Schlissel: Choosing Hackett led to success

Schlissel: Choosing Hackett led to success

Submitted by UMProud on September 29th, 2015 at 6:49 AM

"Since University President Mark Schlissel’s arrival on campus, drastic changes have been made. Student season football ticket prices fell from $295 to $175. The team is 3-1, and is ranked at No. 22 in the AP Top 25 poll. Coach Jim Harbaugh has lived up to the hype so far, and Schlissel attributes much of the Athletic Department’s success to Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett."

"It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say these changes have reshaped the Athletic Department over the past 12 months. But the biggest difference might be Hackett’s overall philosophy, which he elaborated upon during an April fireside chat with students. He told the students he doesn’t want Michigan athletic events to feel “corporate.”

“I don’t want to sound sarcastic,” Hackett said. “What I don’t want is more entertainment that’s not football. I think that works in the pros, but we’re in college. I believe college shouldn’t be like the pros. It shouldn’t cost like the pros.”

Source: The Michigan Daily, 9/29/2015, Jake Lourim

What is a Fan?

What is a Fan?

Submitted by ruthmahner on April 20th, 2015 at 1:54 PM

Over the past week or two, this community has done a fair amount of discussing what it means to be a fan, how to distinguish between a “real” fan and a “fair-weather” one, and what value might be assigned to each group. In Brian's inaugural Athletic Director post, he mentioned “sustaining the enterprise” in his three-point assessment of what an AD's job should entail - - and got some comments that he hadn't given enough attention to the fanbase.  In the “Michigan Dark Secrets” thread, there were so many Body Snatcher-like accusations of “not a real fan!!” that posters started giving a disclaimer before they divulged their confession: “This may make me sound like a bad fan, but....”

So, what exactly is a fan? Hans Christian Andersen gave us a rather silly test to determine the authenticity of a royal claim in “The Princess and the Pea”, involving a legume and multiple layers of bedding.  In reality, such a test is as simple as determining one's parentage; it has nothing to do with sensitivity. When it comes to fandom, however, the situation is reversed. History, parentage, even educational background have little to do with it. This forum is chock-full of Michigan maniacs who earned (or are currently earning) degrees from other institutions, even - - dare I say it? - - Ohio State and MSU.  Fandom is all about sensitivity, and this makes it a rather subjective assessment.

As I perused the posts in “Michigan Dark Secrets”, I was struck by how differently passionate people can react to a single pivotal event. Some of us were unable to watch to the end of a game, when our team was being thrashed on the field of play. Some were unable to turn away. Some stopped attending games in person but watched on TV, while a few in despair had to record the contests and decide after the fact whether to watch or not.  As in politics (oh no!! verboten subject!), it seems that intelligent people of good intentions with a common desire can see the path to that goal taking opposite directions.

There was, however, a thread of continuity throughout, and that was this: every Michigan fan made his decisions (whether to buy a ticket, whether to stay for the end of a game) with the athletes, the school, and the program solidly in focus.  And I think this rather clinical distinction is where we all come together on the great Venn diagram. The students who petitioned and rallied for change found their drive in a desire to make Michigan athletics proud, the same drive that compelled other students to stay the course. The fans who held their ground and stayed in their seats even as their team was crumbling before them did so because they longed to give support and strength to a program they love, but so did the fans who got up and left.

Apparently, fandom cannot be quantified in a specific action or characteristic.  It exists in that nebulous world of sensitivity. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously once said of defining pornography, “I know it when I see it”. In the case of fandom, I know it when I feel it.

By contrast, the “fair-weather” or bandwagon fans are, well, not fans at all. They're spectators. I don't care much about major league baseball, but hey, I live near Kansas City. When the Royals made a run last year, I bought a shirt and wore it. Yay, team! Good job! Whatever. I'll never be jumping out of my seat on an August afternoon, knocking over my neighbor's beer, to reach for a foul ball. But I'm important to that franchise (as independent voters are to political parties), because they can earn my attention and therefore, my support.

A fan's attention and support doesn't have to be earned. Even a disenchanted fan loves his team and desperately wants to regain that thrill of pride. Wolverines who went all Tasmanian Devil after the 2006 Ohio State game felt themselves redeemed in 2011, while spectators at both contests watched with interest and said, “Huh. Good game, eh?”

Let's hope that the new athletic director, be it Jim Hackett or anyone else, finds a way to “sustain the enterprise” that both re-connects the fans and catches the interest of the spectators. HARBAUGH was a magnificent first step. Winning will be a good second.

Jim Hackett: For the first time in 7 years, there's a waiting list for tickets

Jim Hackett: For the first time in 7 years, there's a waiting list for tickets

Submitted by Don on April 4th, 2015 at 1:08 PM

In the course of being interviewed live by Dierdorf and Brandstatter, Jim Hackett just stated there is now a waiting list for season tickets, he said for the first time in seven years.

The hire of Harbaugh is already reaping financial rewards. Money very well invested.

Jim Hackett Just Saved This Football Program

Jim Hackett Just Saved This Football Program

Submitted by blue_shift on December 30th, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Jim Hackett just saved this football program.

My first game at the Big House was The Horror, and since that day I had never felt truly good about Michigan football. Instead, what I felt was a potent mix of dread and apathy. During the Hoke experiment, things got even worse, and Michigan was truly in trouble. We were much closer to the precipice of Ivy League-esque football irrelevance than any of us care to admit.

Today, that feeling changed. And it changed because Jim Hackett had the brains to bring a great coach home and the balls to go out and get him.

I was cautious about the Harbaugh rumors, perhaps overly so. I knew Hackett was smart, but I never anticipated the true extent of his intelligence, finesse, and persuasiveness. How ironic that the man who ushered in the first steps in the forthcoming Michigan resurgence was not the brassy, penny-pinching Pizza Man but the understated businessman with a soul.

Jim^2 deserves a place in A^2 for years to come.

Schlissel got it Right

Schlissel got it Right

Submitted by bluebyyou on December 30th, 2014 at 1:04 PM

As I was watching the press conference announcing Jim Harbaugh as the new coach, I started thinking that Mark Schlissel really turned a potential disaster into a home run.  This has been said on here before, but I believe it is worth repeating.  Getting Harbaugh was a coup of the first order.

Considering Schlissel's lack of experience with athletic programs at major universities where athletics is a big deal, the selection of Jim Hackett as an AD can not be overstated.  I suspect that the last thing Schlissel thought about during his interviews and vetting leading up to his appointment as Michigan's new president was termoil in the athletic department.

Kudos to Mark Schlissel.....your appointment of Hackett as the AD was a winner.




Hackett Talks the Talk

Hackett Talks the Talk

Submitted by MayOhioEatTurds on December 2nd, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Mr. Hackett deserves credit for talking the talk:

"I wanted to make sure that Brady received adequate time to exhibit the results that would come from his effort and I believe that Brady and our coaching staff had enough time to produce those results and unfortunately they are not there.  In the end, I feel that moving in a different direction is the right decision.  I wish Brady and his family all the best in the future."

All that remains to be seen is whether Mr. Hackett can walk the walk--which Mr. Hackett has lucidly defined as having a football coach who can "produce . . . results." 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, Mr. Hackett.