landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
Well I'm not sure if this should be a diary or a forum, but since I want to know what others think, I figured it was best as a forum topic. Since we just flipped the calendar to a new year - one which will see the end of Bill Martin's reign as athletic director - I'm wondering what other Michigan fans think will be his legacy. When going over the pros and cons list in my head, I came up with the following:
*Hired Rich Maloney (and has kept him) as the UM Baseball Coach
*Instrumental in getting approval for the new basketball practice facility
*Oversaw the renovation of Michigan Stadium to add suites/luxury boxes (some may view this as a con, though)
*Built the largest indoor practice facility for football in the Western Hemisphere
*The Tommy Amaker hiring which ended up being a very underachieving period in M basketball for the type of recruits Amaker ended up getting
*The WJR fiasco. How could business-man BIll have been so blindsided by this? Now I don't know what station to find basketball games at on the radio, as it seems to switch with each game.
*The football coach search. The jury is still out on the hire, but I think most people agree that Bill could have handled the search a bit better.
Jury Still Out:
*John Beilein hired as basketball coach. I personally think this was a very good move, but based on the results so far we can't call it a complete pro. Yes, we made the tourney last year after an 11 year absence, but we can't forget that his first season was a disaster and this season is turning out as such. Plus, even though we made the tourney last year, we were only the 6th or 7th best team in the Big 10, not exactly where we want to be. I think we'll be fine in the long run, but not there yet, so the jury is still out.
*Rich Rodriguez. Clearly this could be in the "con" category after the 2 years we've had, but I think he'll get it turned around and have us competing for Big 10 titles (and hopefully national titles as well) soon. But, hasn't happened yet, so clearly the jury is still out.
*Our Olympic sports. Yes, volleyball has improved, but we have always been strong in most of the Olympic sports, prior to Bill. Swimming, gymnastics, etc. have all been maintained with him. I think he had to hire a new swimming coach, but I'm not sure about some of the other sports. Field hockey was good, but then our coach left and it stumbled - although Bill hired her back. He made a pretty good hire with the soccer team I think (didn't the guy coach the US women's team)? Women's basketball seems to be improving, but I don't really know.
*Hockey. Thank God he hasn't touched Red and has been able to keep him coaching. As long as Red wants to coach, we let him, as far as I'm concerned. The obvious hire if Red steps down after this year is Mel Pearson, his longtime assistant, but I really like the idea of former players coming on board. Depending on when Red steps down, I hope Mel gets the job and hires someone like Bill Muckalt or Brendan Morrison as an assistant and eventual successor. But that's off-topic as it will be a decision left to the new AD.
*Softball. We won a national title in 2005, but that was with Carol Hutchins at the helm who has been around long before Bill. Much like Red, as long as she wants to stay the coach, it's her decision as far as I'm concerned.
I'm trying to think of other vital things that occurred during his tenure, but am blanking. Bill has the Athletic Dept. running on its own, which is great, but really, I think his tenure is proof that we need a guy with a sports background, moreso than business, to run things. Sure the athletic department is profitable, but are the on-field and in-classroom results stronger now than before Bill came in? Considering the hockey team might not make the tournament for the first time in 20 years, and the football and basketball teams may both end up in the basement of the Big 10 standings during Bill's final full academic season, it's hard to argue that they are. Overall, I would grade him out as average to below average for his work as AD - but obviously the jury is still out on the 2 most important hires in his tenure, so his full grade probably can't be ascertained for a few more years (much like judging recruiting classes).
Let me know what you think - and if there are some other big things that I missed that Bill played a major role in.
Thanks and Go Blue in 2010!
But wait! What's that you say?
The University is in the middle of a nine-figure renovation project to a facility that is only used eight times year, if it's lucky? I didn't even know about that. I guess they care more about athletics, huh? But I'm a student who plans on going to law school, making bank, and giving a lot back to the school. If I can possibly pay my ever-mounting loans back, that is. Why don't they invest in my well-being instead of a bunch of football players, most of whom won't play professionally anyway?
Oh! Really? The University makes more money off the football team? Shut Up! Athletics ended last year with a surplus?
Obviously there's a decent amount of sarcasm floating around here, the main point being that I think a University of this caliber and relatively progressive minded administration has what it takes to use some of the athletic budget elsewhere. If you haven't heard, some promises have been broken recently. That, combined with Mary Sue's opposition to the State Legislature's cutting of the Michigan Promise Scholarship, points towards a possible remedy, which I propose should be a commitment of aid from the Athletic Department.
