- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Michigan athletic director Bill Martin announced Wednesday that he will retire on Sept. 4, 2010, after running the department for a decade.
Martin made things official earlier Wednesday when he sent a letter to university president Mary Sue Coleman and informed the athletic department of his intentions at an all-staff meeting. He has been Michigan's athletic director since Aug. 1, 2000, after serving in an interim role for four months.
In a statement, Coleman said that Martin has been interested in retiring for some time but will stay on through the completion of the Michigan Stadium renovation, which he has overseen. Martin will remain athletic director until his successor is named and then serve as a special adviser to Coleman until his retirement.
"For nearly a decade, Bill has shown truly outstanding leadership as athletic director at the University of Michigan," Coleman's statement reads. "He has not only done a superb job of attracting top coaches for the full range of Michigan sports, but he has also assembled an excellent management team to oversee all aspects of athletics operations. At the same time, he has firmly established athletics as a financially strong and self-supporting department while guiding the renovation and expansion of most of our major sports facilities."
Martin will retire on the same day Michigan opens the 2010 season against Connecticut in the renovated stadium.
Martin made strides in fundraising and facilities improvement, culminating with the Michigan Stadium makeover. He struggled to stabilize the men's basketball program until bringing in John Beilein from West Virginia, and many blamed him for bungling a possible Les Miles hire after football coach Lloyd Carr retired after the 2007 season. Martin eventually hired Rich Rodriguez, who has drawn mixed reviews after making several key changes to the program culture.
It will be interesting to see which direction Coleman goes for Martin's successor. There are enough high-level athletic administrators out there with ties to Michigan, including Arkansas AD Jeff Long, Buffalo AD Warde Manuel and Oregon State AD Bob De Carolis. One name sure to come up and generate tons of attention is Carr. Michigan also could go the lawyer-alum route like Notre Dame and Indiana recently did.
I'm very interested to hear what Rodriguez has to say about the announcement.