Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Mailbag question: What are they hearing about David Brandon??

Posted at 8:00am -- 5/5/2010

Mailbag question: What are they hearing about David Brandon??

I have heard a lot about recruits and their parents talking to A.D. David Brandon about Rich Rodriguez' job security. It seems to have the right effect on them with the latest example being D. Hart. While this is great news and I really do believe Rich Rod will turn things around at Michigan, what is Brandon saying to these recruits that gets them to instantly fall in love with Michigan again?? Did he borrow some of Rod's snake oil??


David from the heart of enemy territory in Lansing

P.S. Love your site!! You guys are always insightful and have class!! Love it!!

David M.


Thanks for the question and comments.

First off, Mr. Brandon bleeds Maize and Blue. Anyone who turns down a 3.5 million dollar job a year for a 500,000-dollar job clearly loves Michigan and this University. This is his mission; his passion; his focused interest. Mr. Brandon is capable, very capable, and Michigan is in great hands, perhaps similar to Don Canham.

Mr. Brandon does not need to spread any snake oil. He has communicated to all the coaches at the University of Michigan that he will gladly help in any way possible including sitting down with parents and recruits to provide support, accurate communication, and trumpet the positive nature of Michigan athletics.

As far as Coach Rod goes, and his future, almost certainly any forthcoming evaluation with job implications centers on Coach Rod continuing to show overall, across the board improvement, win games, stay clean, and present a good holistic resume of accomplishment this year. Every athletic director will have a personal operational definition of holistic improvement that translates into success. Fans will start with winning, but sometimes for a program administrator, that may not serve as the lone criteria.

Every year, we all see examples of coaches losing good jobs based only on the criteria of wins. Historically, Michigan has not been in this recent mainstream of simply using wins as a measuring stick; clearly the university has been different in the termination of coaches. Al Davis’ motto of "Just Win Baby" is now tempting to U of M fans in the current climate. But the picture is bigger.

Mr. Brandon has that one ingredient that all parents and athletes want; a true and genuine love, and passion for Michigan, this is obvious to anyone who talks to him.

We have always heard that he would give the coaching staff plenty of time to get things turned around, but again an administrator whose number one task is likely to return the football program to prominence cannot accept a debacle such as Coach Rodriguez’s first year again and such a result could trigger quick changes.

There have been some false reports bandied about even before Mr. Brandon took the job, and by our account, everything he has done so far has been great and falls under a generic conclusion of just what the athletic department has needed.

No offense to Mr. Bill Martin, who was very good at getting donors to fund the program and should be credited with leaving his tenure with great accomplishments regarding facilities. Mr. Martin needed to take more of an active roll in being the athletic director and demanding more from his programs. With so much money being spent now with upgrades, tickets, etc. program supporters have less patience for losing and by human nature will “demand/expect” to see a better product throughout the entire Michigan program.

Michigan has always counted on its prestigious name to sell its product, whether it be tee-shirts or five star recruits, and has not lately demonstrated exceptionalism in planned and effective salesmanship in the mode of Don Canham.

Well, not anymore, in our opinion, with Mr. Brandon in charge. He has taken the bull by the horns even before he officially started his tenure by being the head guy speaking about the NCAA investigation. He has also within a few weeks on the job put together a night game with Notre Dame, along with creating a fund-raiser for Mott’s Children’s Hospital made better by bringing on board PNC to be the official sponsor of the spring game. Continuing on, it has been reported that over 90,000 tickets have already sold for "The Big Chill at the Big House" with Arby's as the event sponsor.

Few would argue that his start has not been noteworthy.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue -- Wear Maize!


Anonymous said...

Why come you guys make fun of AD Martin? He did grate job at Michigan. I no for fact he reeds this blog and would be upset if he read something derogitory about his grwat job at Michigan.

GBMW Blog said...

Where did we rip or make fun of Bill Martin?

We said he was a good AD who helped get the fund raising and also the building built and up to date.

The only thing we said negative that we believe he wasnt the best sports AD ... sometimes you need two people to do the AD side of things ... one who can raise money and one who takes care of the athletic programs.

The sports programs have struggled the last several years.

We believe David Brandon will do a fine job as the AD.

Anonymous said...

'It's the kids, stupid'.

My concern with the coverage of David Brandon, Coach Rod, and others is that they seem blind to the top priority.

UM's priority is not wins, revenue, integrity (though good luck to the football coach or AD that doesn't deliver those), it's the student-athletes. Our goal is to help them develop personally, academically, and athletically. The question is not 'What can this kid do for Michigan?'; it's 'What can Michigan do for this kid?'

(Of course, there's a paradox: While the University puts the students first, the students need to learn to put the team first.) Playing on the national stage, against the best competition, with some of the best coaching, is of course a fantastic opportunity to learn, grow, and enjoy.

My concern is that Brandon and Rodriguez seem much more focused on other issues. Brandon talks about revenue, brand, wins, and integrity. Rodriguez discusses 'whether we can win with this kid'. I'm not suggesting they don't care, and I know little about what they do, but if the students' development is the top priority, they don't talk about it much.

I liked and admired Carr because his charges' development seemed like his top priority, from academic (the dictionary outside his office, and the time to study), to personal (how many former players now love Carr as a father figure), to athletic, of course. I used to love reading his press conferences, to hear him talk about the players -- I learned things from just his approach. I'll append below Carr talking at one press conference about Ryan Mallett, but I hope GBMW -- my favorite UM blog -- will pay as much attention to this issue as to strategy and talent.


(You can find more here:

About Ryan Mallett's emotions and controlling them ... "I think he has to do it. I think as a coach what I try to do is help him understand that this is not -- this is a higher level. The expectation here is much greater than anything you've had, and the competition is much greater than anything you've had. And therefore you're going to have to deal with some frustrations. You're going to have to deal with some things that aren't going your way, and that's what you've got to learn. "And the quicker you learn that so that you don't allow frustration to take over -- because we're all going to get frustrated in everything we do, but we can't allow the frustration to dictate our thoughts. We've got to maintain the composure that will enable us to be successful. I think that's one of his challenges. There's no doubt in my mind that he will be able to handle that, but if you're an emotional guy you're not going to change. Your personality is not going to change. You don't want that to change."
- Lloyd Carr 29 Oct 2007 press conference

Anonymous said...

I get the impression DB is putting a muzzle on RR. RR should only make comments about FB and learn to make general innocuous statements about everything else.

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