Hello: New Athletic Director Dave Brandon Comment Count

Brian January 5th, 2010 at 1:21 AM

As suggested by this and every other site that ventured to offer an opinion about who Michigan's next athletic director would be, the new head man is current (and soon to be former) Domino's CEO Dave Brandon. Angelique Chengelis has the scoop:

Dave Brandon, the chairman and CEO of Domino's Pizza and a former Michigan football player and university Regent, has agreed to a five-year contract to become Michigan's new athletic director and is expected to be introduced to the department staff Tuesday morning, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Brandon, 57, has deep ties to the university and also to Michigan business and politics and has long been considered the front-runner to replace athletic director Bill Martin.

Ladies and gentlemen, the new guy:

It's late so no full analysis right now other than "nice hair." Between Brandon and Greg Robinson, we've got a regular Just For Men commercial going on over here. Daddy, you should really start dating again.

Something to address the foremost question in your mind—"what does this mean for Rich Rodriguez?"—is appropriate, however. When a couple of tipsters indicated that Brandon was a more likely candidate than I suggested in my first stab at the candidate list I related the tipster's take on Brandon's opinion of the head coach:

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.

At the point I posted that no one else was suggesting that Brandon was a clear front-runner and most assumed, as I had, that Brandon's other desires would preclude a serious run at the job: the likelihood the above is quality information is very high. Brandon will give Rodriguez a fair shake at turning things around.

A quick take: Brandon is a default, safe choice. That probably sounds like damning with faint praise to an outsider, but Michigan fans will take the safe choice 100 times out of 100 at the moment. He was a regent. He's worked with Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman on the stadium renovations. He's a serious business-type person who should continue Bill Martin's legacy of financial stability, and he was a walk-on on the football team so he could better about the stadium atmosphere issues—in all revenue sports—I've expressed some discontent about.

There are some differences between running a major corporation and a major athletic department but there are just as many differences between running Oregon State or Arkansas and running Michigan; I'm perfectly content with the hire. This won't be another Goss. The only downside I can see is that Brandon's familiarity with the people in the department might make him loathe to clean out a bunch of people who have committed error after error—Marcus Witherspoon, practice log fiascoes, compliance issues, possibly Adrian Witty—in the last couple years.


winged helmet

January 5th, 2010 at 1:41 AM ^

Now taking bets: over-under of 2 years until the Stadium is serving up that "delicious" Dominoes again.

PS - This says it was posted at 2:21 AM, yet it's just 1:39 AM. Does MGoBlog have magical powers?


January 5th, 2010 at 2:07 AM ^

Can't complain. Athletic Department should be in good financial hands for the next few years and hopefully, he's better with some of the hiring decisions than Martin was. Not a shot at RR, but the whole search was a fiasco. Hopefully, he learned from Martin's mistakes.


January 5th, 2010 at 9:42 AM ^

Yes, the search was a fiasco, but how much of that was Martin's fault? Sure, he's the public captain, but how much do we really know about the influence of the Les Miles Fan Club, Lloyd, and other elements? I'd guess that it was a three-ring circus and that Martin only *shared* the blame.

All the leadership ability in the world won't matter if it isn't accompanied by an appropriate level of power and ability to make decisions.


January 5th, 2010 at 10:39 AM ^

As the Athletic Director, Martin was responsible for the fiasco that was UM's head football coach search, as well as the other fiascoes that occurred on his watch, regardless as to the level of his personal involvement. That is why Martin also deserves the credit for landing Rich Rod.


January 5th, 2010 at 7:23 AM ^

When the news broke during the EDSBS Liveblog of the Fiesta Bowl, the best joke about it was easily:

"With the Domino's CEO being named the new Michigan AD, I can't wait for the sign in his office: '5-7 has a distinct cardboard taste.'"

Honestly, I can't wait for the new era of Michigan perfectitude that should follow this change.


January 5th, 2010 at 7:47 AM ^

At least we'll have no problem bulking up linemen! Eating a pizza every night has never been more affordable.

I wonder if Domino Farms will add a big block M to their holiday light display.

Six Zero

January 5th, 2010 at 8:46 AM ^

Everyone now:
I solemnly vow to never consume
Pizza Hut products again.

Honestly, I'm pretty happy with this. Brandon is obviously a successful business man and brand shepherd on the national stage. We are looking for have gotten someone that can not only make lots of money for the athletic department, but also exert some control and influence on our public image across the country. Moreover, I'm very relieved to hear about the connection between he and Rich. What I think the program needs from the athletic department is consistency and momentum heading into next year.

I'm pleased with this choice. Let the pizza jokes ensue.


January 5th, 2010 at 8:09 AM ^

One thing that has amazed me about RR's tenure is that the same media that he has been so friendly to have consistently raked him over the coals since he arrived in Ann Arbor. Carr treated the media like dirt and they were nice to him; RR is nice to the media and they treat him like dirt.

