What Dave Brandon Changes Do You Want to Keep After He Is Gone?

Submitted by stephenrjking on October 16th, 2014 at 7:28 PM

When people anxiously follow twitter accounts of Regent meetings, hoping for any sign that the current Athletic Director will be thrown to the wolves, it seems clear that his days are numbered.

If and when the (proverbial, people, let's not get carried away) guillotine falls, we hope for a competent and passionate replacement. I look forward to an introduction at a basketball halftime, where, like arch-nemesis Jim Tressel, the new AD announces: "You will be proud of your team--in the Stadium (which will have no advertising and lower ticket prices), in their uniforms (which are awesome exactly the way they are and will be the same for every game), and especially next November, on the field, led by new coach Jim Harbaugh."

Ok, maybe not exactly. But I hope for some walkbacks of the recent "innovations" shepherded into the program by DB. 

However, not every "innovation" is necessarily bad. There have been good developments in the past few years that we tend not to associate with Brandon precisely because we don't associate him with good things; yet some of his decisions, like retaining John Beilein and choosing to pay football assistant coaches market prices, are unquestionably good.

DB has made night games a thing. The lights installed in the Stadium for that purpose are classy and effective. He has also worked, successfully, to bring other major events (The Winter Classic, the soccer game, etc) to the Big House. These seem to be popular moves.

We all want ticket prices to go down and stupid stunts like skywriting to stop; however, not everything has been bad. What DB-era innovations do you want to see continue?




October 16th, 2014 at 8:07 PM ^

Brandon didn't resolve the accessibity issues in 2008 (he was not a Regent at that point and during his tenure as a Regent did crap all related to accessibility) which provided 329 accessible seats plus companion seats. That said, he was there to shake hands and accept the acknowledgements when the stadium improvements were made. 

The accessible washrooms (which too may able bodied people still use), the wider concourses, easier accessible parking are all of benefit to every Michigan family (we're all going to get older and every family eventually has to deal with disability or mobility concerns).

I've been to most of the other new facilities and I find this standard in approach. It is a real pleasure to be able to sit with a disabled family member or friend where they can enjoy the games with dignity.


October 16th, 2014 at 10:29 PM ^

Bring them up to standards, sure. But I'm not sure gold plating non-revenue facilities is worth the increased cost to fans of the revenue sports - honestly keeping basketball and football games affordable for average families positively benefits many more people than non- revenue upgrades. I really think the AD needs to shift back to focus on benefiting the public, students, and alumni of average means, rather than just athletes and AD employees.


October 16th, 2014 at 11:41 PM ^

I know everyone wants to win, but isn't the whole point of the athletic department to help student athletes play sports?  Obviously having a good football program brings in money to help that mission, but I think it's pretty perverse to say that we should reduce the support in place for the student athletes so that the public can pay a cheaper ticket price and have a more enjoyable experience.  I can think of few things more central to the AD's mission than helping out student athletes.


October 17th, 2014 at 3:39 AM ^

To what end? What do field hockey players get out of playing in a $30 million facility they wouldn't get in a $15 million facility? Is that worth a little kid never getting his first trip to the Big House? Student athletes are a privileged few. Do they work hard?Sure, but so do division II players with none of the opulence. This is a public university and its primary goal should be to serve the public. So yes, the AD should care about student athletes, but that needs to be balanced.

Wolverine Devotee

October 16th, 2014 at 7:33 PM ^

  • The attention to detail with the "non-revenue sports" 
  • The continuation of the facilities crusade. But please, DON'T turn Ferry Field into a parking lot.

One thing DB did a great job of was bringing Lacrosse up to the NCAA level. 

I hope Michigan can keep adding sports. 


October 16th, 2014 at 10:04 PM ^

Especially coaching and staff salaries, and especially for football.  Those need to be rolled back to the pre-change for change sake levels. So 2007 levels plus inflation.  As I think we'd all agree, these exhorbitant salaries aren't buying wins.  We need some hungry coaches, have them win some games before they win the lottery.


October 17th, 2014 at 1:35 AM ^

Spend money on coaches because they have performed and deserve it. Please dont give another mediocre MAC level coach a huge payday just because youre trying to benchmark to other top programs who are paying big for a successful coach.


