Good morning everyone, and thank you for coming. Before today's very special announcement I want to acknowledge the University of Michigan Board of Regents. Their support, their dedicatio,n and their advice during this process was invaluable. Joining us today our region's Bernstein, Ilitch, Dietch, White, and Diggs, and I'm sure the others are busily at their day jobs and watching us on television.
I'm pleased to announce that I have selected Warde Manuel to serve as the next Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan. [/clapping.] My work here is now done. [/aughs.]
Warde will begin on March the 14th. Warde knows how to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the field. He is a three-time University of Michigan alumnus with a degree in general studies and a focus in psychology, a Masters in social work, and an MBA from our Ross School of Business. He was a University of Michigan student athlete in football and track and field and played under Bo Schembechler.
I want to thank interim A.D. Jim Hackett for his exemplary service to the athletic department and the University of Michigan. Jim, could you please stand up? [/clapping] For more than a year Jim served with a level of distinction and integrity befitting the University of Michigan's highest values. He accomplished a great deal in a very short time and leaves the department in wonderful shape. He brought us Coach Harbaugh, contract extensions for coaches John Beilein and Kim Barnes-Arico, a new apparel contract with Nike, and most importantly has upheld the high expectations we have for the academic, social, and community success of our student athletes on our 31 teams. Jim's willingness to assist with the A.D. search has helped me identify an outstanding successor.
In addition to him I also think the six other members of the search and advisory committee. I thank student government president Cooper Charlton for advice, and our search consultants Len Perna and Gene DeFillipo from Turnkey for their excellent work. We reached out and solicited broad community input and we set the bar high in our search for a permanent athletic director. We considered a large pool of outstanding candidates. Central criteria included a focus on the success and well-being of our student athletes in the classroom, in their sport, in the Ann Arbor community, and with respect to their health and safety; uncompromising integrity with an absolute commitment to play and win by the rules; competitiveness at the highest levels – at Michigan we strive for league and national championships, every team, every year; a passion for integrating athletics with the entirety of our campus community– we are at our best when our strengths as a university complement and enhance one another; respect and appreciation for the U of M's traditions, including the importance of athletics to our students, our alumni, and our fans. We were looking for an innovative but financially responsible steward for our self-supporting athletic department, and someone who can be a national voice for maintaining and enhancing the collegiate model of athletics.
Warde brings outstanding athletics experience to Michigan and embodies all of those characteristics and values. He has worked in our athletic department under former A.D. Bill Martin. Since then he has served as an A.D. at Buffalo and Connecticut, where his teams have won championships and dramatically improved classroom performance. Michigan athletics is celebrating its 150th anniversary this academic year and our University is gearing up to celebrate it's 200th birthday. Nowhere else are traditions of excellence in academics and athletics measured in centuries. The amazing accomplishments of our teams and student-athletes bring our community together in celebration of the values and success and we are known for worldwide: 56 team national championships, 307 individual national titles, 376 Big Ten championships, and 121 academic All-Americans. I have every confidence that our future will be even brighter, and Warde Manuel is the right individual to lead Michigan athletics into that future. Warde, on behalf of the Michigan family I welcome you, your wife Chrislan, and your family back to Ann Arbor. I look forward to working with you, and let me be the first to say to our next athletic director Go Blue.
[After THE JUMP: Manuel's remarks, in which I will butcher someone’s name and I apologize for that but I think he thanked the entire staff of the University and Google only gets you so far]