Hackett Hiring Search Firm, Knows of Timeline

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett officially announced the firing of Brady Hoke Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, Hackett announced he'd hire a search firm looking for a replacement, put Mike Debord in charge of day-to-day operations in the mean time, and is aware of his decision timeline.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When interim athletic director Jim Hackett hires the next football coach at the University of Michigan, he won’t exactly be alone in doing so.

During a Tuesday afternoon press conference to officially announce the firing of Michigan coach Brady Hoke after four seasons, Hackett says a search committee will be formed in order to find the next man for the job in Ann Arbor.

“I’ve devised a process and there will be a head hunting firm that’s going to help me,” Hackett said. “I’ll have that news soon.

“Part of the choice there is to find somebody that I don’t have to spend a lot of time bringing up to speed about what Michigan’s all about. And then the president’s asked me to make this decision.”

Hackett says he doesn’t plan on wasting any time finding a replacement for Hoke, noting the search begins “immediately.”

Quick to credit Hoke for the type of student-athletes in the program and the character each display on and off the field -- specifically mentioning Devin Gardner’s gesture to an injured J.T. Barrett in Saturday’s loss at Ohio State -- Hackett detailed his ideal candidate for the position.

“The criteria for our future coach is defined in winning with the shared values of the University of Michigan, so I ask for your patience in the search process,” Hackett said.

“It’s not fair for me to comment on potential candidates today, or the institutions or organizations they may currently be employed by. I can’t compromise the integrity of our search process by commenting prematurely until we have that new coach ready to go.”

Hackett called the head coach of the University of Michigan football program one of the finest jobs in American sport despite the Wolverines’ struggles to field a consistent winner since the retirement of Lloyd Carr in 2007.

Hackett added the position is all encompassing, looking for a coach that will recruit the best student-athletes and put them in a position to win in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.

As Michigan begins the search for their next head coach and the third since Carr’s tenure, Hackett has a familiar name in place to man the football program until a hire is made official.

“In the interim I’ve asked Mike Debord, who’s in the athletic department, to oversee the day-to-day aspects of the football program as a sport administrator until a new head coach is hired,” Hackett said. “Mike will not be a candidate for that job.”

Like Hoke, Debord has been at Michigan multiple times and in various roles, most notably as the offensive coordinator of the Wolverines in 2006-07.

As far as when that new coach could be in place, Hackett refused to go into detail but did say he has a timeline in mind and will evaluate several factors when deciding who is the best candidate and how that candidate fits into Michigan’s plans.

“In business we have a thing called a walk away which means at what point can’t you hang in there because you jeopardize other things and values,” Hackett said. “We’re building swim lane charts that show candidates, timeframes for their availability -- they may be in bowl games, they may be wherever they are in their status -- we compare that against our swim lane, where are we in trying to get our recruiting, our practice schedule started.

“I’m drawing some conclusions about when we can’t take more risk at Michigan. But, with that said I want you to be patient because it’s a bit of a trade here. If you give an answer quickly and you could wait a little longer and you believe you upgraded, you might be willing to take that risk so, that’s part of the process.”

Stay tuned to Scout.com and GoBlueWolverine for more on this breaking news story in the hours to come.


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