Sailor Bill

Submitted by BlueinLansing on July 14th, 2015 at 12:38 AM

Chicago to Mackinac boat tracker:


The Chicago to Mackinac (this past weekend) and Port Huron to Mackinac boat races are going on.  Pretty sure our infamous sailor Bill Martin is captaining the vessel "Stripes".  As of 12:30am they were located a few nautical miles North of the thumb heading to Port Huron.





July 14th, 2015 at 2:35 AM ^

It still pisses me off to this day that Martin refused to pay the buyout right away and says its a new weight room or your defensive coach.

What happened, happened, but for fuck's sake, when hiring a new coach, meet his needs rather than pinch pennies.


July 14th, 2015 at 11:25 AM ^

You have to remember the climate around the Michigan Athletic Department back in 2007.  Martin was just 7 years removed from inheriting a department that was running sizable annual deficits, Michigan was about to break ground on a $225 million renovation of Michigan Stadium, BTN money had yet to start rolling in, and the paradigm of paying big-time money to coordinators and assistants had not really been established.

It's easy to look back now and say if only Bill Martin had been willing to pony up another $15,000 to $30,000 to bring Casteel to Ann Arbor, but nobody at the time thought that was going to be a major issue, especially since Shafer was deemed to be an exceptional hire for DC.


July 14th, 2015 at 12:09 PM ^

While he failed to see the oncoming transition difficulties in football, it is indisputable that Rodriguez and Beilein are very good coaches.  The AD who deserves the bulk of blame for the Rodriguez fiasco is not Martin. I'd like it if the "Sailor Bill" talk died a death. It won't of course, but the guy deserves praise, not scorn, for his coaching hires, regardless of how he went about it.

Casteel would have helped, and maybe it would have been enough to hold on another year, but he wasn't a panacea. Dave Brandon didn't like Rodriguez and one of the few nice things I can say about him is that he was aggressive about implementing his "vision".



July 14th, 2015 at 6:56 AM ^

Yep....Martin is actually one of the hardy souls racing the Supermac, a once-a-decade-or-so race from Chicago to Port Huron (or vice versa, depending.)  Over 500 miles, and then Stripes will turn around and do the regular Port Huron race.

Ty Butterfield

July 14th, 2015 at 7:21 AM ^

Man, I still remember not believing that someone would not know how to use a cell phone. But then he won't pony up a little more cash for RR's D coordinator? Good Lord.


July 14th, 2015 at 8:07 AM ^

Look, we all know that the RR tenure was not a success. But, remember back in 2007 RR was one of the hottest coaches in the country. While he didn't have Miles' level of sustained success, he also didn't have a lot of Miles' baggage, both within the department (rumors of grudges based upon extramarital issues) and outside (rumored recruiting sleaze). Everyone assumes, based upon a leaked Herbie report, that Miles was our top choice. But that has never been confirmed. It is possible that he whole cell phone things is just a convenient excuse given after the fact to justify ignoring Miles' agent's repeated calls.


July 14th, 2015 at 7:45 AM ^

Goddamn, this fan base. Martin was brought in to bring the AD's finances back in line, something he did with overwhelming success. He did a lot of great things for this university.

People are so quick to throw him on the trash heap with people like Carr. And much like Carr, Martin's tenure was much more good than bad for UM. Maybe gain a little more perspective and have a bit of respect for a guy who was very good for the university we all love.


July 14th, 2015 at 7:56 AM ^

Seriously.  Finances in order plus two absolute knockout hires in the two biggest sports.  Beilein may go down as the best basketball coach in our history, and at the time of the coaching search, virtually everyone thought RR was an A+ hire.  Pretty difficult to foresee the epic flameout there.  The only knock I have on the guy is that he should have stuck around until the football program stabilized, which probably would have given Rich a better chance of success.


July 14th, 2015 at 9:01 AM ^

Was a great idea, the handling of his introduction and whole tenure is too great of a failure to overlook. It wasn't just one decision.

Also the "finances in order" is complete BS. I mean you have a 115,000 seat stadium, the winningest program in history, millions in donations from guys like Ross, the BTN, BCS, Adidas making it rain... it doesn't take a financial wizard to make things work.



July 14th, 2015 at 11:23 AM ^

because Mary Sue Coleman gave Brandon his buyout package and Hoke's buyout is pretty standard. Now, hiring him was a poor decision, but that's not what we are discussing.

