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Despite interim tag, Jim Hackett is orchestrating change at Michigan

Only being on the job for a few months, interim athletic director Jim Hackett has made his presence felt at Michigan.

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Fixing an athletic department that is riddled with fractures is no easy task for the strong-willed. That is why many doubted whether interim athletic director Jim Hackett, a CEO like his predecessor, really had what it takes to grasp the concept of running an athletic department that is full of rich tradition like Michigan.

Despite saying all of the right things during his introductory press conferences, those who are familiar with the Michigan program know that actions speak louder than words lately.

We all know those actions have been lacking.

Despite having an interim tag at Michigan, Hackett has made his presence felt in just a few short months. The road to recovery from the Dave Brandon era is long, even with sky-rocketing profits and engorged budgets. There's no denying the system is broken and Hackett is doing his part to orchestrate change.

One of the bigger changes, and one of the reasons he was brought in, was to see changes to the football program. The 2014 football season was riddled with embarrassments on and off the field that resulted in Hackett firing then-head coach Brady Hoke. Hoke was hand-picked by Brandon to see the football program out of the Rich Rodriguez era, that didn't exactly work out.

During the Hoke firing press conference, Hackett let the world know that he is looking for excellence with the next coach and it was his responsibility to hire the next coach. Hackett also made a stand by wishing to eradicate the term "Michigan Man" and outlining his explanation with an in-depth three-part analysis of why it makes sense.

Perhaps these two items are small stepping stones, but it makes a difference when trying to bring an entire athletic department back from the brink. Hackett is making it perfectly clear that leadership is distancing themselves from Brandon and is focused on getting things right, not just from a relationship standpoint but a focus on the football program as well. No matter how you spin it, Michigan football is the livelihood of the athletic department after all.

Fast-forward to Wednesday, Michigan Chief Marketing Officer Hunter Lochmann resigned after making disparaging comments about former quarterback Denard Robinson to the Sports Business Journal.

The CMO position was one that was created by Brandon in 2010.

Whether this resignation was forced or not, Hackett's acceptance of the resignation makes it perfectly clear that the separation was much needed. It is unclear if Hackett has intentions of "De-Brandoning" the athletic department fully, but delivering unwarranted verbal blows to influential athletes will not be tolerated.

Slowly but surely Michigan is returning to stability from the top down. However, it is abundantly clear that some things still need to be put into place.

A new head coach, repairing of relationships with alumni and current students, ensuring the return of the legendary season ticket waiting list for football and bringing back donor support just to name a few. It's all fun and games once money is being made, but distancing the people that once helped to make the profits is not a smart business model.

This is why Hackett is here, to help change that mentality.

The tides are changing once again at Michigan. It's unclear whether these changes are permanent fixes or just another path to despair, but Hackett has certainly made his presence felt in just a few months on the job.

The road to repair will be long and arduous. There's even a chance that this process could be seen through until the very end by Hackett. With all the recent public comments and behind the scenes action, one thing is very clear: This will not be the same Michigan you've become familiar with the past four years.