ANN ARBOR -- In arguably the biggest press conference of his young presidential career, Mark Schlissel stood up and accepted the resignation of athletic director Dave Brandon on Friday.
Only 110 days into his presidency, Schlissel confirmed the rumors that were swirling around Ann Arbor for most of the morning. Michigan's embattled athletic director was out. The decision came during a discussion between Schlissel and Brandon on Wednesday.
"This morning I accepted the resignation of athletic director David Brandon," Schlissel said. "Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student athletes, the athletic department and university community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department, and the university, to continue without daily distractions.
"I agree with this decision."
Schlissel announced that former Michigan football player, and teammate of Brandon, Jim Hackett will be announced as the interim athletic director. Although it does not appear Hackett is in the running for the permanent position, the two will work together to find a successor.
"Jim is a highly experienced and respected business leader," Schlissel said. "A man of integrity and devoted member of the Michigan community, he was a student-athlete and graduated from U-M in 1977."
Although Hackett's statements were brief, he drove the point home effectively.
"The university is here for the students," Hackett said. "They're not just temporary residents of the Big House, rather it's there house."
Hackett will officially be named interim athletic director during Michigan's Board of Regents meeting that occurs this month.
Also, no timetable as to when to a permanent figure will be in place was given.
The power to fire a coach?
With the first domino to fall in Brandon being done, the next person receiving just as much scrutiny is Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.
When asked about the process of evaluating the football program, Schlissel said that evaluation happens during the season but particularly at the end of the season. He expects Hackett to be involved with the evaluation process.
"Football, like all of our programs, are evaluated through the season but particularly at the end of the season," he said. "I would imagine that the interim athletic director would be intimately involved and in charge of the evaluation of football. These things have a cadence and we will figure out how to move forward as we would for all of our sports."
When asked if the interim has the power to make firing decisions, Schlissel says that Hackett would have that power.
"The interim AD is the athletic director until we hire a permanent AD," he said. "As you know, I feel comfortable hiring dean's and provosts, I feel a little less comfortable (hiring coaches), I'm not the guy to make a decision about a particular coach.
"We have an athletic program that I delegate that authority to."