My only point is that Bill Martin doesn't deserve credit for righting our finances, because the tide was already rising with all of the stuff I pointed out. It's like a CEO saying, out stock has doubled since 2009 (well yeah, since the S&P has like trippled). 


July 14th, 2015 at 11:31 AM ^

I think you're not appreciating how bad of shape the AD was in when Martin took over from Goss. And I also think you're not considering how rare it is to have an AD as financially solvent as Michigan's. Why Martin doesn't deserve credit for that is a little baffling - I think you, along with a lot of people, don't give nearly enough credit to how difficult it is to actually direct and manage something like UM's AD. 


July 14th, 2015 at 11:40 AM ^

College revenue blew up during Martin's tenure. All he had to do was somewhat manage expenses and boom, AD profit.

Here's a Bloomburg article on the economic growth in college football (and basketball) revenue (you have to figure out Michigan's portion from the chart).

Overall college football revenue went from $100M in 2000 to $759M in 2011 for the 10 schools in the article. Martin rode the market, good for him, but doesn't make him a financial wizard.…


July 14th, 2015 at 12:17 PM ^

That article only looks at the top ten athletic departments in the country, and you refuse to give Martin any credit for Michigan being in that group? Plus, that article also only focuses on football revenues, not entire athletic department budgets. Yes, football revenue is going up, but most departments still lose money because there's a lot more to running an athletic department than simply worrying about absolute football revenue.

And it's not like Martin inherited a well oiled machine or even a blank slate of a department; he inherited a mess that required a lot of straightening up. He pulled Michigan out of the red, all while undertaking a series of long overdue, and very expensive, renovations.

*Side note: that stacked graph is terrible.


July 14th, 2015 at 5:07 PM ^

Ann article from 2009 says the following:


"Michigan’s athletic department is one of just six in the country to show a budgetary surplus in each of the past five years. "…


I've said it elsewhere: I critique him for not having a better transition plan in place, but even so the hire was someone that was at the time the end results at the time. Only after RR started failing did that become a thing. Had RR succeeded nobody would care at all about the search.


July 14th, 2015 at 9:33 AM ^

Both Martin's predecessor and successor ran deficits. The vast majority of Division I athletic departments run deficits. It's not nearly as easy as people seem to assume it is to keep ADs running in the black. And Martin did just that, comfortably in the black, while also taking on the massive costs associated with the much needed renovations to the athletic campus and athletic facilities.

Everyone Murders

July 14th, 2015 at 8:44 AM ^

IIRC, Martin also did the job on essentially a volunteer basis, stepping away from his banking duties to take the helm of a relatively leaky boat.  He did get the financial ship in order, renovated the stadium (personally, I'm not a fan, but in the big picture a good thing).  Goss's regime was a low water mark - at least until Dave Brandon broke what wasn't - and Martin fixed that.

Martin really did many things right and left the department more-or-less ship-shape.  The Titanic disaster that followed with RichRod and DB is not fairly his fault.  (And recall that RichRod was a hot property at the time of his hire, and few could see the institutional icebergs he'd have to navigate.)


July 14th, 2015 at 12:18 PM ^

The biggest one of all was Dave Brandon.  He took over a month and a half before signing day in 2010 and began telling recruits he had no idea who the coach would be going forward, yet waited a whole year to fire Rodriguez.  By contrast, Pat Haden at USC made a video to support Lane Kiffin (a guy he didn't hire) over the summer only to let him go a few games into the following season.  The coaching staff was never hung out to dry and recruiting continued successfully both before and after the band-aid was ripped off.

Brandon torpedoed two recruiting classes and then replaced a fantastic football coach with a terrible one.  If Martin is in charge and stands by his hire, I have to think things go a lot differently and his initial hire looks a lot smarter.


July 14th, 2015 at 8:18 AM ^

I'm inclined to give Martin more of a pass.  It had been 40 years since Michigan went outside to hire a football coach and I think they just didn't have the institutional experience to handle it.  They got the guy everyone else wanted - RR - but weren't aggressive enough in putting everything else into place.  Pretty much everyone in the process made mistakes.  It was painful but it's all good from here on.  The success about to come will only feel that much sweeter for the pain.


July 14th, 2015 at 7:14 PM ^

Hypothetical here... Carr... To Miles.... Idk if we ever see Harbaugh then... But to have to go through a RRod and a Hoke.... To get a Harbaugh... Win? Only time will tell....