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Posted on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 7:47 a.m.

David Brandon named next University of Michigan athletic director

By Staff


David Brandon, today named athletic director for the University of Michigan, celebrates in this July 2004 photo as Domino's Pizza stock begins trading on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

AP photo

David Brandon has been named the next University of Michigan athletic director, pending approval by the Board of Regents at its regularly scheduled Jan. 21 meeting, the university announced this morning.

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.



Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 7:51 p.m.

Dave, you make South Lyon proud. You've come a long way since our days at church summer camp. I know Bo is smiling. You will be great at this job just like Don was. Just think about Rich Rod, Ok? Congratulations. Connie Lewis


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 7:14 p.m.

While you are laughing tell us why RR is such a good coach. You mentioned WV was it his 7-11 record against top 25 teams that makes him good? Or how about going 3-13 in the Big Ten? Or how about when the three best teams left the Big East and he still did not go undeafeated? Wv played a weak schedule in the Big East...only 18 games against top 25 teams in seven years that is about 2 a year...pitiful. RR is the most overrated coach in college football and he is proving it.

Shannon LaVigne

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 6:49 p.m.

Mark, you are dead on about Rich Rod..thank you for saying what needed to be said. VOR...there has been long term speculation regarding Brandons running for governor. Though many sources report him as "laughing it off" he has never (to my knowledge) came out and flatly denied wanting to do this. Do you honestly see a man of his experience and age staying at Michigan long term as an AD? Bottom line is this..there are far more qualified people for this job. Being an ex-athlete and alumnus does not make for an qualified AD.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

It was a safe and easy choice,.. NOT a great choice! A great choice would have been to bring back Bob De Carolis from Oregon State. Go take a look at what he's done for the Beavers,.. and let's compare what Brandon's done for Michigan 5 years from now. This was a comfort zone choice pure and simple. His ties to Michigan and commitment to the community are to be lauded, but that's where it stops for me. There are plenty of candidates out there who match Brandon's business skills,.. especially when you look at where Domino's is in it's own market. I will also give him his due as a fundraiser,.. but college sports is a different animal altogether. There are also just as many candidates who are head and shoulders over Brandon when it comes to athletics. I understand the tradition and apparent "need" to keep these jobs within the Michigan family, but when you look at the national arena where Michigan competes, I don't see this choice getting them there,.. certainly not keeping them there. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see it. Come to think of it,.. who were the other candidates,.. Did Fritz Seyferth get interviewed,..?? And for those of you who "continue" to beat the drum for Rich Rod's dismissal,... your lack of football knowledge is laughable. Please stop,..!! You have no idea how empty the cupboard was when Carr left,... and to be implementing an entirely new system with virtually no players,.. what do you expect? If you don't give Rich Rod 4 to 6 years,.. then you've done the entire program a disservice, and you will have set it back another 4 to 5 years, regardless of who you hire. Do you all honestly think that RR forgot how to coach football once he showed up in in Ann Arbor,..?? As one who followed his career through West Virginia,... I'm behind him 100%. GO BLUE,..!!


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

Shannon, If you could, please identify what position he is using this as a stepping stone to.

Shannon LaVigne

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

I could care less if he has an D or an R or an I in front of his name. There are many other AD's, with prior experience, who were more qualified than Dave Brandon. This is not about what he can do for the University its about what the University will do for him. This is a stepping stone for him, not something he is passionate about or for that matter, is qualified to do.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 3:49 p.m.

I am surprised people here can somehow declare David Brandon an "inept AD" before a single day on the job. Are you unable to look past his political affiliations? He played football for Michigan, did a great job running a multi-billion dollar company, and is very active in the local community. At what point did people begin completely abandoning common sense simply because of an (R) or (D) after a someone's name?


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 1:59 p.m.

I hope he sits in the regular stands. Luxury suites have no business in college football, but it is even worse when the administration, public employees mind you less, confine themselves in environments like that. If the teams getting rained on you should be getting rained on.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

As I said when it was first announced that he was a candidate for the job. As they say in the hood.."The Hook Up Is On." Whatever happen to the U being committed to equal opportunity? What a case of hypocrisy.

Shannon LaVigne

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:24 a.m.

One inept AD replaced with another. Dave Brandon will use the Univerity as a political and personal platform to inflate a bid for politics and his overblown ego. This is about money, plain and simple. Its only a matter of time before he starts making changes because he can, not because they are needed.

Shannon LaVigne

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:20 a.m.

They have replaced one inept AD with another who will use the University as a personal and political platform. Money got him this job. Lets see if he is able to keep his ego from making decisions that are not in the best interest of our Athletic Programs.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

Another BAD decision by Michigan. In Brad Bates, you could have had an AD with experience that brings a doctorate in education, dedication to academic integrity, and a focus on student development. That's EXACTLY what we needed--not a political businessman. SO DISAPPOINTING! Michigan made the point, clearly, that MONEY TALKS. David Brandon has been greasing the skids for months, and this behavior has now been rewarded. This drives another wedge between my alma mater and me. So very sad. I expected more from Mary Sue Coleman.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:09 a.m.

As a Republican, I hope Brandon does a better job at management, than the previous president and vice president of our country! If he has good management skills, this could be a very good hire. Hopefully, Coach Rodriguez will have a winning season in 2010 and be our coach for a very long time as well! Best of luck to Mr. Brandon.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

Hope he does a better job at AD than making pizza. Domino's has got to be the crappiest pizza ever.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

I'll bet he is pretty chummy with Jim Harbaugh.

scooter dog

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

Ok people for the last time,at least for this year.RR is NOT going to be replaced as head football coach.Its not going to happen.Just because a new ad is taking over does not mean you get someone else to complain about.So go take your blood pressure pill or prozak if you missed one and switch to decalf cause we are tired of all your bellyaching by all you wannabe arm chair quaterbacks.Enough allready


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

Sounds like a good move. Wonder what the sports teams will be eating at team meals now?

Nathan Bomey

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

In case you missed the link above, here's our story on how this move affects Domino's Pizza, which is in the midst of the biggest recipe change in its history.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

I hope he hires either Les Miles away from LSU, or maybe bring in Chris Patterson from Boise State U., to replace Coach Rod.


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

This is good news for Michigan. We're lucky to have someone as qualified as David Brandon. In fact, from a management point of view, he's overqualified. I'm actually surprised since he'd be taking a pay cut to take the job! But, running a big-budget university athletic department is a unique job and requires a unique individual. Brandon's long-time connections within the U-M alumni base, ex-athletes, and the local community will be a huge asset. I hope he can take a leadership role nationally in the college sports world that Martin never seemed to want to do.

The Grinch

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

First Task: Get a new football coach!!!!!!!

scooter dog

Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

I hope he runs the athletic dept better than his pizza company.Eating a domino's pizza is like chewing on cardboard


Tue, Jan 5, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

Go, David!