The UM Club of Cleveland is presenting a reception and program with David Brandon tonight. Anyone else going to this event?
a terrible blight on our fine country
that pimp hand is let going to let you stay the night? Hell no! You won't get any cuddling either and you'll like it!
I was going with the simpsons line
homer gets season tickets to the theater
"an evening with phillip glass" ... "just an evening?"
An evening with David Brandon? Is the pimp hand as strong as it is smooth?
i've touched it. it's quite creamy.
Breakfast with Dave too!
I bet he's strong yet tender.
Just like I imagine him to be when I close my eyes.
You'll be the yellow man with the mug of beer?
I'm looking forward to meeting him and shaking his pimp hand in person to test both its strength and apparently delightful texture.
make sure you take a big homemade Fire Rich Rod sign
Somebody actually negged you for this? Wow, people don't really appreciated good humor around here much these days.
no, that person was right. it should say KILL RICH ROD
I believe my uncle will be there. He's vice ceo of owens community college and UofM class of 76
I really would have enjoyed meeting him, but my Thanksgiving break started on Friday, so I'm back in Michigan. Hopefully the pimp hand will rub off on you.
Hopefully the pimp hand will rub off on you.
This just sounds wrong.
Why the defense is so young -- how much of that is the coaches' responsibility vs. bad luck? It would be interesting to hear his thoughts on that.
He's doing an event in Ohio this week? Hope he took the bulletproof limo.
I'll fire up the Limo-Tracker and make sure he stays on course.
The Columbus Alumni Club got DB down here in the spring the week the self imposed NCAA sanctions were announced. UofM Invisibility Cloak provided by superior College of Engineering.
I want to see an Undercover Boss with Dave Brandon and the UM Athletic Department. He'd be dressed up in his M uniform from back in the day...put GERG to the test.
And so, what did he say?
any recap of the event?
Brandon covered a lot of ground. I didn't take notes but will summarize what I remember, and hopefully others can pick up the slack.
- He started by tell us he stepped down as CEO of Domino's to become AD because "it's a better job," and then gave an extended explanation why, themed around how all of the major opportunities and successes in his life are because of his connections to Michigan. Spoke of growing up on the farm, not being able to afford college but given the opportunity because of football and Bo. Was going to be a teacher, but was recruited into Proctor & Gamble because Bo recommended him. (And after he rose through the ranks at P&G and began recruiting Michigan himself, discovered why Bo recommended him - the list of characteristics they were looking for including good students, good character guys, leaders, hard workers . . . and no prospects for playing in the NFL.) He joined Valassis Communications on the recommendation/referral of a former teammate at Michigan, and eventually became their CEO. Through running for Regent at Michigan, he met Mitt Romney, and when Romney's investment group bought Domino's, they brought him over.
- On top of all that, his twin sons were born 30 years ago with a rare blood disorder, were rushed to Mott, where the attending that day just happened to be an expert in that very disorder. Spent months in the NICU, but recovered; the only adverse effect they suffered, he said, was that one of them went to Ohio State (but later got a Master's at Michigan). And Brandon himself was diagnosed with prostate cancer 8 years ago, and he flew all over the country to interview the top urologists in the country. He asked them who they would choose, and they all referred him to the doctor 3 miles from his house, at Michigan.
- He spoke at length about all that's happened since he became AD - NCAA investigation (which he described as hell; he obviously hates that he had to go through that, and it was the one point of the evening when I thought he might fire Rodriguez); conference expansion (he said they looked at 14- and 16-team models, and thinks it'll be headed that way within the next few years, but jumped on Nebraska when the opportunity arose); night game against Notre Dame (he described how awful it is for players to play at night on the road, ended with "So I thought we should do that to someone else for a change"); game against Alabama in 2012 ("Denard will be a senior"); the Big Chill; Crisler renovation; probably more I'm forgetting.
