David Brandon named next University of Michigan athletic director
Brandon will have a five-year contract, and the appointment will be effective March 8, the university said.
Brandon, 57 played football under Bo Schembechler, lettering as a defensive end in 1973, and later served as a university regent. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Ann Arbor-based Domino’s Pizza, Inc. Domino's said this morning its board of directors plans to elect J. Patrick Doyle as Brandon's successor.
He was long considered the favorite to replace Bill Martin, who announced his retirement, effective Sept. 4, last October. Martin will work as a consultant once Brandon takes over.
“With his widely acclaimed leadership skills, business acumen, long-term involvement with the university and personal knowledge of the challenges and rewards of being a student athlete, David Brandon is an ideal candidate for athletic director,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a press release. “I am confident that he will carry on the tradition of excellence in U-M athletics as we enter a new era.”
“It is my distinct honor and privilege to have this opportunity to serve the university in yet another way,” Brandon said in the press release. “My participation as a student-athlete at U-M has made a profound impact on my life and career, and I fully understand and respect the important role our athletic programs play in helping to shape the culture and image of our university community.”
Brandon, a political heavyweight who was once considered a candidate for governor, inherits an athletic department on solid footing financially and with mostly modernized facilities, but one facing questions about its storied football program.
The program is under investigation for allegedly violating NCAA rules regarding in- and out-of-season practice time. The NCAA was expected to conclude its investigation by Dec. 31, and any announcement of official charges should be forthcoming.
Coleman has repeatedly declined interview requests about the athletic director search and football coach Rich Rodriguez in recent months. Coleman hired the search firm Spencer Stuart, led by headhunter Jed Hughes, a former Michigan teammate of Brandon's, to assist in the athletic director search.
As a regent, Brandon made a $4 million donation to the university in part to build the new Mott Children's Hospital, and was a supporter of renovating Michigan Stadium.
Brandon became chairman and chief executive officer of Domino's Pizza Inc. in March, 1999. Domino's said today he will be retained by the company as a special advisor for the balance of 2010.
Formerly, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Valassis Communications Inc. of Livonia, Mich. In Brandon’s 20 years at the marketing and sales promotion firm, the company grew from a family-owned business with 75 employees and $30 million in sales to a publicly traded industry leader with 1,300 employees and a total enterprise value exceeding $2 billion.
Brandon received a bachelor of arts degree in communications from U-M in 1974, and was a member of three Big Ten Championship football teams under Coach Bo Schembechler. Brandon also has honorary doctorate degrees from Walsh College, Schoolcraft College, Lawrence Technological University, Cleary College, Albion College, and Central Michigan University, where he served as a trustee from 1994-1998.
Brandon was elected to the U-M Board of Regents in 1998 and served an eight-year term. In 2007, he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the U-M Alumni Association. In 2008 he received the Bennie Oosterbaan Award for service, dedication and leadership, from the Bob Ufer Quarterback Club. Later in 2008, Brandon was honored as national CEO Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
Brandon, his wife, Jan, and former U-M head football coach Lloyd Carr and his wife, Laurie, also head the fund-raising campaign for the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospital Replacement Project. The $754 million facility will total 1.1 million gross square feet when it opens in 2011.