UM AD Dave Brandon: We didn't want to change
Published: Friday, 08 June 2012 13:33
by Doug Samuels
There has been plenty of talk about Oliver Luck being one of the top athletic directors in the country, and understandably so. But the job that Michigan AD Dave Brandon has been doing an should not be overlooked. Brandon has been able to take one of the nations strongest athletic programs from top to bottom and institute changes previously not thought possible.
When Brandon took over as the Michigan AD almost two years ago, he took over a organization that he described as "inward-focused" and has since expanded the staff from 275 members to 308 (including creating many new positions including as chief marketing officer and chief information officer), and put a renewed focus on marketing, event execution, and information technology.
One of the first things that Brandon did upon taking the job was to take a close look into what he was inheriting. One thing that he found out pretty quickly was that the University of Michigan did not welcome change.
"Why? Because we're Michigan. We didn't want to change, we were stuck in, 'This is the way we do things at Michigan.' If we didn't like the way things were going, we would just sing the fight song. If it looked like Texas was growing faster than us, if Ohio State kept beating us, if Florida was zooming past us, we'd just sing the fight song. And the reality is, we just didn't want to change."
Unsurprisingly, each change ranging from putting numbers on the helmets, to the football programs first night game at The Big House was met with resistance.
"Every change I have ever proposed has been met with resistance 'You're going to put lights in Michigan Stadium? You're going to play a night game? You're going to put the kids in a vintage uniform? Oh my God, you're going to put numbers on the helmets? How can you do this?'"
"I don't care what it is, any change that's been proposed, this has been a culture that wants to resist it, because we all want to go back to the way it was when we were there, because that's friendly and that's comfortable.
"Every change I have proposed has been met with resistance. But you know what? I don’t care."