Well, apparently those days are over -- and so is the phrase.
“I want to get rid of the word Michigan Man,” Hackett said, emphatically.
Why? Well, the phrase was coined by former late U-M hall-of-fame coach Bo Schembechler, Hackett says, when basketball coach Bill Frieder left the basketball program during U-M’s NCAA championship run in 1989. And the phrase has since been used to describe as particular type of player or coach affiliated with the university.
“The guy who said that, Bo Schembechlar, one of my mentors and heroes said it when he was being challenged about a coach being recruited somewhere else,” Hackett explained. “He meant he wanted a person who was at Michigan to be the coach.”
With that being said, Hackett gave three definitions behind the true meaning of the phrase.
“If you cut up open men who are Michigan men so to speak,” Hackett said. “You find first selflessness. This is a paint where we stand for the team first. The second thing is the ability to win. Be competitive. The competitive spirit in my lifetime and others around here that played. We knew we had to work really hard. It wasn’t arrogance, it was about being competitive.”
And the third definition: “We want to continue the legacy of what’s been great from a value standpoint. That this place does not need to cut corners to win. And you got a lot of pride in the fact that you come here, you know you’re signing up to be the best in the world without any kind of shenanigans.”
Michigan man or not, U-M’s rumored top candidates for the job are Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles, who both happen to be both former Michigan players and graduates.