If Hackett reels in Harbaugh or Miles will he get permanent AD job?

Submitted by ThadMattasagoblin on December 3rd, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Harbaugh to Michigan would be one of the greatest college coaching hiring feats ever and Miles to Michigan would definitely be one of the big ten biggest hires ever. Will Hackett be given the permanent job if he pulls it off or will people still be leary of him given that he is a CEO like you know who? How much would we be willing to deal with coaching endowments and advertisements to help pay for caoching salaries in the future if Hackett continues down Brandon's road in that area?



December 3rd, 2014 at 7:26 PM ^

Hackett doesn't strike me as someone who would want to stay long term. He's kind of a triage guy: come in, cut out cruft and temporarily guide the program, and then leave with a new leader in place and ride off to his next adventure.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:37 PM ^

This is similar to my own opinion on the matter. At most, I think Hackett could be asked to stick around for the "honeymoon" period of the next coach, which might be a year, but I think that ultimately he probably does move on and leave the department in good, longer-term hands. Even then, I don't think there is much reason to believe that he hangs around any longer than he or the University deems necessary, so I still think we're looking at "interim" as a word to describe Hackett. If anything, it seems like his primary role is to take the single biggest headache - a new football coach - off the plate of whoever does ultimately come here.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:45 PM ^

Last week I'd have said the same. After his press conference, and taking another comment he made previously into consideration, I think he's intrigued by the possibility. His comment about wishing he were here sooner, and had "had a shot" at helping Hoke improve. It really struck me as him having genuine interest in the position. 


December 3rd, 2014 at 9:30 PM ^

I've said since day one that I highly doubt he had to have his arm twisted too much to accept & that I think he wants the job for at least 3 years. You don't form an AD search committee to remove yourself if you want the job haha. That said, he's seemed to be pretty good so far so I might not want him to go come the New Year.


December 4th, 2014 at 8:22 AM ^

Don't kid yourself.  These are 500k-1 million dollar dream jobs in which you're basically a paid superfan.  You don't walk away from these types of jobs to be a CEO at some other random company. 

Harlans Haze

December 4th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

I get the same feeling that Hackett isn't meant for a long-term run as AD. So, the question you have to ask, is what's more valuable than a job as UM head football coach? Answer, head coach and AD. Now, there's no way a person could fullfill both roles. So, how can you fill both roles at the same time? Answer, you look to the same family. I think Hacket is going to shock the college football world by landing both Harbaughs, JIM for Athletic Director, and JOHN as Head Coach. There's no way Jim is back in SF. I think after 7 years or so of head coaching, he needs a break. There's no question he's had some views of Michigan athletics in the past, and this gives him the chance to put his imprint on the whole program. In what other role, would he be in charge of, basically 1000 people? Of course, the condition for him coming on as AD would be the hiring of the football coach. And, who does he know better than his brother? It might be time for John to move on from the Ravens. He's already got his title. The team is OK, but not great, and hitched to Joe Flacco for the next 5 years. You have to figure he wasn't too happy dealing with the Ray Rice situation, particularly being stuck out in front of the media by the owner. There's no question that both Harbaughs have egos the size of Michigan itself, so what better way to stroke those egos than by offering them stewardship of the most valuable asset in the state?

Mr. Yost

December 3rd, 2014 at 7:29 PM ^

Hiring the ideal football coach is great for job security, but it doesn't make you a good AD.

Hiring Harbaugh wouldn't have excused everything Brandon did and it wouldn't excuse Hackett if he did it as well.

I'd love for Hackett to be involved in the athletics program. IMO, he should be the connection between the AD and the University.

But we need someone who has run an athletics department before. Hackett shouldn't be the AD just like Hackett shouldn't be the head football coach. Hire someone who's an AD and hire someone who's been a head football coach or a top assistant coach with head coaching type responsibilities.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:39 PM ^

"We need someone who has run an athletics department before."

Why?  I don't agree with this stance.  An athletics director needs good management skills, first and foremost.  That doesn't necessarily mean you need experience in athletics (not that it wouldn't help).  Managing a company is very similar to managing an athletic department. 