In times like these, successful organizations need to step up in order to stop the bleeding. The financial prosperity of Michigan sports will not continue in isolation. In other words, the state's economic plight has the strength to bring the Big House attendance numbers down with it. The best way to ensure a turnaround is for increased investment from Athletics into the student body and their financial aid. This is something I am sure Martin's replacement could address, but won't.
I wanted to write a post about what I experienced Saturday at the big house and the events leading up to The Game. Warning: This will be wordy but does not feature enough statistical content for a diary.
My friend and his wife are unfortunately in AA because their 4 month old daughter just had open heart surgery at Mott on Tuesday. Mrs. Route66 and I were planning on coming over to see them Saturday. We could not find a sitter so I decided to stay home and watch our girls. Figured it would be best because I would be forced to spend the money on some tickets if I went. There is no way I could go to AA and not go to The Game.
At 3pm Friday, already planning naps around The Game, I got a phone call that said our friends just picked up a pair of tickets to the game from some people in the parking lot of the hospital. Literally these people rolled down their window and offered them the tickets. Face value. Our friends were not in a position to buy them and had to pass. Those folks then said they would sell them both for $65. He abruptly bought them.
We then had a sitter, one of 20 we called, call us back and say she could do it. COUNT ME IN! I was on my way to another UofM/OSU game! Only my second ever.(1995) Oh, and the tickets were section 23, row 40 seats 9&10. Um....yeah, those are mint.
The people who gave the tickets away were friends of Coach Hobson. That's why the tickets were so good. We both laughed that we would not be able to say anything bad about linebacker play because we may be sitting next his family.
If any of you know, that section's isle is THE isle to the press box. Saw the likes of Jamie Morris, John U. Bacon, etc.
Here are two others that stand out:
Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum was walking up and I immediately noticed his name tag. I nudged my buddy and buddy yells out, "HEY BIG TEX!" Big Tex smiles and leans over and we both give him a hand shake and say welcome to the Big House, Go Blue, and Please Sign Today as we stumble over our words. He moved on and we both looked at each other like after you looked at the girl you first kissed. Really awkward yet stoked.(no homo) I then said to the people around me that if he signs, it is because two fat white guys, 40 rows up, welcomed him with hand shakes. Yes, I will take full credit right now when he commits. If he doesn't then it is my friends fault.
After the game, we were just chilling, soaking up the atmosphere realizing that we may never sit in this good of seats again. Kind of fuming over what could have been. Then across the isle, in our same row walks a balding guy holding a Members Only coat. His head was down, but I knew it was Bill Martin. I say...again, like a dork because you never know what to say in those situations, "Hey Mr. Martin!" He looks up and kind of stops. Both my friend and I give him the thumbs up say thanks for RichRod and keep up the good work. We also said, simultaneously "Keep Rich!". Bill moved on and we again looked at each other like dang, we just had an impact on RR's job security! Not really, but Martin did say he appreciated the support. Again, I am SURE that we were the reason for Martin giving RR the vote of confidence yesterday.
There you have it. We totally fell into some sweet tickets and got to chat, if you can call it that, with some cool people. For 3 hours yesterday we were able to get away and forget about everything and enjoy a fun atmosphere in the Big House. Thanks friends of Jay, whoever you are!
I got one of those mass e-mails from the athletic department/Bill Martin today about the game this weekend. I have no idea if it was sent to students only, or if all ticket holders received it. In any event, it made me think a little bit about our fans. The message is essentially the same as every other bland admonition against bad behavior on gameday I've ever received from the university. The message even dignified aOSU with the definite article ("the" OSU), which I have always personally disliked, as it shows you just how pompous those fools are.
Anyway, I thought about our fans, and I wondered when we have ever really had serious fan behavior problems in Michigan Stadium. Outside of a few asshats here and there, our fans have generally always seemed classy. Every opposing fan I have ever spoken to about the topic has remarked on how gracious and generally well-behaved Michigan fans are.
But I guess I can't help but wonder, are we as Michigan fans TOO classy and gracious? I guarantee you that you will never in a thousand years see the fans of Columbus Community College acting with dignity or upholding the ideals of sportsmanship. Shit, I've had batteries and beer bottles thrown at me in that hellhole just for wearing the Maize and Blue. Ask some Texas and USC fans about their experiences in Columbus, and many of them will likely share similar stories. And it's not just a home game thing, either - Buckeye fans come into our house and act like raging assholes, too.
For once, I wonder if we couldn't be a little bit meaner as a fanbase. Michigan Stadium isn't as intimidating as it should be, and while the boxes have increased the noise level, we just don't ever seem to be as loud as aOSU fans are in their house. I'm not saying we should act like drunken idiot rednecks and try to fight aOSU fans this weekend, but for once, I wish we'd at least be a little less accommodating. It's not like we would cede any sort of moral high ground to Ohio State.
