Hello Dave Brandon?
OH SNAP FUTURE AD (POSSIBLY)
In the initial post on the topic, I lumped Dave Brandon in with a few folks who had been mentioned for the job but weren't likely to be strong candidates for one reason or another. Brandon's reason: his political aspirations. If the guy is going to run for governor or the Senate or something, he can't be Michigan's AD.
Since then I've acquired the following pieces of information from a source close to the situation, as they say:
- His political aspirations are real but have been put on the backburner because the state GOP doesn't want him to run for governor.
- Assuming politics are out of the equation—not 100%, but likely—Brandon would jump at the job.
- Brandon worked very closely with both Martin and Coleman on the stadium renovations and during the football coaching search. He's a known quantity in the AD and a guy the people at the top of the pyramid are comfortable with.
- The tinfoil-hat wing of the internet that's suggested Brandon is a part of the shadowy anti-RR cabal hypothetically headed by Lloyd Carr could not be more wrong. Brandon was a key supporter of Rodriguez's candidacy. He and RR have dinner regularly. 3-9 engenders some frustration, but one of the items cited was Rodriguez getting "too friendly with the media".
This is not someone who has anything but the program's best interests in mind. Brandon would represent an RR faction* win.
If Brandon wants the job I'm betting he's the front-runner. While the two BCS ADs have more direct experience running a department, Brandon is more familiar with the main folks at Michigan. He's been a regent and a CEO of a major corporation; he's worked with Martin on important projects within the department. And he was a walk-on at Michigan. Contrary to the previous post, I think Brandon is the most likely choice until I hear specific contradictory information.
PRE-CLARIFICATION: None of this information comes from the Michigan side of things; I don't know what they're thinking. I'm thinking I know what they're thinking.
*(Assuming that there is any actual anti-RR faction within the athletic department.)
On De Carolis And Long
So there are some complicating factors with the guy who seems like an easy #1 choice. A couple tipsters indicated that his departure from the Michigan athletic department was less than amicable. A former Daily writer explains:
I had a chance to interview Don Canham in 1991 when I was on the staff at the Michigan Daily. He was quite pissed with Bob DeCarolis then about quotes DeCarolis had given which showed up in a book by Murray Sperber on college athletics about how Canham put the athletic department in the red in having the Canham Natatorium built. DeCarolis thought it was a money-wasting project to feed Canham's ego. Doubt that would be held against him given that he stayed in the athletic department until 1996 and it wasn't like he pissed on Bo's grave as Harbaugh essentially did when he said he was steered into Mickey Mouse classes while playing football at Michigan. But, from what I just read in The Wolverine that feud with Canham is certainly not a distant memory.
Same guy also had some interaction with Jeff Long:
I think Jeff Long was probably the athletic department's first "Director of Football Operations." (akin to the position Scott Draper has today). Probably the job was essentially created after Long's GA tenure expired but he was liked by Bo and his staff to keep him around. He obviously made the most of the opportunity given where he is today. As student managers, our orders and assignments mainly came from Jeff Long and Jon Falk. Overall, Long was a decent, hard-working, straightforward guy back then who was easy to deal with and didn't have any hidden agendas.
If folks are over the Sperber incident from almost 20 years ago and De Carolis gets offered the job, he'll likely take the job. He's frustrated with Oregon State's inability to fill its 45k stadium:
"There's still uncertainty," De Carolis said Wednesday, expressing frustration in particular over attendance at football games, "no doubt about it. The free fall has stopped but I think it's going to be a challenge."
De Carolis did not intend to call out Oregon State fans, but he came very close when discussing the school's inability to fill 45,674-seat Reser Stadium.
"I've never seen a state like this, where it's one or the other, you're a Duck or you're a Beaver," De Carolis said. "Well, if (OSU alumni) are so proud of that, why is it so hard to keep this thing going? We have a hell of a football product -- a hell of a football product -- and we can't sell out the stadium?"
"Where are all the Beaver fans?"
The same Oregon-based reader who sent that link also mentions that local sports talk radio has discussed the possibility and they think an offer means De Carolis is gone.
On MAC Folk
At this point I'm pretty sure the two guys in the MAC are going to have to wait.