Even Dave Brandon was very good at his job, in some respects.  The area where he failed drastically was maintaining a healthy relationship with his clients (the fans) and understanding their needs and wants.  You don't need to have run an athletic department to know how to do that.

No one told Elon Musk he needed experience in the auto industry to start Tesla.  He's doing ok with that company.


December 3rd, 2014 at 8:39 PM ^

Or consumer payment modeling experience for PayPal or space technology and exploration experience for spacex... Something strikes me that Musk is an exception rather than the norm...

But given UMs history since Canham, it can still work that is hiring business people for AD

Mr. Yost

December 3rd, 2014 at 8:41 PM ^

It's hard to explain...but I'll try. Because instead of being a dick, you're geniunely asking and I appreciate that.

First thing, I never said no one without athletics experience should be an AD. Let's make that known from the jump.

Personally, Dave Brandon was actually the perfect hire for Michigan. Because he got us out of the "this is what we've always done" mindset as a department and it was going to take someone like Brandon to do that. He also exposed Michigan to a lot of new things/ideas/etc. - some good - which we'll keep, others - awful which we'll never do again.

He was the opposite end of the spectrum and I think Michigan needed to see that opposite end so it could figure out where it wanted to be. Hopefully somewhere in the middle shaded slightly towards Brandon's end and away from the "this is the way we've always done it" athletics department with "lifers" working who weren't doing anything or doing the same things they were doing in 1990.

So my comment was directed at MICHIGAN. Not all athletics departments.

Michigan needs an AD who knows what he/she is doing and someone with experience.

Why? Because an athletics department is far more than just an AD. In fact, as someone worked his way from an intern to an Associate AD...I can say that AD's are vastly overrated in what they actually do. Especially at major schools. That is why it used to frustrate me so much when people blamed uniform designs on Dave Brandon...I'm currently at school number 8 in my career, I've worked in the B1G, ACC, Big East, American, Big South, and CAA. I've never once seen an AD select a uniform design.

I've seen an Associate AD or Sr. Associate AD have say in it, but not that AD. And big time schools like Michigan have an Associate AD who's over the football program. If anyone is picking that stuff, it's that position.

Anyway - Michigan Athletics is in a good spot right now. We've seen both ends of the spectrum, IMO, now it's time to execute since we know what we like/don't like. You need a current AD because that commands the respect of your current staff better than someone coming in from the outside who's never done it. That's a morale killer by the way, it can work...but damn, for those folks who've been in the blood, sweat and tears to make it to the top, and then have someone with no experience swoop in to be boss. It's tough. Especially when that person has to learn college athletics administration. Especially when that person makes a mistake that would've been avoided with experience.

College athletics is different from pro sports and really any other kind of business. It can be learned. But Michigan doesn't need to learn, we just went through that. Now it's time to settle in and really build a GREAT athletics department.

Lastly, managing a company HAS similarities to managing an athletics department, but it is NOT similar to managing an athletics department. In fact, it's very different and that is a common misconception.

Mr. Yost

December 3rd, 2014 at 8:44 PM ^

Student-athlete welfare is the most important part of a Michigan AD's job.

Academic integrity is a very important part of a Michigan AD job.

Athletic success would be next - and yes, football of course leads the way there. Hiring a good football coach is HUGE. Don't get me wrong. For so many reasons it's huge.

But it's not #1. And the moment you think it is...your ass is SMU, PSU, etc.


December 3rd, 2014 at 8:01 PM ^

Make no mistake, the athletic department is a multi-million dollar business. The idea of a CEO-type shouldn't be taboo based on Brandon's reputation. What makes Ward Manuel or Brad Bates any more qualified than Hackett? Their history as an AD? Ok, and what does that mean, in the grand scheme of things?
Better at negotiating? I don't think so.
Better at hiring/firing? Is that really something you need AD experience to accomplish?

I'm genuinely curious.

Mr. Yost

December 3rd, 2014 at 8:53 PM ^

...a multi-million dollar business.

