The University of Michigan will begin a national search for its next athletic director to replace interim athletic director Jim Hackett immediately, President Mark Schlissel officially announced on Wednesday morning in a press release. The announcement was made one day after the Detroit Free Press' David Jesse and Mark Snyder reported that Michigan would begin the process to find a permanent athletic director as soon as this week. Schlissel does not have a specific timetable in mind for how long this search process will last.
Hackett, who has served as the interim athletic director since October 31, 2014, when David Brandon resigned from the position, is not a candidate. Though Hackett has received praise from all corners for his work in the past year -- whether it was hiring football coach Jim Harbaugh, negotiating the record-breaking apparel contract with Nike, extending basketball coach John Beilein, or stabilizing the athletic department -- he did not want to be considered for the permanent position, instead opting to return to retirement.
However, Hackett will have a say in who will be his successor. He is a member of an eight-person search advisory committee, which also includes Schlissel and softball coach Carol Hutchins, that will work with Turnkey Search, who was hired to assist in the process.
Here is the full press release, including quotes from Schlissel and Hackett:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel today (Wednesday, Dec. 2) announced that the university will launch a national search for its next director of intercollegiate athletics.
Schlissel appointed a search advisory committee and said the university had hired Turnkey Search, a subsidiary of Turnkey Sports and Entertainment, to assist with the search, which will begin immediately.
"I have decided that the time is right to launch a national search for a permanent athletic director," said Schlissel, who will personally chair the search advisory committee. The president said he did not have a specific timetable in mind.
"I will take as long as necessary to make sure it is a great fit for what I think is the best opportunity for an athletic director in the country."
The person hired will become the university's 11th AD in 150 years of intercollegiate athletics at the university. U-M has 31 teams and more than 900 student-athletes.
Jim Hackett, the retired CEO of Steelcase Inc., who has served as interim AD since the resignation of Dave Brandon in October 2014, is not a candidate for the position. He has agreed to serve until a permanent successor is in place.
"Jim Hackett has been an exceptional interim AD," Schlissel said. "I could not have asked for more from a leader. He stepped up at a moment of need and has served the institution with great distinction. Personally, he has been a pleasure to work with and I will always owe him a debt of gratitude.
"Jim does not wish to be considered for the permanent AD role. I have asked him to serve on the search advisory committee because he knows well what is required for the position to be successful. Great university citizen that he is, Jim has agreed to stay on until a permanent successor is in place."
The AD reports directly to the president and serves as a member of the university's executive leadership team. The department has an annual budget of $151 million and a staff of 350. Among Hackett's key accomplishments as athletic director during the past year are:
- The hiring of football coach Jim Harbaugh and the progress of the football program.
- Contract extensions for basketball coaches Kim Barnes Arico and John Beilein.
- Continued academic and athletic excellence among student-athletes.
- Negotiating a lucrative new apparel contract with Nike
Hackett said he agreed to serve as interim AD "out of loyalty to the university and my love of intercollegiate athletics." Hackett is a former U-M football player.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the University of Michigan and President Schlissel. This past year has been incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally, we have accomplished many great things," Hackett said.
"I loved serving my university and appreciate the support I have received from everyone connected with Michigan. I am now pleased to assist President Schlissel in identifying U-M's next permanent athletic director and ensuring a smooth transition."
The president said he asked the search firm to devote "considerable effort" into ensuring a broadly diverse pool of candidates. Key characteristics of a new AD are outlined in the job description and include:
- The highest levels of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness.
- A strong commitment to the health, safety, personal development and academic success of the university's 900 student-athletes.
- Commitment to developing competitive men's and women's sports teams that have the opportunity to compete each year for Big Ten and other championships.
- Demonstrated experience and a strong personal commitment to advancing all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Knowledge of intercollegiate athletics administration, skill in fiscal management, and insight into the challenges and opportunities of Division I athletics in an academic research setting.
In addition to the president, members of the committee are:
- Liz Barry, special counsel to President Schlissel.
- Anne Curzan, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of English language and literature, professor of linguistics and associate dean for humanities in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; professor of education and faculty athletic representative.
- Jim Hackett, interim director of intercollegiate athletics.
- Corinne Harris, undergraduate student in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and co-captain of women's soccer.
- Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
- Dr. Stefan G. Humphries, alumnus, former U-M and professional football player, and medical director at Renown Rehabilitation Hospital in Reno, Nevada.
- Carol Hutchins, softball coach.
From Turnkey, the lead consultants on the search, will be U-M alumnus and Turnkey founder and CEO Len Perna and Gene DeFilippo, senior executive director at Turnkey and former athletic director at several schools including Boston College, Villanova and Kentucky. The firm will be paid a fee of $150,000 plus expenses.
The search will be supported by Lisa M. Connolly, senior manager for executive searches, awards and select committees, and Amy Riley, administrative specialist, both in the Office of the President.