Global Leaders Forum - Dave Brandon

Submitted by seniorbearcat on February 1st, 2013 at 5:32 PM


I went to Toledo’s medical campus this morning to watch Dave Brandon speak on leadership; approximately 200 people were in attendance, he spoke for an hour and then took questions.  DB knocked the cover off the ball with his speech…the topic…Managing Change. Below are a couple of the examples he used in relationship to his current job. I took a couple pages of notes and spoke with him afterwards…Great Event!

"If change is constant, and change creates chaos...Chaos is more the NORM." 

Sudden Change was a concept BO instilled in him…told this story…What is the toughest challenge for the Defense? Forcing a team to punt…heading to the sidelines to rest / get a drink and the offense turns over the ball on the next play. You see the offense running off the field with their head down and sometimes the D is ANGRY at their failure. BO made his team’s practice for Sudden Change…everyone on the sidelines called it out whenever it happened, Sudden Change!…and they practiced it trying to uplift THE TEAM…Bo was tired of offenses scoring the NEXT play after a turnover…he embraced and taught about Sudden Change. Brandon talked further about mental toughness and managing change vs. reacting to change.

So where was Michigan in 2010 when DB was hired…Brandon used the words “divided house.” Michigan was ranked 26th in the Directors Cup standings (4th in the Big 10 alone) and renovations were sorely needed to certain athletic facilities. Schools like Florida, Texas, Ohio St. were expanding their AD and moving ahead of Michigan…Football funds 80% of the AD…”Golden Goose so to speak” and we just came off back to back losing seasons along with being notified by the NCAA for “Major Rules Violations.”

 Dave Brandon took a business approach and ran the AD office through “The Denison Model” system…the 2 lowest scores for Michigan.

1.       Team Orientation…“kind of like a pilot who gets airsick” was the phrase DB used

2.       Creating change…scored 7/100 (almost a record low score in businesses using The Denison Model)…Innovation 17/100, Creativity 5/100, etc

DB said Michigan had a culture that “liked doing what we were doing”…he hired a talent director to help out… “Sometimes you can’t change a culture without changing people.” DB pointed out that they just re-did “The Denison Model and innovation went from 17 to 86. Everybody in the AD is part of a TEAM, not staff…costs you $5 to call somebody staff…Michigan needed to create a TEAM culture.

Brandon  put up an impressive PowerPoint that showed innovative things done since 2010…The Big Chill, Night Game at Big House, Weddings on the block M with the bridal party coming out of the tunnel, etc…the whole screen was filled with 50+ bubbles of new things that had high approvals. Told a story about permanent lights and the night game…said he was getting all kinds of calls…You’re an idiot / You know how far I travel to go to games, now I will need a hotel /BO is spinning in his grave, football is played at 12 / BUM and on and on….He joked that he’s being called an idiot now because of NO night game in 2012. Stopped to tell the crowd that he has been speaking longer already than the playing time he got as a football player under Bo.

With regards to the topic on here earlier…Dave Brandon did not mention catfishing nor did he mention ND in any way when talking about the challenges that social media brings to student athletes.  He did point out that these 18-23 year old kids are under a different kind of microscope nowadays (fishbowl analogy)…some people forget these kids have rough times in schools, parents getting divorced, away from home, etc…they deal with a lot, then they mess up in a game and people curse their name…we try to be proactive in dealing with social media…used the example that people have been reading about on here today. Brandon made the point that… “You’re held to a higher standard as a student athlete at Michigan, represent the TEAM well.”

"The Athletic Department has a huge role in what people think about Michigan...What's one of the 1st things you think about when you hear Penn State?" Talked about working with the University and representing the Block M well…going to be asking for $300 million over the next 10 years for additional improvements.

Conference realignment…Nebraska, Maryland, Rutgers…more coming in this new conference landscape, staying continuous is important. Closer to travel to Maryland and Rutgers than Nebraska…talked about how unusual it is with WVU being in the B12…continuous is nice. Somebody asked about ND and he said they made their choice and seem happy where they are headed…was brief when talking about ND.

