ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jim Hackett's replacement has been found and, like Hackett, has very close ties to the University of Michigan.
Sources have confirmed to The Michigan Insider that the University of Michigan will announce at an 11:15 am press conference that it has hired Warde Manuel as its next Athletic Director. Manuel is a former defensive tackle for legendary Wolverines football coach Bo Schembechler from 1986-1989 and had his playing career cut short due to a career-ending neck injury.
According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, Manuel's deal with Michigan is expected to be for five years worth more than $700,000 a year.
From there, Manuel, 47, would become assistant athletic director in 1998 and then became associate athletic director in 2000 for U-M before heading to the University of Buffalo and becoming the athletic director in 2005. During his Buffalo tenure, Manuel was responsible for hiring Turner Gil to become the head coach of the football program at Buffalo. Gil would eventually lead the program to its first winning season and bowl birth since joining Division I football. He was credited with expanding the athletic budget and stellar APR marks.
Manuel left Buffalo in 2012 to become the athletic director for UCONN and faced even more success which included his track record of sterling APR scores continuing and the university winning six national championships under his watch. Manuel oversaw the transition of legendary basketball coach Jim Calhoun (retirement) to the hiring of assistant coach Kevin Ollie. The Husky basketball program would go on to win the 2014 national championship under Ollie.
Former Wolverine great Desmond Howard took to social media to laud the hire of Manuel.
"I've known Warde for almost 30 years as a teammate, friend and sports professional and I can't think of anyone more suited for this job," Howard tweeted. "I'm excited about the working relationship I know he'll have w/ Coach Harbaugh, the dedication he'll bring to football and all Michigan sports."
A source close to the UCONN program told The Michigan Daily that Manuel's move to U-M is a big loss for the athletic administration.
“He is an incredibly capable administrator, but more than that, he understands people,” the source said to The Michigan Daily.“He’s a freakin’ incredible guy — it sucks to be us.”
In 2015, Manuel was named the Under Armour AD of the Year Award.