- Spoke a bit about Ohio State, it being Ohio State week. Emphasized how important it is. He noted he played for 3 years at Michigan (freshmen were ineligible then - "That was a good rule, especially if they play defense"), went 30-1-1, only lost and tied to Ohio State. First went in '69 - he was a senior being recruited - and they went 2-2-1 from '69-'73. 57-43 record against Ohio State, but they're determined to make it up. We've been down for too long, and need to get back on top. Respects Ohio State, their entire athletic program, and they're ahead of us in a lot of ways; but we're Michigan, he's here to bring us back even and then surpass them.
Question and answers; I don't remember them all, but some bullets:
- Wants to start varsity men's and women's lacrosse; didn't mention a particular timeline.
- Crisler renovation - described how he helps Beilein recruit (and had great things to say about Beilein; that man's job is very safe), and how the facilities kill us. Will put $60 million in to Crisler; looking for donors, but will borrow if he has to.
- Football game days - wants a "wow" factor, events people remember. Planning on celebrating Desmond Howard at the Notre Dame night game. Mentioned the parachuter bringing in the game ball for Michigan State.
- A few questions about Wisconsin, the defensive line, tackling (one tiny old woman, in a squeaky voice, asked: "Why can't they tackle?"). A few riffs - it's frustrating, we need to get better, we're not where we need to be. We're inexperienced and young. 19-year olds are a lot different from guys in the program for 3, 4, 5 years (inc. strength and conditioning). Said he watches the entire game film with Coach Rodriguez ever Sunday at 8:30 am.
- Eventually someone asked if Rodriguez can get us back to Big Ten championships. Brandon: "I didn't call you here to do a performance review of Coach Rodriguez. I'm not going to do a public performance review, just like your employer wouldn't." Some applause. At the end of the year, reviews every coach in every sport - looks at record, graduation rates, academic profile of the athletes, academic profile of recruits, interviews of outgoing seniors, entire staff, makes a decision about whether they're getting where they need to go. Goal of every sport is championships. Football leads the way - 66% of the revenue, most visible.
- Division in the athletic department? Talked about how the coaching search was too public and too long - everyone (media, boosters, fans) tried to help out, and started to latch on to who they wanted to be the coach. When Rodriguez came in, there was a large group of people that didn't want him there - that hasn't happened to a Michigan coach in 50 or 60 years. Winning is what makes that go away, and we're not winning yet.
- He came in to make things happen. When President Coleman called, he told her if she wants a caretaker to oversee the department, he's not the guy. He'll push things, make changes, take the department in some new directions.
Overall, he's a very impressive guy - straightforward, admits problems, obviously has a vision of where the athletic department should be and not afraid to push it there. The pimp hand was in good form. I was ready to sign up for just about anything he asked me to.
Also, Aaron Shea and John Kolesar were in attendance. I spoke to John Kolesar a bit - seemed like a nice guy, asked me when I graduated, what I did, what I thought of the program. And this as I threatened to take our conversation to the Chris Farley Show ("Um, remember that time you caught that touchdown pass against Ohio State? Remember that? That was awesome.").
He was working his way through Ohio - Cincinnati on Sunday, Columbus yesterday afternoon and Toledo today. He was very personable and blunt.
Said the hearing with the NCAA was hell and never wants to go through that again. Said he spent less time with attorneys working on a billion dollar deal than he did in preparing for the hearing.
He was asked about why the defense is so bad and was grilled by a little 70 year old woman who wanted to know why they don't know how to tackle. Explanation was that the players are not very good. No immediate solution because you can't trade them or buy them (unless you are Kentucky - first of many shots against the Kentucky basketball program). Tackling is not practiced at full speed because of the fear of injury. Unfortunately, the other teams do not cooperate and play at half speed during the games. Said he gets many letters, emails and calls with advice from all of the football experts out there. But, he did not get any of those for the first 5 weeks of the season even though the defense sucked (his actual words). Bottom line is winning cures everything.
Desmond to be honored before the Notre Dame night game next year.
Someone asked if he thought Rich Rod was the man to lead Michigan back to Big Ten Championships. Was kind of rough on the questioner and said he would not deliver a performance review. Will review everything - team performance, academic performance, recruiting, etc - after the season is over. He and Rich Rod watch the game film together every Sunday morning.
Had to get regent approval for all the fireworks that are going to be shot off at the Big Chill and he is working on some other surprises to make that event unforgettable.