I have a lot more but I feel like I am typing a book…there’s my decent recap on some of the UM stuff he spoke on (He also had examples from P&G, Valassis, Dominos, etc). 



February 1st, 2013 at 6:37 PM ^

Posts like this are ridiculous - OP took time out of his day to share some info he thought the board would find useful, and b/c you don't like the grammar or length, you feel compelled to sign in and make a truly useless post filled with jackassery?  Seriously, what is the point of even saying that?


February 2nd, 2013 at 6:55 AM ^

I admit to being one of those "rigid" guys. It just hurts my eyes to see improper spelling most of all. However, I realize this is the Internet and people are typing quickly. Typos will happen.

I do agree with your point. I don't think it's necessary to make disparaging remarks, especially with a tone of condescension. If you don't like, don't read.

Tyrone Biggums

February 1st, 2013 at 6:23 PM ^

I think Brandon has done a great job at using the start up mentality and also holding on to the traditions that make the university great. More than ever institutions need to be adaptable to change while staying true to your core pricipals. The pseudo catfishing of student athletes is a great example like it or not. People can bitch and moan about unis, UTL, expansion all they want but time doesn't stand still for any of us. Embrace it or get left behind.


February 1st, 2013 at 6:32 PM ^

The man is exactly what Michigan needed. We all complain about the jerseys and the ticket prices, but the fact of the matter is that since his tenure began, this athletic department has rocketed up the directors cup rankings, has improved beyond belief in the two major sports, and is on track to go from awful 5 years ago, to one of the top few athletic complexes in the country.

If it's the cost of getting in line with the elite of the country (where we all think Michigan belongs), I'll gladly accept the $20 extra per ticket and some misguided stripes / pipes on jerseys. Keep it up Dave.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 6:37 PM ^

I guess part of being a great leader is making sure people believe in what you've already decided to do.

Before there were any night games in Michigan Stadium, there had been plenty of people wanting one.  So it's not like it was a stroke of genius for Michigan to engage Notre Dame in a night game.  And now the we've had one, there are a lot of people, myself included, who remain lukewarm to the whole idea, and would like as few night games as possible.

Weddings in the football stadium, with wedding parties coming out of the tunnel, sound like the cheesiest thing imaginable.  I understand that Brandon is monetizing the brand platform.  I just wish that more people would speak up about the insane upward spiral of the cost of these sports and question why the fuck Michigan needs to fly a lot of little-known money-gobbling womens' sports around the country, all fueled by football revenue.

As long as Brandon is quoting Bo, I wish he'd quote Bo on having correctly predicted the latent insanity of what Title IX would do to college athletics.


February 1st, 2013 at 6:52 PM ^

I don't think you need to worry about it. Brandon hasn't given any indication I'm aware of that there will be any more than one per year, if that.

If your baseline is zero per year, I guess you're going to be less than pleased, though.

Agree with you on the impact of Title IX, and it gives me a bit of sympathy for ADs in Brandon's position. I just wish that alternate jerseys weren't part of his checklist.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 9:37 PM ^

A.  I'm not so much of a curmudgeon as to suggest that night games must never, ever happen.  We've got lights in the Stadium; might as well use them on a warm mid-September night.  And the lights are good.  Architecturally, and for later-season games; it's good.

B.  Yeah, one night game every four years would be about good by me.  That's the schedule I think I'd like.  And only in the period from about September 1 to about October 14.

C.  I was really going after Brandon's pronouncement that by simply pulling off the UTL game, that he had somehow turned the tide on the "night games" debate.  There was plenty of push for night games pre-Brandon; and there is plenty of pushback against night games now.  Hell, people in Ohio... oh never mind.

D.  I need to check myself sometimes on my hatred of Title IX.  It isn't Dave Brandon's fault and there's nothing he can do about it.  It just pisses me off, and I wish he wasn't so p.c. about it.