We have nothing to lose - they already despise us. It just seems to me like we don't hate them as much as they hate us. I yell myself hoarse every time I see the rivalry live, but some of our fans just seem to lack that fire.
I don't know if anyone else agrees, but I think we could benefit from a more hostile environment in the Big House. Save the classy Michigan fan for teams like Delaware State - this weekend, I want the loud guy jingling his keys on every defensive play and shouting obscenities.
If anything, I just hope it's not like the 2007 game. I sat through the sleet and froze my ass off at that game, and both the fans and the team just seemed flat that day. I think our fans might be hungry this year and show up in force. At the very least, a guy can hope, can't he?
DISCLAIMER:This is meant to be an **objective** analysis of how David Brandon's other political aspirations mean for his AD candidacy. It is simply meant to provide context to the discussion of his potential hiring, and nothing else. I am NOT trying to start a political debate.
Brandon's window to join the 2010 gubernatorial election is basically closed, and it is extremely unlikely that he would run. The basic reality is that the GOP field (in which Brandon would participate) is basically already full of three, "top-tier" candidates who've already laid the groundwork for campaigns, begun to seal up endorsements, hire consultants, and soforth. It'd be extremely unlikely (not to mention pretty foolish) for Brandon to run in 2010.
As for the future, that's a different story. The guy lives in a congressional district where he's unlikely to ever win as a Republican unless he relocates, but the guy's always had statewide aspirations anyway. The smart money right now is on a Republican to win the governorship in 2010 -- that means Brandon would be unlikely to run until 2018 (assuming the GOP incumbent seeks a second term; at earliest, Brandon would be angling for 2014).
Sen. Stabenow is viewed as a potentially more vulnerable Democrat, relative to Sen. Levin at least, and she's up for reelection in 2012. This would by far be the most tempting and most likely race for Brandon to enter in the immediate future, and I would imagine he would be atop of the national GOP's recruitment list. Races of that sort usually need about a two-year lead time to be run properly, meaning that if Brandon were to assume the AD position in late 2010, he'd effectively be leaving the job as soon as he started. Levin is set to face reelection in 2014, however, at which point he'd be 80 years old. That puts Levin in retirement range, but it's no guarantee for a vet like him, and certainly not without precedent in the Senate for an octogenarian to seek reelction.
In short: For David Brandon to become AD, he would need to wave off a challenge to Stabenow in 2012 to probably satisfy U-M. If we want him to be seriously paying attention to his job for more than two years, it would likely require a commitment for him to wave off any 2014 gubernatorial or Senate races. The guy's youth is probably an asset in a race now; down the line, he'd be a little older of a candidate should he forfeit opportunities for the Michigan AD job. It would seem he'd have to forsake a lot of political aspirations to take the job.
Michigan Head Coach John Beilein
On the announcement of Bill Martin’s retirement as Athletic Director ... "Bill's commitment and positive support for our program's transition since the day I arrived has been remarkable. The persistent dedication he has continued to show in getting our new Player Development Center off the ground has taken a tremendous effort and we are very appreciative for that. We are saddened with his announcement today, however we are truly happy he has reached this point in his life. He has accomplished so much in Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan and throughout his career, we know he will enjoy this much deserved time with his family."
Senior Athletic Director and Former Head Football Coach Lloyd Carr
In 2000 when Bill Martin became the athletic director at Michigan, we were well behind our peers from a facilities standpoint. Today, we are at the forefront and the monumental changes that Bill and his team have orchestrated have positioned Michigan Athletics in excellent position for decades to come.
The athletic campus is not Bill’s only legacy but it will be an enduring legacy. Every coach and student-athlete who compete here in the future and all Michigan fans will benefit from Bill Martin’s vision and hard work. Personally, I have much admiration for the dramatic improvements at Michigan Stadium and the efforts in pushing forward on the Al Glick Field House. I join the many in expressing our appreciation and gratitude.
Additional Background Information on U-M team accomplishments during Martin’s tenure:
Since 2000-01, Martin’s first full academic year as director of athletics, through 2008-09, Michigan teams won 72 conference regular-season or tournament championships, with a high of 11 titles in 2003-04 and eight apiece in 2004-05 and 2007-08. The Wolverines recorded 35 top-five national finishes during that same span, highlighted by eight top-fives in 2003-04.
During Martin’s tenure, U-M claimed two national championships, with field hockey in 2001 earning the school’s first national title in a women’s team sport and softball winning the 2005 NCAA Women’s College World Series.
In case you need it, here’s the breakdown ...
57 conference championships
12 conference tournament titles
3 conference regular-season dual-meet titles (wrestling)