Earlier this week it was reported that the University of Michigan and athletic director Warde Manuel had agreed to a contract extension. And on Thursday Michigan announced the extension.
Michigan’s Board of Regents approved the contract today. Manuel received a five-year contract extension.
“Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan, has agreed to a five-year contract extension to continue leading the athletic department. The reappointment was recommended by U-M President Mark S. Schlissel and approved today (Thursday, Feb. 18) by the Board of Regents.
Manuel, who earned three degrees from U-M and competed in football and track and field as an undergraduate, sees his contract extended through June 30, 2026. The 12th athletic director in Michigan’s illustrious history, Manuel returned to U-M in 2016 following a successful tenure as the athletic director at the University of Connecticut.
“I am pleased to recommend the reappointment of Warde Manuel as the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Schlissel. “With the support of Mr. Manuel’s leadership as the athletic director, Michigan Athletics has excelled in the classroom and on the fields of play.”
Under Manuel’s leadership, Michigan set an athletic department record in the 2020 NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report with a four-year average GSR of 94 percent, and 15 of the 25 varsity athletic programs earned perfect GSR scores. A school-record 405 student-athletes were recognized in the 2019-20 academic year as Academic All-Big Ten, which goes to student-athletes who carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or above.
In the realm of athletic competition during Manuel’s tenure as the athletic director, Michigan has won 40 team conference championships, nine individual NCAA titles, a Women’s NIT basketball championship in 2017, and national runner-up finishes in women’s cross country (2016), men’s basketball (2018) and baseball (2019).
In 2019, Michigan achieved a second-place national finish in the NACDA Director’s Cup, matching the highest ranking ever for U-M in this overall honor for collegiate athletic achievement.
Off the field, Manuel revamped the Athletic Department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, highlighted by a five-year vision around education and student-led opportunities. He has championed student-athletes’ voices and empowered student leaders in 2020 to launch the department’s initiative for unity and diversity through sport, leading to unified messages for Social Justice Awareness on all U-M uniforms. He is one of 15 U-M representatives on the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition.
Manuel is the current president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and sits on the Collegiate Women Sports Awards board.”
Manuel has been responsible for hiring the likes of hockey coach Mel Pearson and basketball coach Juwan Howard. Manuel, who’s been the AD since 2016, will now have a chance to carve out his legacy at Michigan, and in the Big Ten. We’re in an era of new collegiate rules, conversations of name, image, and likeness and players potentially being paid in the future, among other complex issues.
If Michigan is to continue to profess ‘Leaders and Best’, then Manuel will have to take charge and become one of the most influential athletic directors in the Big Ten. It’s a hard job, but it reaps major rewards, and Manuel now has the job security to roll up his sleeves. get back to work, and attempt to take Michigan to new heights.