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6A - Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

6A - Thursday, December 1, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR INTERVIEW
Q&A with Dave Brandon

Burns out after 12 years

TIM ROHAN for all of the interviews that I
Daily Sports Editor did. I got to the end of the inter-
view, shook hands and he left.
He's the man who handpicked And I sat there and I added up all
the newly minted Big Ten Coach my points, to put in the far right
of the Year, directing a Michi- column, kind of the total point
gan football program out of the rating that he got on the inter-
mediocrity view. And I added them all up
experienced Michigan Daily and I had to do it twice because I
during the EXCLUSIVE thought I had miscalculated. The
Rich Rodri- number was so high, I thought,
guez era into a new age of Michi- 'This can't be right.' And I went
gan football. back and I added them again. It
He played for Bo Schem- was right.
bechler and longed to return At that moment, I just knew
the Wolverines to success tasted this was a very special guy who
under one of Michigan's great- was very specially - he was very
est. uniquely positioned to come here
He also chest bumps the start- and do what needed to done."
ing defensive end after marquee TMD: What 'needed to be
wins. done' about the football pro-
Michigan Athletic Director gram?
Dave Brandon sat down with the Brandon: Let's face it. We've
Daily on Wednesday to discuss gone through a three-year peri-
the state of the program and how od of time where we were trying
Hoke saved the day, among other to outscore everybody. We were
topics. playing horrible defense. And for
Here are some excerpts from Michigan to be 109th out of 120
the interview. FBS schools in defense is just
The Michigan Daily: When inconceivable. But, that's where
did you buy into Hoke? In the we were. And Brady's back-
interview process, was there a ground as a defensive coach and
moment you said, 'This is the guy his commitment to being a strong
I want?' defensive coach and team was
Dave Brandon: Yeah, really, just what the doctor ordered.
there was. I intended to spend a And Brady had a track record
couple of hours with him. I had for turning around programs.
never met him. I intended to do You know, I took a lot of flak
a two-hour block. At some point because people kept looking at
I looked down at my watch and his career win-loss record. What
went, 'My God, its been three- they failed to look at was, he was
and-a-half hours.' invariably brought in as the guy
And it was really as a result to take over a really broken pro-
of the fact that it seemed every gram and turn it around. Typi-
issue and every area that I want- cally, that's not going to happen
ed to delve into, I was just so in one season. What he did at
impressed with his responses, Ball State, and what he did at San
his fit, the way he thought, the Diego State, the more I dug into
way he approached communicat- it, the more impressed I was.
ing, his philosophy towards kids Last but not least, I talked
and football and Michigan. to a lot of guys who played for
It just, at the end - and I think him, not just here but Ball State
I spent about five hours with the and San Diego State. I talked to
guy - at the end of it, I had a coaches who had coached with
matrix, kind of a scoring system him. And I talked to coaches who

had coached against him. And
the themes that came from those
conversations were always the
same: about tough, disciplined
players loved to play for him.
Fair. Respectful. Words that
you just really want to hear as it
relates to the head-coaching job
at Michigan.
TMD: We've seen your chest
bump with Ryan Van Bergen.
Who started it? How often
do you do it? What's the story
behind the chest bump?
Brandon: Well, let me tell you
the story of the chest bump. The
night game, at the end, when it
looked like all was lost and we
scored that touchdown. The
sidelines just erupted it was just
incredible. And Ryan, who is a
very emotional guy, what hap-
pened was I was jumping around
and kind of shaking hands
and hugging people and I turn
around just in time to see him
coming at me.
So it was a sneak-attack chest
bump.
So he came at me to chest
bump me and I don't even know
if I got off the ground because
he kind of startled me. I'm there
in my coat and tie. Then I had
this big hulk of a football player
jumping at me.
So that week, somebody had
noticed this and asked him about
it. He basically said my chest
bumping was kind of rusty and
unimpressive. So the next time I
saw him, I said, 'Hey, I saw what
you said, and the next time, I
want you to know I'm practicing
and I'll be ready.'
So there have been two or
three magic moments this sea-
son, including at the end of the
Ohio game, where our eyes met
and pretty soon we went, 'Yeah,
it's time.' And I just want you to
know, I'm just worried I'm going
to hurt him.
I've got to be careful I don't
hurt him (laughs).

STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
Twelve seasons since the
birth of the Michigan men's soc-
cer team, the program is going
in a different direction.
Michigan coach Steve Burns
announced his resignation on
Wednesday after 12 seasons
as head coach of the Wolver-
ines - that number is mislead-
ing, though, since Burns was
the Michigan club team's head
coach from 1992 until the pro-
gram earned varsity status in
2000.
"As a Michigan alum, I'm
proud of everything we've been
able to accomplish within the
soccer program," Burns said in
a statement released by the Ath-
letic Department.
"I will forever cherish the
relationships that I have devel-
oped over the past 12 years with
players, assistant coaches, sup-
port staff and fellow coaches
within the department. How-
ever, it's time for a new direc-
tion in my life and leadership for
Michigan soccer."
The team was notified of
Burns's resignation in a team
meeting on Wednesday.
"It's tough to digest at first,"
said redshirt junior goaltender
Tim Bergsma. "You don't real-
ly know how to take it. It was
quiet as everybody just wrapped
in their all the possibilities of
everything going on.
"We appreciate all he's done
for Michigan soccer, and we all
wish him the absolute best in all
he does."
Bergsma could not confirm
whether Burns was at the meet-
ing or if he told the team of his
resignation.
Burns compiled a 122-98-22
overall record during his tenure,
though the Wolverines were
coming off a 5-14-1 season and
first-round elimination in the
Big Ten Tournament.
"Our record wasn't what we
want and this year didn't go

0

6

Michiganmen's soccer coach Steve Burns announced his resignation on
Wednesday. In 2010, he led the Wolverines la the NCAA College Cup. -_-

how we hoped it would," Bergs-
ma said. "But that being said,
I can't speak on his behalf or
infer everything that went on
behind the scenes. I know he
loved this program and worked
really hard to get it to where it
was."
Burns brought soccer to the
forefront on campus in 2010
when his team, led by forwards
Justin Meram and Soony Saad,
christened the brand-new U-M
Soccer Complex with a pro-
gram-best 17-5-3 record, a Big
Ten Tournament title and a trip
to the NCAA College Cup.
But that season was only pos-
sible after Burns spearheaded a
campaign to build a stadium to
house both the men's and wom-
en's soccer teams in Ann Arbor.
Once he got that in 2010, players
came, fans came and so did the
wins.
Burns was named the NCAA
Division-I Coach of the Year by
FieldTurf and was a finalist for
the NSCAA National Coach of
the Year in 2010.
The Wolverines' downfall,
though, was their inability to
retain their star players. Meram
graduated and was drafted
in the first round of the MLS
SuperDraft by the Columbus
Crew. Saad - then only a fresh-

man - left following the season
and dabbled in European soc-
cer before being drafted by-thg.
Sporting KC of the MLSThe
final dagger was when stud
goaltender Chris Blais trans-
ferred to South Florida before
the 2011 season.
Expectations rose after the
College Cup run, but the bench
was depleted and Burns and
Michigan were unable to sus-
tain their success.
In total, Burns's 12 teams
produced 61 Academic All-Big
Ten honorees, 11 All-Big Ten
first-team nominations and 10
second-team all-conference
honors.
Three Wolverines - Saad,
Michael Holody and Knox Cam-
eron - were named NSCAA
All-Americans. Burns also won
back-to-back national champi-
onships with the club team in
1997-98.
"I've talked to a lot of alum-
ni, and everybody's all over the
board with it," Bergsma said.
"Everybody has that same feel-
ing that he's done a lot for this
program and we appreciate
everything he's done."
According to the Athletic
Department release, Michigan
will begin a search for Burns's
replacement immediately.

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