Bruce Feldman of FoxSports is reporting that there is a strong likelihood that University of Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett will remain put in his chair in the athletic department, at least for the foreseeable future. If that is true, Michigan will be making the right choice here. In fact, Michigan will be doing the only logical thing it can in this situation.
On Saturday, before Michigan’s game with Maryland, Hackett met with the media and laid out his future plans for the football program.
“I think the position I’m in today, and I’m really comfortable with this, the process of evaluating the coach at the end of the season is a really certain mark on the stage that I know how to do, and I’m really comfortable with the fact that this guy has done an extraordinary job in very difficult times. The calling-into-question part, in a leadership sense you wait for the moment when you’re really going to do it. It’s almost like a solemn ceremony, because it’s a deep respect for him and a deep respect for the process that you go through to make a decision like that.”
Michigan is in desperate need of some stability, especially concerning the football program, and that is impossible to achieve while searching for a permanent AD and, likely, a new head coach. What is the sales pitch to possible candidates for the coaching job?
“Not sure if you know this, but, uh, we don’t know who your boss is going to be. Sign here?”
That isn’t going to work if you’re trying to pull some of the guys rumored as candidates for the position. Is Jim Harbaugh going to leave the NFL if an interim AD is the one hiring him? What about Dan Mullen? Les Miles? Sure, maybe they’re promised a voice in the search, but is this a time for politics?
There is a lot to be said about having a stable seat at the top of totem. Keeping Hackett on board is not only the correct move in this situation; it is, presumably, the only move. Michigan is going to have a difficult time moving forward if it keeps publicizing this as something not permanent. That’s why Hackett needs to remain put in the athletic department. He is a qualified candidate who got to witness first hand what it DOESN’T take to run an athletic department. And for what it’s worth, Thomas Edison discovered 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.
The coming weeks will likely be very telling as to what is in store for the athletic department and the football program, and hopefully the answers will appease.
Tyler Fenwick is the managing editor of TheBigHouseReport.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.