Stanford does it. So does Northwestern and Vanderbilt among others. In short order, Michigan could be headed down the same endowment path.
Pending approval from the university’s regents, Brady Hoke will officially be referred to as the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. The Board of Regents is expected to approve the move at a meeting Thursday.
The Harris family, through their foundation, donated $10 million recently for the “naming and endowment of the head football coach position.” The family’s foundation is a longstanding donor to the program specifically and the university in general, with the Detroit Free Press writing that they “previously had named the football locker room and ‘created scholarships, endowed professorships and provided support’ to the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, the Ross School of Business and the Ford School of Public Policy.”
“This endowed position will strengthen the program for years to come and ensure the future generation of student-athletes will continue to benefit from outstanding coaching and leadership,” a letter to the regents explained.
At Stanford, an endowment led to the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, the official title of head coach David Shaw. An anonymous donor also endowed the offensive coordinator position in honor of former Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck.
In a report from August of 2012, the New York Times notes that Rutgers, Duke and Texas Tech are all seeking endowments for their respective head football coaching jobs. Another? UM’s in-state rival Michigan State. For the low, low price of “just” $5 million, a donor can endow MSU’s head football or basketball coach. Another $500,000 would endow an assistant coaching position.
In an email to the Detroit News, MSU athletic director Mark Hollis explained that endowments are quickly becoming an integral part of the sport.
“Endowments in higher education are becoming more critical, including within intercollegiate athletics,” Hollis said. “Specific to athletics, endowments in scholarships, coaching positions and operations allowed a department to sustain excellence for years to come.”