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!