Having not seen any reports I thought the board might like one from John U.’s appearance last night in Grand Rapids.
His book tour appearance was held at the Grand Rapids Downtown Food Market, a high end foodie market with a number of high end butchers, fish mongers, etc. The room used was on the 2nd floor in a teaching kitchen type area. Lots of seating, nice sized room. It was packed, standing room only.
John U. began with a talk, discussing the backstory of why he wrote the book, the limited time to get it done, and amount of the story that he didn’t know.
Most of the talk after centered around information already released in the book snippets we’ve mostly already seen, Brandon alienating every group on campus, trying to always be the center of attention, etc.
Then came the question and answer period. One question dealt with the lack of control exercised by the board relative to the extension given to Brandon, by MSC. John U. noted that MSC had just been given a contract extension herself of two years. When it came to Brandon’s extension, MSC “pushed all of her chips in” to support it. If the regents had stood up to her, they would basically have made her a lame duck for two years. So, John U. said, they had nothing else to do but let it go.
However, I want to make clear, John U. has a great deal of respect for Brandon. He was a great regent. He was able to work across the aisle, do things for the betterment of the university without worrying about his own fame and fortune. MSC came to depend on him greatly. But, and this is the big but, when he became AD he lost his head. He wanted to become famous as being the AD. One example I was unaware of; when Michigan beat MSU in basketball one time, Brandon got in the handshake line. When Michigan won the national championship in Gymnastics, Brandon grabbed the trophy, before the coach, got his picture taken hoisting it aloft and then handed it back to the coach.
Also asked of John U.; is there a chance that Hackett stays on permanently. John U. said that he could provide only a little bit of info, but he believes that if Hackett was going to stay permanently the interim title would be gone by now.
Finally, one younger questioner asked if John U. had ever heard of a student body protesting an AD, and as a follow-up, “Did you ever consider titling the book Brandon’s Lasting Lessons?” John U. had a good laugh at that, noting “I read yesterday on MgoBlog that I’m offended at that name. I’m not.” He went on to note that it would be bad marketing (a theme in the talk) if he referred to a book as something other than the actual title. He also agreed that the student body protesting the AD was a big thing. People weren’t calling for the coach to be fired, they wanted the AD fired.
The line to get the book signed was long, but John U. was gracious. If you get a chance go on and attend one of his tour stops.