The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2022 THE WOLVERINE 23 games where they struggled, and it was good. "They played against competition that was very good. They played very well in the second game. He was very pleased with what he saw. Now we're in the eight-hour time frame, working out on the court, and now they start full practice. I'm very impressed with what he's done. "As impressive, if not more impressive, based on our history, is what Kim is do- ing — in recruiting, what this team did the past couple of years and the success that she's driving. It has been an unbelievable thing of beauty to watch. She's kept that team almost 100 percent intact. "We haven't had the transfers out, the transfers in and having to go in the portal. She's doing great in recruiting, landing the highest-ranked recruit ever at Michi- gan this year. I want to acknowledge how impressive she's been." TW: To what extent has the Michigan athletics department recovered from the devastation of the COVID setbacks? WM: "I have a great CFO [chief fi- nancial officer] in Andra Krievs. We have great staff, great coaches, great student-athletes who pulled together. I give a lot of credit to my sport adminis- trators and my head coaches. "During COVID, they banded to- gether and found ways to continue to drive success, but they really did a great job of limiting the expenditures and cutting back on things we want, and we normally give, but are not needed. "We had projected an $80 million deficit. We ended up coming in at $51 million. We had some reserves that ap- plied to that, which knocked it down significantly. "But what happened last year is, our fans came back. I give our fans and our donors, particularly, credit through- out COVID for offsetting some of the things. We could continue to invest in our students and provide direct support through things we didn't have to cut back or could add, like meals. "They were tremendous during CO- VID. But our fans and our donors in general, last year, came through." TW: What are the biggest challenges ahead, and what are you most excited about? WM: "It's all wrapped into the same thing, the challenges and what I'm ex- cited about. The challenge here is always maintaining the level of success. And what excites me is that we have the challenge to maintain the high level of success. "It's not because we wish it would hap- pen, or we put it down on paper, but be- cause we have the student-athletes and the staff to drive that high level of success. That makes me happy and excites me. "The biggest challenge at Michigan will always be to have great success. I put that sign up: 'You don't come to Michigan for easy. You come to Michigan for excellence.' That was by one of our great swimmers, a few years ago. She said that to a recruit. "It just resonated with me. But that's Michigan. The challenge is always there to strive for excellence. But the benefit is, we strive for excellence and we have success. That's the beauty of what we do. "All of this is unbelievably great, when you look at what the kids and the coaches and the staff have done on the fields of play. But when I can combine that with what we do in the classroom, and who these kids are as young people? I've got the greatest job ever. "My challenges? I wake up every day, trying to be the best that I can be, and have us be the best that we can be, because these young people are doing that every day. You can't ask for anything more than the opportunity to have success, and the challenges you have to overcome in order to do that. "I love it. I love what I do. My chal- lenges, compared to what many deal with in jobs and in life? I just smile. I enjoy it so much, because we have so many great people here, great fans and great support, a great board. "[Outgoing President] Mary Sue [Cole- man] is awesome. Santa's going to be awe- some. All the presidents I've worked with, all the executive officers and the support here. "You guys in the media are great to deal with. Everybody is looking for it to be the best, even in that sense. "I feel great about it." ❏ Manuel is highly impressed with what U-M women's basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico is doing in recruiting, and building the program and a culture of winning, as evidenced by the team's trip to the NCAA Elite Eight last season. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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