, so I just tried to excel in it as much as possible.”
[Hit THE JUMP for quotes from Caris LeVert, Ricky Doyle, DJ Wilson, and Andrew Dakich.]
I was waiting for the press conference, but if Angelique is reporting it, it's done.
This may be grave-dancing, but I've never had a problem with that. People should be evaluated honestly.
And you could have one without the other but by tradition there is a second video…
Go to the Indiana game, guys, and cheer hard.
It might be happening, and soon. Chatter has picked up after the most recent last straw. Today I've gotten two reports that Brandon is resigning in… a couple hours(!). One comes second-hand from within the department, the other second-hand from the regents*. Premium sites seem to have the same chatter.
Prior to what seems like a major shift today but after the most recent last straw I had heard that the next bye week (ie, after Northwestern) was a point at which something might happen, with another independent report from within the department asserting that knives were being sharpened, and a report from one of the events being held in the run up to the regents' election that he was done in a couple weeks.
The the emails supposedly blunted a lot of pushback Brandon's supporters were trying to muster. While you should keep in mind that someone who would relate this to me might be inclined to believe such a thing, John Borton is… uh… not so inclined, and he asserted that white flags are being waved($) inside the department. Sorry if that sounds like self-tootin'. Nobody likes a self-tooter.
*[Note: I endorsed Mike Behm. I should clarify that none of this comes from him or his camp.]
I am told by several sources there will be a 1:30 press conference at UM involving the president to discuss AD Dave Brandon
— angelique (@chengelis) October 31, 2014
Dave Brandon is resigning as Michigan’s AD, source told @ESPN. Press conference this afternoon
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) October 31, 2014
On the nature of Hoke, life, the universe, and everything. Upcoming Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar went to great lengths to produce the above image, the best yet of what a black hole looks like based on the mathematics of relativity—not just the lensing of space behind it but the surprising twisting of the accretion disc around it due to the warping of space where it's formed.
What's spooky about it is the thing you're seeing isn't the thing that exists. What exists is a disc around a spinning supermass, like Saturn's rings. What you're seeing however is space itself getting so warped by that mass that you can see it in 4D, bending space like a piece of paper.
Best and Worst posted a trailer for Interstellar and raved about the "our place in the dirt" quote while neglecting to mention the one in there by Dylan Thomas:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
This is how I want Michigan to finish the season: certain of its own mortality, fighting anyway. Last year's blowout to MSU was an apocalypse, but at that moment I was profoundly mad, not embarrassed. I was embarrassed when they went out flat and uncaring against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Whenever I wonder if we were right to can Rodriguez when we did, I remember that act of cowardice. Whenever I wonder if we're being too hard on Brady, I think on how he gives up without looking like giving up. Bronx had a different explanation:
This might be semantics, but I don't think Hoke is a quitter. He's (sadly) calling the game the same way in the 1st quarter as he is in the 4th quarter. He's like the worst movie version of artificial intelligence.
So he's a robot who faces adversity by going back to his safe place, i.e. the way Lloyd Carr would coach a 1st quarter. I'm not buying it. I think he closes up shop when he thinks it's hopeless, and believes we're not smart enough to notice it.
Ron Utah nevertheless argues that at least that Brady is an essentially good man. I subscribe to the DFW method of rating people: their expectations of other people tend to be the greatest insight into how they themselves think. For example the dude on the board who thinks everything is about political warfare is just a really partisan dude. Brandon's emails were relevant not because they explain how he alienated fans—if he wrote 300 of these that's still a thousandth of the 300k waiting list his policies expunged. Rather they showed us how arrogant Brandon thinks his critics are, thus how truly arrogant Brandon is.
Hoke's goodness is best exemplified, perhaps, in his weaknesses as a coach. He doesn't ever seem prepared for enemies who want to gut him, because he doesn't have that killer instinct. Perhaps he doesn't push his players hard enough—maybe that comes from not expecting other coaches to be doing so. His players seem stunned when there's a cheap shot against them—we look at that like "where's your spirit?!"" but it could just be they're not the type of dudes who expect the other team is trying to scramble their brains.
It is a mistake to see the obvious flaws in Hoke and assume we would make better head coaches. It is not a mistake to see these flaws and assume more successful head coaches would make better head coaches. Perhaps it was our own naivety to think Michigan's particular advantages could compensate for the weakness of goodness.
This football program is as doomed as matter in an accretion disc. Some of the players in it won't be here (Peppers at least said he will be the last to leave), and there's no guarantee that the next step will take us to the dark core of the black hole or shooting out into space to form a new star. Michigan looks headed to 4-8 by Massey estimates, which LSA matrixcised.
This is mathematical reality. The above is how the universe is arranged. But what separates life from every other arrangement of matter is how we approach our doom. Life doesn't just ride the mathematics arc until it spirals into nothingness. Life rages.
It probably won't change anything, but the players on this doomed team plan to rage against that probability. It almost certainly won't change anything, but most fans have chosen to march back to the Big House, and the other home field in Evanston, and even down to the darkest place in the universe, and rage against the dying of the light.
If you'd like to do so and don't have tickets, head to this thread before 3pm today and tell us about the crazy thing you've done. I'm now up to 8 tickets to give away.
[Jump for metaphysical beings—ghouls, goblins, zombies, etc.]