Thanks for your post Don.  You're a good influence on me.

Two Hearted Ale

February 2nd, 2013 at 8:58 AM ^

So you want the Athletic Director - who is either the second or third most public figure at one of the most liberal public universities in the country - to be less politically correct? That will never, ever happen. The last non-PC AD retired over twenty years ago. That door is closed and will not open again, ever. Its probably to move on to the depression phase; acceptance will come soon enough.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 9:22 PM ^

I just Googled "Bo Schembechler" & "Title IX" and came up with these quick pages:


The Story of Title IX: The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America  by Karen Blumenthal



Michigan Daily article


...and, OMFG!  Section 1 refers you to Michael Rosenberg's truly excellent book (which I panned on Amazon despite its excellence, as an act of literary vandalism and revenge on Rosenberg):

War As They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg as we knew him.


Schembechler's warnings about Title IX weren't just some neanderthal personal pet peeve.  Bo was on his way to becoming the president of the national collegiate coaches' association.  He was very good friends with the recently departed Darrell Royal (much beloved) and together with Tom Osborne and some others they lobbied against college football's inclusion in the Title IX regulatory scheme.  Bo was a point man, because they wanted Bo to lean on President Gerry Ford with their Michigan connection. 

It would be nice, if somebody like John U. Bacon could dig up Bo's testimony (I do think he testified before a Congressional Committee).  Because I think that pretty much everything Bo warned about came true with Title IX; exorbitant pressure on football, to support non-revenue sports.  Distorted attention on football because of the money.  Ruination of some mens' non-revenue sports like wrestling or gymnastics to balance budgets for women.  Et cetera, et cetera. 

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 10:03 PM ^

Anyway, from that great football school, the University of Chicago, and their law school just south of the Midway (from whence Monsters of... come from) here's their brilliant prof, Richard Epstein with the answer to your bold play sir... 

Bo had about 30 years to recant his position on Title IX and I don't recall him ever doing so.  Nor do I recall Don Canham doing so.




February 1st, 2013 at 10:38 PM ^


Take any debate and there are expert opinions on both sides.  For every chicago law school prof there is an equal and opposite opinion backed up by statistics.  But everyone knows that statistics can be manipulated to support any point of view.  But the general consensus is that Title IX was a huge success: "The number of women in high school sports had increased by a factor of nine, while the number of women in college sports had increased by more than 450%. (Linda Jean Carpenter and R. Vivian Acosta, Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal National Study Twenty-Nine Year Update 1977-2006 (2006)).).  If you choose to pursue arguements based on anecdotes, hasty generalizations, and delusional diatribe, go ahead.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 11:00 PM ^

The phrase is "Lies, damn lies, and statistics."  (Att. Mark Twain.)  I don't care all that much, but it is just such an embarrassment to a Michigan board when you write stuff like that.

And wow; there are more female scholarship athletes.  How about that?  What a coincidence; considering that there are now hundreds of millions of dollars in Title IX-mandated funds for such scholarships, in many cases skimmed off the proceeds from football.  Which makes it more important to feed the football cash cow.  And who'd a thunk it?  That in offering women scholarships to Micihigan -- to get a degree and row, or whack a field hockey ball, or hit a softball, or kick a soccer ball -- that many women would, uh, accept such scholarships.  A truly amazing coincidence.  Damn statistics.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 11:31 PM ^

I have no "problem with women athletes and scholarships."  My issues with Title IX were pretty well summarized by Professor Epstein.  Thirty years after Schembechler, Canham and company warned the nation of many of those same issues.

Can you open a new account as "Just Hoke Fan"?


February 1st, 2013 at 11:56 PM ^

First, he argues that societal trends may have contributed just as much if not more than Title IX. That ignored the large amount of scholarship dollars previously unavailable and now legally mandated. Sure colleges might have started giving scholarships to women oars out of the desire to do right ... but to ignore the legally required monetary aspect is just silly.