And that's what got Brandon in trouble in a lot of ways.

There's nothing wrong with being a CEO type, but you can be a CEO type and understand college athletics as well. You can be a CEO type and run a laundromat.

But you're managing student-athletes, you're managing athletics staff, you're in athletic facilities and hosting athletic events. You're part of a University with a mission for academic success.

All of those things must be held in the highest regard.

We get caught up in football...and we should. But an AD has to have institutional control and show a knowledge, pulse and understanding of ALL facets of athletics administration. That us where a Warde Manuel is of benefit. Because the most issues an AD has to deal with aren't football related. Simply because football only makes up a percentage of all student-athletes. And you have to have a knowledge of college athletics, NCAA rules, and a pulse on the admin community to attack these issues.

It's really hard to explain to be honest. I'll think about it and return with a better answer.

You Only Live Twice

December 3rd, 2014 at 10:02 PM ^

posted here, somewhere, can't remember where or even the exact context or who said it.  But it was along the lines of the AD really has to understand coaches.  I never had the sense that Brandon really understood coaches.  Not saying I do either, just that whoever has the title of AD should thoroughly get what makes his coaches tick and support them in the most meaningful way possible.  Really good leaders don't make up problems to solve so that they can look good... they find the real problems and they solve them.

Beyond that, the "institutional" control you speak of is on point for any CEO type job.  You're the head guy ( or gal) the buck stops with you, so if you lack an understanding of the entire organization, you're going to have a difficult time. Beyond that you have to have a firm grip on all the external factors that affect the org.   As you mentioned, that means the nature of the business, the stakeholders, any relevant regs, and the relationships. 

After that we tie into the discussions already had on this board about HC compensation.  It's kind of like looking for a brilliant expert in biostats.  Not that many candidates out there.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:30 PM ^

Does Hackett want to be the permanent AD?  Or does he want to just guide us through this coaching change and then follow through on previous comments to help find a permanent AD.  

I will say that if it he does want the permanent job, I wouldn't be opposed right away.  I think the business leader types have automatically received a bad reputation because of Brandon.  I think we all need to separate the idea that a CEO-esq candidate equals Brandon.  Obviously, that notion isn't very appealing at the moment, but Brandon just sucked at his job and didn't understand his "consumers", aka the fans and supporters of the University's athletic programs. 

If Hackett does a great job over the next 6 months to a year, and makes it known to Schlissel that he'd like to stay on, then great.  Hiring Harbaugh or Miles would go a long way to the idea that he's doing a great job.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:33 PM ^

My guess is part of the package they would be offering Harbaugh specifically would be input on the next AD.


Not a "take your pick" kind of thing but they will put together the search firm or whatever they do to generate candidates  and they will hear Harbaugh's input on them. Hopefully this will be completely behind the scenes to at least maintain the AD position as completely separate.


I have nothing to base this off of other than my observations and feelings (nothing more than feelings!).


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:36 PM ^

Several people have stated that Schlissel really respects Hackett, and the job is his if he wants it (regardless of the outcome of the coaching search, assuming it doesn't go sideways).  I have no idea if it's true, but I wouldn't doubt it.  The guy is whip smart and super well-respected, and doesn't have a egotistical bone in his body.

I think the biggest sticking point with him is that he doesn't want the gig long-term.  I believe he's stated that his goal is to stick around and 'solve the existing problems' (however long it takes), and then move on.  Whether that's 3 months or 2 years seems like it's not really the way he's defining it.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:45 PM ^

Articulate, compassionate,down to earth, confident, patient, visionary. No protests or fire someone signs, swearing, or drunken comments ... in comparison to ..
Fill in the blanks.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:47 PM ^

I still think he doesn't want it long-term, but what a hero he could go down as. Comes in on the heels of easily the most disliked AD in Michigan history (I mean, how many others could most people even name?), makes the school's biggest coaching hire in nearly half a century, and then just rides off into the sunset without doing anything to enhance his own power or piss the masses off. Statue for sure.