Schlissel: Hackett To Evaluate Football Team

Newly named interim athletic director Jim Hackett has some important responsibilities -- including making personal changes inside the football program. The question is: will he? Read more below.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan’s newly named interim athletic director Jim Hackett is responsible for any decisions involving the football team, Michigan president Mark Schlissel said on Friday, moments after announcing the resignation of former athletic director Dave Brandon.

In his introduction statement, Hackett said he has no intention of being a candidate for the job. However, with Schlissel saying Hackett has top football authority: does this mean Hackett could be in charge of potential hiring or firing of a coach?

“The interim A.D. is the athletic director until we hire a permanent A.D.,” Schlissel said. “As you know, I feel comfortable hiring deans’ and provosts’. But I feel a little less comfortable, I’m not the guy to make a decision about a particular coach. We have an athletic program that I delegate that authority to.”

At the moment, Brady Hoke is still the coach of the Michigan football program. Although, he might not be for much longer. The Wolverines are off t a 3-5 start, and with bad road losses to rivals Notre Dame and Michigan State, Hoke’s future employment may be in serious jeopardy. And the resignation of Brandon may be one more step towards the inevitable of Hoke ultimately losing his job.

But if Hoke were to lose his job, Schlissel said the decision most likely wouldn’t be made until the end of the season. And certainly wouldn’t be made by him.

“So football like all of our programs are evaluated by the athletic department through the season, particularly at the end of the season,” Schlissel said. “So I would imagine that the interim athletic director will be intimately involved in charge of the evaluation of football. And these things have a cadence. And will figure out how to move forward as we do with all of our sports.”

There is chance U-M could have new athletic director in place by seasons end. But if they don’t, and Hoke continues to lead Michigan in the wrong the direction in the standings, then Hackett – a ’77 U-M graduate and former football player -- might have to relieve Hoke of his duties.

“I have certainly have learned something intellectually I knew on the way into the door, but boy, did I sense the passion of all the fans, the alumni, the supporters of our athletic programs in general, and football in particular” Schlissel said. “I am not willing to address specific questions about the future of the football program, other than to say, everything else we do at the university we aspire to the level of excellence, at a level of competitiveness in a way that just excites and involves our entire community.”

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