The Wolverine

April 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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APRIL 2021 THE WOLVERINE 9 BY AUSTIN FOX O n Feb. 18, the University of Michigan announced a five-year contract extension for director of athletics Warde Man- uel, with the move having been recommended by U-M President Mark Schlissel and then subse- quently approved by the Board of Regents. The extension will keep Man- uel in Ann Arbor through June 30, 2026, and increased his sal- ary to $1.1 million with the po- tential addition of $150,000 each year via incentives. His previous salary was $940,500 following a 10 percent pay cut last summer due to the financial devastation of the coronavirus. Manuel has held his cur- rent position with the Maize and Blue since 2016, and is just the 12th director of athletics in Michigan history. "I am pleased to recommend the reappointment of Warde Man- uel as the Donald R. Shepherd director of intercollegiate athletics," Schlissel said upon the school's announcement. "With the support of Mr. Manuel's leadership as the athletics director, Michigan athletics has excelled in the classroom and on the fields of play." With Manuel at the helm, U-M set an athletic department record in the 2020 NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report with a four-year aver- age GSR of 94 percent. Additionally, 15 of the school's 25 varsity athletic programs earned perfect GSR scores. A school-record 405 athletes were also recognized in the 2019-20 aca- demic year as Academic All-Big Ten honorees, an award presented to student-athletes who possess a cu- mulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. The on-the-field results have been impressive as well during Manuel's tenure. In 2019, Michigan garnered a second-place national finish in the Na- tional Association of Collegiate Direc- tors of Athletics Directors' Cup, which tied the highest ranking ever for U-M. Manuel's move that has perhaps best resonated with Wolverine fans, however, was his hiring of current men's basketball head coach Juwan Howard on May 22, 2019. Howard's Maize and Blue club won the outright Big Ten regular-season championship this season, in just his second year on the job. The title was the 15th of its kind for the men's basketball program and first since John Beilein's team achieved the feat in 2014. "The most impressive part has been seeing how much Ju- wan wants to grow in the role of a head coach," Manuel told reporters March 9. "His love of the university was there from the first moment at that [intro- ductory] press conference, and that's not going to change. "Juwan's willingness to con- tinue to learn has been the big- gest thing I've seen in the last two years. When you hire some- one, you don't know how much they'll engage in that aspect, but he's always thirsting for more knowledge from people." Manuel also hired Mel Pear- son from Michigan Tech in 2017 to lead U-M's ice hockey pro- gram following the retirement of longtime head coach Red Beren- son (who had held the position since 1984). Pearson guided the Wolver- ines to the 2017-18 NCAA Frozen Four in his first year on the job. The U-M director of athletics also negotiated a contract extension with head football coach Jim Harbaugh this past January that will keep the latter in Ann Arbor through 2026. "Jim is always thinking about how the team can be better, no matter the outcome of the season," Manuel told the media March 9 while discussing Harbaugh's contract extension. "I've been very proud of the work he's done with the staff he's put together — some of it is new and some is consistent. "I'm excited about what I'm hearing from him [this spring], and the level of excitement and engagement from the student-athletes and staff." ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Michigan Director Of Athletics Warde Manuel Receives A Five-Year Extension With Manuel at the helm, U-M set an athletic department record in the 2020 NCAA Graduation Success Rate report with a four-year average GSR of 94 percent. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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