Mary Sue ???

Submitted by TorontoBlue on December 2nd, 2014 at 11:45 PM

1)  Mary Sue drives down to Toledo with Bill Martin and approves hiring Rich Rodriguez to replace Lloyd Carr.

2)  Mary Sue hires Dave Brandon to replace Bill Martin as AD two years later.

3)  Mary Sue then approves her boy Dave Brandon's choice to fire Rich Rodriguez and replace him with Brady Hoke.

4)  Hoke is a bust and terminated.

That's a lot of decisions that all turned out wrong, and all were on her watch or have her fingerprints on them.  Is her legacy impacted? 



December 2nd, 2014 at 11:51 PM ^

If she is guilty of anything it's falling for Brandon's swagger and his masculine Greg Dulli-esque posturing. But that came relatively late in the relevant time period, right?

bj dickey

December 3rd, 2014 at 12:05 AM ^

I was wondering when that would come up. She let Dave dazzle her, I guess. I don't understand how he gets to the point of being such a figurehead without someone directing him to stop just stop! The blame can't be on msc for that, but I sure wish she would have stepped up,and told him to knock it off. Why did Dave have to be omnipresent in locker oops, film, etc? Isn't that beyond the purview of the ad?


December 3rd, 2014 at 12:15 AM ^

I can blame the last 7 years of Michigan football on Mary Sue?   

In all seriousness, my son and I both live a long way from Ann Arbor, and we go to one game a year together for a father-son bonding weekend.  BYU for UTL next season, or a road trip to  Salt Lake City to pay back Utah for beating us twice in the Big House?  Thoughts?


December 3rd, 2014 at 12:13 AM ^

I mean she basically gave DB the job because he raised a lot of money, which is a problem, but the athletic department is, to be honest, pretty low on the list of things that matter for a university president.

As for hiring RR/Hoke? I damn well hope POTUM signs off on whomever the AD asks for. She doesn't have the time or expertise to evaluate hires below direct reports. She should defer to athletic department on hiring football coaches, the history department for tenure decisions, etc.


December 3rd, 2014 at 12:33 AM ^

You make four good points, but the before the first item you mentioned, she messed up the hiring of Les Miles.  According to Bacon in Three and Out, Martin was in the process of hiring Miles (by telephone), but Mary Sue insisted on meeting him face to face first, which Miles couldn't do right away since he was preparing his team for the big bowl game.  LSU got wind of the talks and made Miles the offer he couldn't refuse (unless he had a deal with UM, which he probably would have had, if Mary Sue had let Martin do his job).


December 3rd, 2014 at 1:47 AM ^

The job of the President of the Univeristy of Michigan is to maintain the academic quality of one of the top public universities in this country and one of the top research universities in the world. Putting a winning football team on the field is a nice side goal, but hardly his or her major responsibility.  Also from a wider perspective, men's basketball, the other marquee college sport, came back from the wilderness during her tenure, right?


gustave ferbert

December 3rd, 2014 at 6:43 AM ^

steadily decline in the US News and World report rankings on her watch? 

So I'm not surprised that she would botch something like the most cherished program within the athletic department.


December 3rd, 2014 at 7:25 AM ^

She came from a B1G, "football" school. For someone who, by resume alone, would have understood how to go about hiring people who could manage both that sport and college athletics generally, she largely made a mess of it. Yet, most people here and elsewhere don't have her on the radar when it comes to the root causes of Michigan's decline in football.

Meanwhile, the next POTUM arrives from an Ivy and most are quick to accuse him of not being able to spell "Bo" if you spot him the B. This, despite making reasonably decisive moves regarding the AD position and evidently having a sober perspective on football and athletics.

Schlissel, uber alles.


December 3rd, 2014 at 8:21 AM ^

1) Mary Sue drives down to Toledo with Bill Martin and approves hiring Rich Rodriguez to replace Lloyd Carr.

You say drive down to Toledo like that's a big deal. It's a 45 min, 60 max, ride to a meeting where one of your major employees is going to hire the University's highest paid employee. Of course you have that meeting in person. Not even worth noting.

2) Mary Sue hires Dave Brandon to replace Bill Martin as AD two years later.

At the time, this was the obvious, no-brainer hire. Again, nothing to see here.

3) Mary Sue then approves her boy Dave Brandon's choice to fire Rich Rodriguez and replace him with Brady Hoke.

No University president, without major cause, is going to not allow their athletic director to make coaching hire decisions. Why is this a point in your argument?

4) Hoke is a bust and terminated.


That's a lot of decisions that all turned out wrong, and all were on her watch or have her fingerprints on them. Is her legacy impacted?

Her fingerprints? One decision has her fingerprints on it: Dave Brandon. He was an idiot, slowly at first, then with more sweeping actions once she was on her way out. I really don't know what your point in all this is. It's not the President's job to field a winning football team.

Monocle Smile

December 3rd, 2014 at 8:37 AM ^

Every so often, someone with a huge ax to grind comes out of the woodwork and starts passive-aggressively (or not so much) bitching about Mary Sue. I even see some blatant factual errors in this thread. What's the deal? Is there a specific reason some people hate her so much?

She was largely hands-off once she hired Brandon, and it wasn't apparent that he was a Batman villain until a couple of years later. 


December 3rd, 2014 at 8:36 AM ^

Well, she doesn't have any prior head coaching experience, and her recruiting is a bit dodgy, but she does well with the alumni. Do we know if she prefers the spread or pro-style? Obviously, I'd like Harbaugh or MIles first, but if we have to go outside the Michigan Man tree, we could do worse.



December 3rd, 2014 at 9:28 AM ^

as she was President at the time of the huge decline in football at Michigan. It could be bad luck or bad judgement. I mean at the time, Brandon was supposed to (and did) lead huge fundraising efforts and RR has proved that he's an excellent coach.

I think it's just ba luck as opposed to incompetence. 


December 3rd, 2014 at 9:29 AM ^


You are blaming the current football team on the university's president? You really think Mary Sue had major input on our coaching hires? I certainly hope not. The only thing she had any hand in was hiring Dave Brandon, which at the time seemed like a wonderful idea to pretty much everybody. Would you really have wanted Mary Sue of all people to veto the Athletic Director's choice for a head coach? What makes her qualified to do that in your eyes? Not to mention, she has so many bigger things to handle as the president of the University of Michigan - unlike what MGoBlog may tell you, the school is about more than football.



December 3rd, 2014 at 9:33 AM ^

Mary Sue Coleman was president of this University for 12 years. During that time the state's finances went completely in the tank, the wealthiest people in the state did quite poorly themselves, and state support of public universities nationwide plummeted. During this time she kept the school's finances in order and the academic standing basically stable, even compared to the private universities who are not depending on falling state funding. The depth and breadth of skills needed to do this is absolutely incredible.

Hiring Brandon was likely a complicated calculus that involved politics within the Board and fundraising for both the department and University. It looks good for her to give a high-level post to a Republican and the Stephen Ross gift, among others, makes it clear that having someone who's buddies with the richest alums nationwide is helpful. 

The state of the football team is a wonderful hobby for us and an important part of the Michigan community. If it's one of the main judgments on her career, though, our values are not good.