Good morning, and thank you for coming.
Before today’s very special announcement, I want to acknowledge the University of Michigan Board of Regents.
Their support, dedication, and advice during this search process was invaluable.
I am pleased to announce that I have selected Warde Manuel to serve as the next Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics at the University of Michigan.
He will begin March 14th.
Warde knows how to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the field.
He is a three-time University of Michigan alumnus, with a degree in general studies and a focus in psychology, a Master’s in Social Work, and an MBA from our Ross School of Business.
He was a U-M student-athlete in football and track & field and played under Bo Schembechler.
I want to thank interim AD Jim Hackett for his exemplary service to the Athletic Department and the University of Michigan. For more than a year, he served with a level of distinction and integrity befitting the University of Michigan’s highest values.
He accomplished a great deal in a very short time and leaves the department in wonderful shape.
He brought us Coach Harbaugh, contract extentions for basketball coaches John Beilein and Kim Barnes Arico, a new apparel contract with Nike, and most importantly, has upheld the high expectations we have for the academic, social and community success of our student-athletes and our 31 teams.
Jim’s willingness to assist with the AD search has helped me identify an outstanding successor.
In addition to Jim, I also thank the six other members of the search advisory committee, and our search consultants, Len Perna and Gene Defilippo from TurnKey for their excellent work.
We reached out and solicited broad community input, and we set the bar high in our search for a permanent Athletic Director. We considered a large pool of outstanding candidates.
Essential criteria included:
- A focus on the success and well-being of our student-athletes, in the classroom, in their sports, in the Ann Arbor community, and with respect to their health and safety.
- Uncompromising integrity, with an absolute commitment to play and win by the rules.
- Competitiveness at the highest levels: At Michigan, we strive to compete for league and national championships. Every year. Every team.
- A passion for integrating athletics with the entirety of our campus community. We are at our best when our strengths as a university complement and enhance one another.
- Respect and appreciation for U-M traditions, including the importance of athletics to our students, alumni and fans.
- An innovative but financially responsible steward of a self-supporting athletic department.
- And someone who can be a national voice for maintaining and enhancing the collegiate model of athletics.
Warde brings outstanding athletics experience to Michigan and embodies all these characteristics and values.
He has worked in our Athletic Department under former AD Bill Martin. Since then, he has served as AD at Buffalo, and at Connecticut, where his teams have won championships and dramatically improved classroom performance.
Michigan Athletics is celebrating its 150th anniversary this academic year, and our University is gearing up to celebrate its 200th birthday. Nowhere else are traditions and excellence like ours in academics and athletics measured in centuries.
The amazing accomplishments of our teams – and our student-athletes – bring our community together in celebration of the values and the success that we are known for worldwide:
- 56 team national championships.
- 307 individual national titles.
- 376 Big Ten championships.
- 121 Academic All-Americans.
I have every confidence that our future will be even brighter. And Warde Manuel is the right individual to lead Michigan Athletics into that future.
Warde, on behalf of the Michigan Family, I welcome you, your wife, Chrislan, and your family back to Ann Arbor.
I look forward to working with you, and let me be the first to say: Go Blue!