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More later on this.  Kind of wrestling with how you rate an athletic director.  Coaching hires?  Overall success of the teams?  Financial health?  Facilities?  On continuing/enhancing Michigan brand and tradition?   Coke vs. Pepsi? 

Would love your take in the comments and a brief poll:

Rate AD Bill Martin's performance

View Results

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17 Comments

  1. I think everything has been great but 2 things:
    1) Selling out to Adidas
    2) the way the football coach search was conducted – not complaining about results, just think the interim period was a little off.

  2. James F. Epperson

    Being married to an Atlanta girl, I do think the Coke/Pepsi thing was decided incorrectly , but I generally think he has done things well. I agree with the previous comment, that the search to replace Lloyd could have been done in a way to make us look better. He didn’t want Les Miles, but he didn’t seem to have a plan in place for after Miles turned us down. RR should not have been allowed to contest the buyout w/ WVU—made us look very bad. Complaints could be made about the football scheduling, too. But all this is being picky. He did a good job.

  3. Slappy, whats the difference between “selling out” to adidas vs “selling out” to nike? and whats wrong with it, especially when adidas is giving us a much better deal?

    football stadium upgrade, football and basketball practice facilities, landing RR, Beilein, keeping Mahoney. OUTSTANDING

  4. Greg (MVictors)

    @James F. Epperson
    James, you know they switched to Coke this year, right?

  5. To echo Scott’s take, it’s pretty remarkable what he’s done in 10 years: football stadium upgrade, new football practice facilities, new baseball and softball complex, new tennis facility, and the reality of a new basketball practice facility, all totally funded by the Athletic Dept — and all the while improving the financial health of the Athletic Dept. We’ve had teams we could be proud of in every single sport, and some of the best coaches in the land. He’s done an outstanding job.

  6. formerlyanonymous

    His only weak hire was Tommy Amaker. Nobody seems to remember that. That is a good sign.

  7. James F. Epperson

    Actually, no, I didn’t know they switched :-( My error.

  8. IMO, Martin was a good, not great AD. Yes, lots of facility upgrades will be credited to him, and he got us out of the Goss era, but there has been a cost to the customers (and fan base in general) both literally and figuratively in the quality of the Michigan Athletics experience, esp Football.

    Being a Michigan fan: It’s a labor of love, but it shouldn’t feel like work. It will be up to the next AD, to re-connect to, and re-energize the customers. RichRod is a start.

  9. @formerlyanonymous
    Cheryl Burnett was also an unmitigated disaster. Perhaps one of the worst hires in the history of Michigan Athletics.

    Woman was not only hated by her players, but managed to not win a single conference game for, what, a 2-year stretch?

    He nailed his second round of basketball hires, but the first round was a resounding 0 for 2.

    I would say this about Martin: Yes, financially, Michigan Athletics are in a much better place than when he got here. The facilities improvements have been much needed and (for the most part) tasteful and well-executed. That being said, no matter what you think about RR, there are several significant and likely lasting divides within the fanbase that were not here before Bill Martin. The RR vs. anti-RR camp will likely never reconcile.

    And I would argue that the dividing line between those with a lot of money to give vs. those who have less has never been greater. Martin created an environment that didn’t hide the fact that Athletics cared more about the fans who could front a big check, and there are plenty of long-time donors who have been rubbed the wrong way as a result. He’s alienated a lot of people who have given and given and given for decades. His loyalty and people skills are notoriously less than they should be, and I’ve heard as much from people who have known him for decades. Yes, there’s a place in Michigan Athletics for a business mindset, but Michigan is about people and tradition and the family feel of the whole thing, and those things shouldn’t be trumped by the almighty dollar.

  10. Greg (MVictors)

    Really enjoying the comments, thanks

  11. Don’t forget PSLs… that’s Barnacle Bill’s legacy as well… also his pretty consistent lying that he needed 8 home games to balance the budget but if you critically look at the finances, the 8th game wasn’t needed to do so. Instead Martin gave us App State, Del State, and MAC hell.

    For people that are in the know, is this a rather abrupt resignation. If so, I wonder what he is trying to hide.

  12. He made good business decisions in terms of getting the athletic department back on track. But sports then became all about business and money. But he also made ok decisions in terms of hiring coaches with RR a big question mark and a wait to be seen. The Coke/Pespi thing just demostrated that despite what the University says, priniciples are flexible, especially when it comes to money.

  13. @Scott

    Just wondering… have the facilities improvements increased Big 10 and or National Championships? Is that all anyone cares about, that facilities got upgraded?
    Softball was definitely nice and a surprise in 2005.

    I’m not in either the pro or anti-RR camp but it is waaaaay too early to assign a grade on that assignment. There are things I like about RR but how the search was handled, the lawsuit, etc., was a complete and preventable embarrassment for U of M. We’re supposed to be better than that.

    Everyone is talking about Martin as this great businessman. Perhaps! But “business” certainly isn’t the only facet of his job and outside of the balance sheet, Barnacle Bill’s performance is questionable at best. Quite frankly, after Goss, there was no place to go but up.

    Keeping a program in the black for 25 varsity sports is nice but there are a lot of aspects of the job which Martin simply wasn’t suited for. I hope the next AD doesn’t alienate students or alum like Martin has. I hope the next AD isn’t so aloof when it comes to sports.

  14. @Scott

    Sadly, some people are so brainwashed by Nike’s advertising that they refuse to accept that truth – that the quality and performance of all the major athletic brands is virtually identical. Adidas offered us double what Nike would pony up for; ergo, it was a no-brainer.

  15. @Bando

    When Rich Rod wins the Big Ten next year, the anti-RR camp will evaporate. It’s hard to remember now, but there was a faction strongly opposed to hiring Beilein. None of them will show their faces now. I think the reality is that there are always going to be divides when you make outside hires. Promoting from within is the safe, but often equally dangerous, option.

  16. While I think Bill Martin was EXACTLY what the athletic department needed after what we can only describe as the “Period Known as the Halo”, I think the debacle of hiring the head football coach will always tarnish his otherwise sound reputation.

    Even if the Rod produces National Champion after National Champion, Sailboat Bill could have managed the press and everything surrounding the hire Oh, so much better…

  17. @James
    Um, a faction opposed to hiring Beilein? What, 1 person amongst the 10 people who were actually vocal one way or the other?

    I say this as a lifetime Michigan basketball fan, perhaps an even more obsessed fan than I am of football, but comparing the basketball hire to the football hire in terms of public scrutiny is comparing two programs light years apart. To say there was anybody shedding a tear over Tommy Amaker’s mock turtlenecks getting shipped out east would be a massive overstatement.

    And, honestly, Amaker should have been gone a lot sooner than he was. Martin gave him a ridiculously long leash. I sat in the student section through the worst of the worst of Amaker. It was embarrassing. And Tommy didn’t do himself too many favors with his notoriously prickly relationship with both the press and Michigan high school basketball coaches. He would do absolutely nothing to promote the program.

    Really, I don’t see how you could compare the two.