The University of Michigan made official today what was reported earlier this week in announcing Warde Manuel as the new director of athletics.
Reports came out earlier this week that Warde Manuel would become the Michigan Wolverines‘ new athletics director. That news became official with an announcement from university president Mark Schlissel at a press conference today. Manuel’s appointment as AD begins March 14.
Manuel brings AD experience with him, having worked in that roll at the University of Connecticut since 2012 and at the University of Buffalo from 2005-2012. Amazingly enough, this is the first time Michigan has hired a sitting AD for their own AD post, as noted by MLive’s Nick Baumgardner.
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But it was at Michigan where he first cut his teeth in athletics administration, holding titles such as assistant athletic director and associate AD. In those roles at Michigan, Manuel was responsible for overseeing both football and men’s basketball, experience that will serve him well as he moves into the top job in the athletic department.
Manuel’s prowess in those areas were on display at both of his previous AD jobs. He had home run coaching hires of Turner Gill to lead the Buffalo football program and Kevin Ollie to replace the legendary Jim Calhoun at the helm of the UConn basketball program. Buffalo football reached new heights under Gill and UConn won a national title under Ollie.
Michigan has coaching stability in both high profile sports with Jim Harbaugh and John Beilein, but Manuel will face the task of building and maintaining a strong relationship with both. Right or wrong, Harbaugh has a reputation for wearing on people over time so his relationship with Manuel will be paramount in determining the length of his tenure in Ann Arbor.
A native of New Orleans, Manuel first joined the Michigan family in 1986 when he came to Ann Arbor to play on the defensive line for Bo Schembechler. A neck injury cut his football career short but he was also a track athlete before earning his degree in 1990.