It doesn't really make a lot of sense, but I have a feeling that RR will not continue make the program as "transparent" as he has, because of the apparent inverse relationship between transparency and positive press.

st barth

January 5th, 2010 at 8:50 AM ^

That's awesome news. I love Domino's pizza. It's one of the things I miss most about Ann Arbor (and the US too, for that matter). Mmmmm...delicious!

Feat of Clay

January 5th, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

He has also played a big role in fundraising for the new children's hospital, FWIW.

He was not just a regent, but a GOOD regent. There is a difference.

The guy is smart, he listens, he has the University's best interests at heart. I think this is fantastic.


January 5th, 2010 at 10:17 AM ^

I never attended Michigan, but with the Domino's CEO as the new AD, I feel like my proclivity for getting high and ordering Domino's Pizza finally makes me a real Michigan Man.


January 5th, 2010 at 10:41 AM ^

So when does all the corporate advertising around the stadium begin? I thought Bill Martin did the $$ thing for the Athletic Dept. It seemed to be a popular belief that the Athletic dept needed an experienced AD not another CEO type. I'm not so sure the Regents understand athletics and its importance to this university.

Oh well, pizza for everyone. Can the AD bring Dominos back to Jackson? All the Dominos stores closed their doors in Jackson at least two years ago.


January 5th, 2010 at 10:55 AM ^

Are you kidding? Having a sound money mind at the top is the biggest key! In a few years, when OSU announces that sweatervest will be cutting 5 key assistant positions because the football program is massively outstripping its budget, and Michigan is building a new Taj Mahal or something, you'll be singing a different tune.

Dr Sardonicus

January 5th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

The people who screwed up with Witty, Witherspoon, practice logs, compliance are all from the Lloyd era. No way Brandon will do anything to Lloyd's people.

If I was Rodriguez and something like the Clemson job was available, I'd be getting out of town as fast as I could. It isn't, so he'll be here through 2010.

It's not whether Brandon is supportive -- the same underlings who've been pulling the death by a thousand cuts stuff on Rodriguez are going to be emboldened by this hire. And they'll pull the same crap on the next coach if he's not Hoke or DeBord.

The most reassuring background thing would be the reassignment of some AD staff as well as some "retirements". Starting with Scott Draper. But, as noted above, I'm highly highly skeptical that that will happen.

03 Blue 07

January 5th, 2010 at 1:42 PM ^

Though I don't agree with the "Clemson" logic, I must admit, that this hire does make me take a "wait and see" approach (as opposed to a "WOOT!" reaction). I realize that Brian just opined that Brandon is supportive of RR, etc, but I do wonder if you may be somewhat right about the people in the Athletic Department and whether or not there will be a shakeup. I am sure I am like all Michigan fans in being pissed off about how the Witty/practice logs/Witherspoon-type stuff was handled and do not feel that it is satisfactory performance by the athletic department according to my own expectations, but...we also might want to keep in mind that this is the same athletic department that has kept our football program clean- major shakeups could mean even worse problem. (As in, the grass may not be greener on the other side).

I guess I am just somewhat skeptical* of the hire, given what we've heard, but optimistic.

*And I'd be lying if I said I like the fact that this guy is responsible for the massive cross outside of Ann Arbor and his establishement (I believe) of Ave Maria law school, but those are personal things, and should not have anything to do with how his performance as A.D. is judged, obvs.

Dr Sardonicus

January 5th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

As for the cross and Ave Maria, that's Tom Monaghan's doing, not Brandon's. I don't even think Brandon was working for Domino's when those endeavors began.

Rodriguez? There are people in the athletic department who've dropped the ball on things (like filing practice reports--which was their responsibility, not Rodriguez's, Rodriguez just had to fill them out). If there are no consequences for such incidents, that will speak volumes about the Brandon regime.

If Brandon is as supportive of Rodriguez (or Beilein, or Red) as Brian was told, then he needs to eliminate the behind the scenes stuff as soon as he has the authority to do so. His statements today about factions were reassuring, hopefully he recognizes that there is a problem and causes me to eat my words.


January 5th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Beyond the "he should leave right away" (like teams are beating down the door to hire a guy who's won 3 conference games in 2 years), calling out people by name, to be fired, is never cool. Less so in this economy. What in the world with your limited internet knowledge do you know that Scott Draper has ever done or not done? Stay Classy.

Dr Sardonicus

January 5th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

Oh, I suspect Rodriguez would be in demand at a number of schools if people thought he was available. No, Florida wouldn't hire him to replace Meyer. But Clemson, if that job was open? They'd think "U-M was a bad fit for him, he was here before, did well, we know the guy". A coach's reputation isn't simply defined by what he did when he coached at your favorite school.

As for Draper, friends of mine have had run-ins with him. You're right, I shouldn't have let those experiences lead to me publicly calling him out like that.


January 5th, 2010 at 3:20 PM ^

The question is if M will have to pull a ND and respectfully decline a bowl bid to play in the Papa John's Bowl in Birmingham.

(Again, I am so sorry for my contribution)