The Wolverine

September 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2019 THE WOLVERINE 21 BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan director of athlet- ics Warde Manuel spoke extensively to The Wolver- ine regarding the state of Michigan's varsity programs, heading into the 2019-20 academic year. Here's what he had to say: The Wolverine: How would you assess the state of the football program under Jim Harbaugh? Manuel: "I really, really, really like where we are, in terms of the attitude, atmosphere around our football pro- gram, our commitment. I love where Jim is. I love where the staff and the team are. "We are moving forward in an ex- tremely solid direction, and I am look- ing forward to this season." The Wolverine: What are Coach Harbaugh's strengths when it comes to managing that program? Manuel: "I think he's a great coach, in all aspects. You look at what the team has done academically. You look at what we've done on the field of play. "I know he gets criticized quite a bit for his record against Ohio State. To me, that's the only thing that people may criticize. It's something that he is working to improve and make sure it gets turned around. "Three 10-3 seasons, one 8-5 season, going into your fifth year … I've been in a lot of places around the country that would take that record every year. "Certainly here, we're never happy when we lose. Jim would be the first to tell you that. We never want to lose a game, especially to our rivals, but we have to put this in perspective, with how good and how consistent our teams have been in the four years since he's arrived." The Wolverine: You noted recently you are tired of talking about the Ohio State series. Why is that? Manuel: "I guess I'm tired of talking about it because we want to win every game. What happens is our fans tend to overemphasize one versus the other. "I absolutely hate when people say, 'We could lose every game and beat Ohio State.' No, we couldn't. "Jim, more than anybody — or as much as anybody — understands the need to win, and to win every game, and to win against our rivals. That's what he's working to do every day. "He's been great at managing all as- pects of the football program, and I'm proud that he's our coach. I'll continue to be proud of him as he drives the suc- cess of our program." The Wolverine: People will proba- bly judge the wisdom of adding Notre Dame to the middle of the Big Ten Q&A: Warde Manuel Michigan's Director Of Athletics Talks Football, Basketball And More Manuel is proud that Michigan finished second in the Learfield IMG Directors' Cup, an annual all-sports national competition, and was named the No. 1 athletic department in the country by CBS Sports this past year. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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