Former University of Cincinnati and University of British Columbia president Dr. Santa J. Ono has been named the new president of the University of Michigan. The news was officially announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
A graduate of the University of Chicago and McGill University, Dr. Ono is an amazing hire for the university from both an academics and athletics standpoint. Of course, this is a sports site, so we are going to solely focus on athletics.
So why do I say this is an amazing hire for the athletics? Well, Dr. Ono actually cares about athletics, unlike a certain previous president whose name rhymes with Bark Dishel who was recently let go.
During his time at Cincinnati, Dr. Ono was actively involved with the athletics department from a financial standpoint. He assisted in raising funds for renovations at their football and basketball arenas. The football renovations included adding 5,000 seats, upgrades to the press box and other seating areas, and more.
The basketball renovations were just as impressive.
“Improvements to the new-look, 12,012-seat, arena include two 360-degree concourses with court-centric seating, new club seats, loge boxes and premium suites. The Arena Club, Champions Club and the Mercedes-Benz Courtside Club provide entertainment options for fans. State-of-the-art videoboards and ribbon boards raise the gameday experience to a new level while increased points-of-sale for concessions feature food options from some of Cincinnati’s most famous restaurants,” a press release reads. “New student-athlete amenities include new locker rooms, a film room, a hydrotherapy room and the Margaret K. Valentine Classroom creates more learning environments for the University.”
Dr. Ono didn’t just spend money on the athletics to make things better. He was also involved from a pure presence standpoint, giving speeches to the football team and shaving his head at their basketball arena for charity. It really seemed like he did anything he possible could to be involved in some way, shape or form.
Oh, and did I mention he has crowd surfed at sporting events at both UBC and UC?
What more could you really ask for? Well, I suppose you could ask Dr. Ono to dish out NIL money like Halloween candy to every five-star talent in America and run this damn thing like an NFL team. Will that happen? You’re probably more likely to get struck by lightning twice and win the Mega Millions at the same time.
So what will Dr. Ono do in regards to NIL? That is still to be seen, but the way the university has handled it up to this point with collectives like Valiant Management Group will likely stay the same. Michigan will (probably) never guarantee money up front to recruits, so hopefully Dr. Ono and athletics director Warde Manuel collaborate and find a way to successfully get highly regarded recruits while not paying them millions of dollars right off the bat.
Needless to say, Dr. Ono should be a major force with the university and the Michigan Wolverines athletics department.