Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has agreed to a five-year contract extension through June 30, 2026 — a deal that is expected to be approved at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting, according to the agenda.
The deal includes a $1.1 million annual salary — a $300,000 increase from Manuel’s previous base salary. The news was first reported by Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News on Monday morning.
Manuel, 52, originally signed a five-year contract with an $800,000 base salary in 2016, but that deal was set to expire on Mar. 14. Before returning to Ann Arbor in 2016, Manuel served as athletic director at SUNY Buffalo from 2005-12 and the University of Connecticut athletic director from 2012-15. He played football for the Wolverines under Bo Schembechler, and it now appears he’ll be sticking with his alma mater for the long haul.
“I am pleased to recommend the reappointment of Warde Manuel as the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics,”University President Mark Schlissel said in a statement. “With the support of Mr. Manuel’s leadership as the athletic director, Michigan Athletics has excelled in the classroom and on the fields of play.”
Manuel has made a pair of major coaching hires since becoming Michigan’s athletic director. When former men’s basketball coach John Beilein abruptly left for the Cleveland Cavaliers in May 2019, Manuel launched a national coaching search and replaced him with former Fab Five member and NBA star Juwan Howard. The Michigan job is Howard’s first head coaching role at any level, but he’s already positioned the Wolverines as national title contenders in just two years.
Following the retirement of legendary hockey coach Red Berenson in 2017, Manuel secured then-Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson as the Hall of Famer’s successor. It took Pearson only one year to reach the Frozen Four, and the Wolverines are currently ranked in the top 10 nationally with the 2020-21 postseason approaching.
There has been criticism regarding the state of the football program under Manuel, most notably Jim Harbaugh’s 0-5 record against rival Ohio State. Manuel recently inked Harbaugh to a five-year contract extension following a dismal 2-4 season, though the deal includes a significantly lower base salary.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Manuel will be tasked with leading the athletic department through the uphill financial battle.