Schlissel says search for Athletic Director hasn't started, 'open to the idea' of AD with no Michigan ties

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By Alejandro Zúñiga, Managing Sports Editor
Published November 3, 2014

As University President Mark Schlissel considers a new Athletic Director, he vows to find “a person of unquestioned integrity,” to fill the position permanently.

And in an interview with The Michigan Daily Monday afternoon, Schlissel made one thing clear: That search hasn’t begun quite yet.

“I would imagine that we’ll begin the process of organizing a search in the coming weeks,” Schlissel said. “I can tell you with certainty I haven’t talked to anybody at all — no matter what you read in the media — about whether they’re interested in a permanent position here.”

As the University seeks a full-time replacement for former Athletic Director Dave Brandon, who resigned Friday, Jim Hackett will hold the position in an interim role. Hackett played football at Michigan in the 1970s, is the former CEO of Steelcase, and is a member of the board of advisers for the School of Public Policy and the Life Sciences Institute.

According to the Macomb Daily, Michigan has reached out to Central Michigan Athletic Director Dave Heeke to replace Brandon full-time. ESPN.com’s Joe Schad then reported the University had contacted Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips.

“I can tell you that the names that I read about in the newspaper are people I’ve never heard of before. So it’s hard to imagine that I’ve actually spoken to them,” Schlissel said.

When he announced Brandon’s resignation Friday, Schlissel said the new athletic director would be expected to prioritize “the welfare and the experience of our student-athletes.” Schlissel, who has admitted to never stepping foot on campus until his job interview, added Friday that “you can learn” the positive qualities of being a “Michigan Man.”

He reiterated Monday that the future athletic director might be better served by not having any ties to Michigan.

“I think a person having had experience at Michigan here is a great thing,” Schlissel said. “A person whose experience is completely somewhere else, that can also be a good thing. When you bring people in that think a little different, they challenge your presumptions about how you’re doing things. Sometimes, that process makes you do things better. I don’t think Michigan has cornered the market on how to run intercollegiate athletics.

“I’m always open to the idea that someone from the outside might help us be even better. I just want to get the best person.”

Watch the full interview below.