October 17th, 2014 at 8:13 AM ^

Yeah--I've been one of those saying it's unquestionaly about wins and losses.  But even those saying they want Brandon out for reasons unrelated to wins still care about winning; they just argue that they would want Brandon out regardless of the record.  And winning is clearly correlated with coach pay, so I'm in favor of paying coaches well.


October 17th, 2014 at 12:57 AM ^

Going back to pre Brandon level assistant pay level is idiotic. Part of the reason we got into this mess is because we payed guys like Debord 200k a year while LSU got John Chavis for 800K a year and we didn't renovate a single athletic structure in the early 2000s. Either go full out and compete with Alabama, Texas, Florida, or join the Ivy League. No half assing coaches, cordinators, or facilities.


October 17th, 2014 at 9:58 AM ^

At what sustained cost? DB's greatest accomplishment on his own appears to be facility upgrades and good will among the non-revenue sports. But those facilities and upgrades need to be maintained, systematically improved upon, and sustained. Where you first see only the immediate improvements, you have to also consider the sustained maintenance and repair costs, FFE, going out the door. In a lot of ways, those improvements are a big yoke on the ADs neck.


October 16th, 2014 at 8:12 PM ^

That's always been the problem with him.  You can't trust his inner Michigan compass to do the right thing when it matters.
So he gives us UTL's, the Big Chill, and a nice soccer field.
But he also gives us water bottles and seat cushions, Ira J. Whatever Head Coaches, App State II, great games against great opponents . . . in Dallas with no band, and Ohio State in October if we did not stop him. 

Mr. Yost

October 17th, 2014 at 8:58 AM ^

We beat the living shit out of them and now we don't have a losing record against them.

Play them or not, we were still going to see those clips every time some 1AA team beat a 1A program. I mean they still show Kordell's hail mary.

Playing them again and running them into the ground with THIS Michigan team actually looks better for us. We tied them up, like I mentioned, but it also shows all the idiots that App State was REALLY good back then. They could've beat anyone outside of the top 10 that year and would've easily finished #20-#35 in the country in FBS. We didn't lose to a bad team. Toledo was way worse for anyone who knows football.

App State II did nothing but help Michigan. Not enough to erase anything, but it certainly didn't hurt anything.


October 16th, 2014 at 7:45 PM ^

but that of either Harbaugh, Miles or any other remotely respectable potential head coach be done.

I think you should ask them.

I don't think UM can have a Div-I level football team while he is still around.

And that is personal to my family.


October 16th, 2014 at 7:35 PM ^

Keep building up the Athletic campus.

Continue to add more D-1 sports until we can compete with TREE in the Director's Cup.

Give student-athletes the resources they need to succeed academically.


October 16th, 2014 at 7:35 PM ^

Coordinator and assistant pay in football (maybe other sports, I don't know), night games, committing to spending on first class everything that's useful to winning games in all sports.

Isn't there an AD golf tournament fundraiser that Brandon and Hollis started? If that raises money for a good cause then that as well.

A completely uniform (non-split) block M across the AD, and that's not a joke either.

Edit: Also agree with stephenrjking about the non-football events. The Big Chill was awesome and the Winter Classic looked awesome, the soccer game this summer seemed more successful than any of the other games in the US that series.


October 16th, 2014 at 8:05 PM ^

I remember seeing a story, or maybe a WD comment, about how after Brandon took over a previously uncoordinated group of social media pages for various teams almost immediately all had the same format of name and the same block-M avatar/profile picture.

That in itself might be a tiny thing to praise a guy for, but here's something that cost maybe six dollars that made the entire AD look more professional and unified.

Bando Calrissian

October 16th, 2014 at 8:12 PM ^

The university-wide move towards the Block M is cool and all, but I miss seeing the University Seal on things. You almost never see it anymore. Hell, it used to be on the shoulder of the baseball and hockey jerseys.

One thing that drives me crazy is the DB-pushed move to get the Block M in just about everything. There's almost a 0% chance you can take a picture of a Michigan athlete in 2014 and not capture at least one Block M. There's branding, and there's overload.


October 16th, 2014 at 7:36 PM ^

Uniformz! RAWK! Special K!

and most especially

At the Big House!


But seriously, I think his commitment to non-revenue sports and the benchmark for quality of all athletic facilities has to be on my list of keepers.