The second point is just untrue: "In the area of athletics, there are ways to increase female participation without having to kill off male participation in sports: namely, devoting more resources to these activities. ". This is specifically what Title IX requires - that resources be allocated in rough proportion to the student body! It absolutely doesn't require killing off men's sports ... unless you don't have the resources in first place, in which case spending things don't have on football was a bad idea to start with.


February 1st, 2013 at 10:42 PM ^

I met Bo.  He was incredible.  Clearly I'm a fan.  

In this instance I thought that our soccer game on his brand new practice field would piss him off.  He couldn't have been more generous, nice, and accomodating.  Here we were using his new practice field, paid for by football revenues, for a soccer game.  And that's how he would now view the success of Title IX.

Silly Goose

February 1st, 2013 at 11:04 PM ^

Are you kidding? Conference realignment, the facilities arms race, the sleazy recruiting and all the unpleasant aspects of big time football and basketball can be laid at Title IX's feet. Bo wasn't worried about women playing soccer on his fields, he was worried about his players having to earn millions of dollars so that others could play sports. While Title IX has done a lot of good, in its current form it is causing a great deal of trouble.


February 1st, 2013 at 11:36 PM ^

At the heart of the matter is that we love Mochigan football. We will pay for it, and the UofM will take our money. The same is true for college football to a grater or lesser degree around the country, and so realignment etc. was inevitable once that exploitation was possible. It is just as true to say that the breakup of Ma Bell is at fault, which gave size to the current cable distribution mode.

As far as Title IX goes it is indisputable that it achieved its aim: it has resulted in tremendous increases in women's collegiate athletic participation, and indirectly in increasing the percentage of women attending college at all. Those, IMO, are noble and worthwhile goals, particularly for public institutions funded with society's resources. I would regretfully agree with those who said that if college football had to be restricted to get there it was a price worth paying.

I would however dispute that college football at big-time schools has actually been restricted in any meaningful way. Tittle IX isn't holding us back, it's not holding back Alabama or Oregon. It might be holding back schools with limited resources to spend on student-athletes but, again, I agree with the argument that those schools should spend those limited resources in a way proportional to their, y'know, student athletes, rather than dumping it all into football.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 11:51 PM ^

What I said (and Prof. Epstein said much more) is that I don't like the way our Athletic Department is growing, with no end in sight, and that there is so much pressure on football and basketball (mens, of course) to support an ever-growing budget and that budget needs to get spread around to a lot of sports I never even heard of.

And I understand very well, that our hegemonic Athletic Department has to keep up with the Joneses, in the persons of Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, etc.  I don't like the fact that there's a financial arms race among all of them.

I don't want any more PSD increases.  If it means a smaller, more modest athletic department, I'd probably like that.  And no, I don't want any unilateral disarmament on our part, vis a vis our rivals.  I'd like to see the entire level of financial competition brought down.


February 2nd, 2013 at 12:10 AM ^

... and that Title IX has little to do with it. Put another way we're not growing the money pile to feed Title IX - we're growing it because money can be exchanged for goods and services, and more money can be exchanged for more and better goods and services. Title IX is ancillary - in the alternate universe where it wasn't passed, I think we'd have gold-plated barcaloungers and endangered-species steaks grilled over moon rocks for the football team, with all the same financial arms race issues as before.

I much prefer this world to that.


February 1st, 2013 at 7:50 PM ^

" I just wish that more people would speak up about the insane upward spiral of the cost of these sports and question why the fuck Michigan needs to fly a lot of little-known money-gobbling womens' sports around the country, all fueled by football revenue."

Students like me enjoy attending womens events, and furthermore, understand that above all, UM is for equality. 


