Warde Manuel Named Michigan Athletic Director: Contract Details, Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2016

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2015, file photo, UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel is shown during a basketball game betweemn UConn and Notre Dame in Storrs, Conn. Two high ranking UConn officials say the school's athletic director has been offered the same job at Michigan. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, because Michigan has made no official announcements about the opening. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
Jessica Hill/Associated Press

The University of Michigan's search for a new athletic director ended Friday with the hiring of former Wolverines defensive tackle Warde Manuel.

Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News showed Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh shaking hands with Manuel at his introductory press conference on Friday:

Nick Baumgardner of MLive reported Manuel's contract is for five years, $800,000 per year with $100,000 of deferred compensation each year.

Manuel will take over for interim athletic director Jim Hackett, who left a huge imprint on the university's sporting landscape by hiring Harbaugh as head football coach.

While Hackett is leaving the post on his own volition, Harbaugh expressed his desire for the man who hired him to take on the full-time position back in December, according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.

"The relationship has been A-plus-plus," Harbaugh said. "I still want to talk him into staying. I'd like to give that a shot. The way I feel about it, it's been outstanding working with Jim."

Although Hackett followed through with his plan to step down, Michigan is bringing in a replacement with a wealth of athletic director experience, which is a rare move by the university, per Michigan football author John U. Bacon:

Manuel served as the AD at Buffalo from 2005 through 2012, and he has held the same position at UConn since then.

According to Bacon, inexperienced athletic directors flopping at high-profile schools recently may have played a role in Michigan's decision to refrain from going outside the world of athletics:

Per Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant, UConn president Susan Herbst views the loss of Manuel as a bittersweet moment.

"It's happy and sad for us," Herbst said. "We're incredibly proud of him, but he has brought a lot to UConn."

While leaving a school with the athletic credentials of UConn—particularly in basketball—couldn't have been easy for Manuel, one can only assume that Michigan is a dream job of sorts.

Manuel played under the legendary Bo Schembechler with the Wolverines, and he will now take over a post he occupied from 1988 through 1990.

He also arrives at a time when Michigan football appears poised to emerge as a national title contender on the heels of Harbaugh leading the Wolverines to a 10-3 record this past season.

Manuel will simply be asked to build upon the foundation that Hackett laid, and if he is able to do that, then he may soon be the first Michigan AD to help deliver a national championship in football since 1997.


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