According to ESPN's Andy Katz, University of Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel is poised to become the next man in charge of the athletic department at the University of Michigan. Manuel, a Michigan alum, will leave UConn after taking the job back in 2012.
In getting Manuel, Michigan gets an athletic director directly responsible for helping to build a national champion in basketball. Following the retirement of Jim Calhoun in 2012, Manuel, new on the job after being hired away from the University of Buffalo, named assistant coach Kevin Ollie, a former guard for the several teams in the NBA, as the head coach. UConn won the national championship two years later in 2014.
Brad Bates had been a candidate for the Michigan job according to several reports.
There's a natural analysis that gets done of Bates when these conversations arise. As BC's athletic director, he's had both positives and negatives. Along with the new video boards at Alumni Stadium, he's instituted various game day measures to help improve the fan experience, including Brighton campus tailgating and a stated measure to expand tailgating onto O'Neill Plaza similar to The Grove at Mississippi State.
He's also begun the process of getting BC out of its scheduling quagmire. As we're finding out, scheduling works well into the future. Handed a tough slate of schedules, he's begun the process of putting together a schedule with at least one Power Five team on it beginning next season, as was a stated goal. Adding Purdue might not sizzle the same way as a Florida, Alabama, or Texas, but with a limited amount of non-conference games to work with, it's at least taking a step in the right direction.
Unlike Manuel, however, the jury is out on if Bates' coaching hires are knocked out of the park. Manuel is given credit for hiring both Ollie and football coach Bob Diaco. Although football struggled in Storrs in his first year, Diaco's team went .500 last season to qualify for a bowl game. Most notably, the Huskies defeated 20th-ranked Houston at home to become bowl eligible. Plus the basketball team has a national championship to its credit in 2014, something that instantly puts them in elite company.
Meanwhile, Boston College continues to slog through muddy waters during one of its toughest years ever. The football team went 3-9 and was winless in the ACC, while the basketball team is now 0-7 in league play after losing to Florida State. While the depth of the rebuilding process is being shown to be deeper than most of us imagined, the initial success of football's two bowl berths has been tempered by a trying season where the Eagles were one of the worst offensive teams in the nation. Their defense, top-ranked, ironically already lost its defensive coordinator to Michigan.
While Manuel's hire ultimately has no impact on Boston College, it's always a good time to take stock of what Bates has accomplished while at the same time finding criticisms. There's an oft-stated quote from President John F. Kennedy that "success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan." There's a natural tendency to point out failures. But in the end, maybe this is a blessing in disguise that Bates isn't leaving, that he can see the job through to completion in Chestnut Hill.