February 1st, 2013 at 8:54 PM ^

I think we're all very tired of these negative comments. To put a positive spin on this. Thank God you're not our AD: We'd still have old facilities, uncompetitive teams (women's even more so), cheap coaches...and no doubt we'd still have Rich Rod.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 9:35 PM ^

Bill Martin was responsible for what I'd say are about 80-90% of the facilities upgrades that are now visible.  The South Athletic Campus (Ford Tennis Center, Wrestling, Soccer, etc.); Glick Fieldhouse; the Stadium renovation; the Wilpon baseball complex; the planning (but not the execution, admittedly) of the Crisler Center renovation and the Davidson Player Development Center; it is hard to even keep track of everything.  I think there might be a half dozen other things to add to the Pre-Brandon List.

And hey, just because I am a fair-minded guy I'll remind you about something I have expressed many times on this Board...  That I think the most interesting interview in Ann Arbor would be to sit with David Brandon and a tape recorder and ask him about one thing:  You alluded to a List that you have for reviewing coaching candidates after you discharged Rich Rodriguez.  And you said that Brady Hoke essentially aced that questionnaire.  So tell us all about your List; how you made it, how Brady Hoke aced it and if you don't want to talk about others you might have interviewed, at least tell us how they didn't fare as well...

I actually don't hate Dave Brandon at all.  I think he is kind of fascinating.  I have seen him speak on many occasions, as have others on this Board.  He's good; damn good, every time I have seen him.  I just have a lot of questions.  And as with most of the University's administration, a lot of it goes to a lot of the determined political correctness that saddles University operations.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 9:42 PM ^

Okay, don't get into it now.

Thanks for letting me know what the board decided.  Did the board decide it before Martin had decided to retire four years later than he originally thought?

I can tell you this; if it is your opinion that the success or failure of Bill Martin will be determined for all posterity by the success or failure of Rich Rodriguez, that notion would put you squarely in the same company as the world-famous sportswriter Drew Sharp.


February 1st, 2013 at 10:50 PM ^


Bill Martin had many failures.  But your attempt to suggest something I never said and to inflame the matter by a very thin and failed attempt to link this to someone clearly despised by the blog shows everyone how weak, spineless, and desperate your arguments are.


February 1st, 2013 at 9:45 PM ^

"You alluded to a List that you have for reviewing coaching candidates after you discharged Rich Rodriguez.  And you said that Brady Hoke essentially aced that questionnaire.  So tell us all about your List; how you made it, how Brady Hoke aced it and if you don't want to talk about others you might have interviewed, at least tell us how they didn't fare as well..."

You need to move on my friend.  Your man failed.  He is a great x and o's guy but there were gaps.  I'm sorry that's just the way it is.  It's time to accept it and move on.  Brady is loved by the alumni and the athletes.   That's just the way it is.  Dave Brandon does not have to answer to anyone.  The results speak for themselves.

Section 1

February 1st, 2013 at 10:13 PM ^

The question has nothing to do with Rodriguez's firing.  It's a straight-up question about why Hoke was picked.  It has nothing to do with Rodriguez.  It's whatcha call post-Rodriguez.

I just think it is an interesting subject; the Hoke hire fooled a lot of people, including Brian Cook.  I know I didn't see it coming.

And it is a subject about which Brandon would have good reason to be proud; a seemingly successful, wise pick, and one which could not have been easy.  Or at least if it was easy, it would be interesting to know why it was easy.

I'm sorry that you think Dear Leader has no need to answer questions (like, even the ones where he looks really good) and must simply be obeyed and adored.

I think you've got a reading comprehension problem.


February 1st, 2013 at 7:17 PM ^

I like a lot of what he has done. Many may have wanted night games. But he got it done. Like in his first week. I hope for many more. Has been debated on here before with the" get off my lawn-down in front people", but the UTL games are great for numerous reasons. There is a reason the super bowl is at night and not noon.


February 1st, 2013 at 9:03 PM ^

DB is clearly the right man for the job.  He understands that, like any business organization, to be competitive we need to optimize the financials.  Only then can we have the money which buys the best facilities, the best coaches, and the best support team.  And that team also gets us the players needed to compete at the highest level.  He also understands that great organizations  require a leader that understands how great cultures are critical for success.