The trigger has officially been pulled.
Following up on reports that surfaced late Friday morning, Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced this afternoon that Dave Brandon has (ahem) “resigned as UM’s athletic director”. The move comes after a month in which Brandon was assailed from numerous corners for various missteps, from the handling of the Shane Morris head injury to the corporate nature of home football games to go along with the pricing to an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.
Add in the football team’s 3-5 record to start the 2014 season, its worst since 2008, and it’s a recipe for what most will consider a forced resignation after four years on the job.
“Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, our athletic department and our university community if he moved on,” the president said. Schlissel stated during a press conference that he accepted Brandon’s resignation this morning and that he agreed with the now-former AD’s decision to step aside.
Former UM football player Jim Hackett will serve as interim athletic director until a permanent replacement is found. Mlive.com wrote that “Hackett, a 1977 Michigan graduate, comes to U-M after two decades as chief executive of Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc., one of the world’s largest office furniture makers based.”
Brandon’s departure almost certainly means Brady Hoke, already on one of the hottest coaching seats in America, will be out as the Wolverines’ head coach at season’s end, if not sooner. And, just who will make the decision to kick the chair out from underneath Hoke’s noosed neck?
Speculation had heavily centered on Arkansas AD and College Football Playoff chairperson Jeff Long even before Brandon’s resignation was announced; expect that speculation to increase exponentially with today’s development. UConn’s Warde Manuel and Boston College’s Brad Bates have been mentioned prominently as well. There’s even one report that tosses the name of Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione into the mix, while another states UM has already reached out to current Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke.