Martin to Retire From U-M Athletic Director Post Sept. 4, 2010

Oct. 21, 2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan Director of Athletics Bill Martin has announced that he will retire from his position on Sept. 4, 2010. Martin made the date official this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 21), sending a letter to U-M President Mary Sue Coleman, and then informed the athletic department staff at an all-staff meeting at Cliff Keen Arena.

Martin took over the reins as Director of Athletics officially on Aug. 1, 2000. On March 6 of the same year, he was named interim athletic director by then President Lee Bollinger, replacing Tom Goss. At that time, he was initially given a five-year appointment and announced that his first-year salary was to be donated back to the Michigan Athletic Department.

Since 2000-01, Martin's first full academic year as director of athletics, through 2008-09, Michigan teams won 72 conference regular-season or tournament championships, with a high of 11 titles in 2003-04 and eight apiece in 2004-05 and 2007-08. The Wolverines recorded 35 top-five national finishes during that same span, highlighted by eight top-fives in 2003-04.

During Martin's tenure, U-M claimed two national championships, with field hockey in 2001 earning the school's first national title in a women's team sport and softball winning the 2005 NCAA Women's College World Series.

Martin was the recipient of the 2008 Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award in recognition of his support and the development of programs that promote student-athlete welfare, helping them become well-rounded students and citizens. In April 2005, he received the United States Olympic Committee General Douglas MacArthur Award, the organization's highest award, honoring his leadership as acting president of the USOC (Feb. 2003-June 2004). He also received the 2005 Humanitarian Award from the Jewish Federation of Washtenaw County, its highest honor, and was named the 2000 Ann Arbor News Citizen of the Year for his service and contributions to the community.

An avid sailor, Martin served as president of the United States Sailing Association, the national governing body of the sport, from 1988-91. In 2003, he was awarded the Nathaniel G. Heereshoff Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing in the United States.

Martin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962 from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and a graduate degree in economics from the University of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1963. He received his Master's in Business Administration from Michigan in 1965. Martin was a member of the board of directors of Wittenberg from 1994-2007. He and his wife, Sally, reside in Ann Arbor and have two sons, Seth and Michael. They have one grandson, William Declan, and welcomed granddaughters Cate and Reese this past summer.

Statement from U-M President Mary Sue Coleman on Bill Martin's Retirement

This morning, Bill Martin sent me a letter announcing his intention to retire on September 4, 2010. For nearly a decade, Bill has shown truly outstanding leadership as Athletic Director at the University of Michigan. 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.

Bill is a great partner, and it has been a joy to work with him. Although he has been interested in retiring for some time now, I am pleased that I was able to convince him to stay with us long enough to ensure that the renovation of our football stadium would be successful and on time. That end is now in clear sight. He has agreed to remain as Athletic Director until his successor is on board, at which point he will serve as a special advisor to me until retiring from the University in September.

I will personally oversee the search for the next Athletic Director with the help of a small advisory group. We expect this process will take a number of months. With this advance notice, we have the opportunity to make a thoughtful and deliberate choice and to manage a smooth transition.

Martin's Letter to Coleman (PDF)

Other Statements

U-M Head Football Coach Rich Rodriguez
Comments from Oct. 21 press conference: Video

U-M Head Men's Basketball Coach John Beilein
Bill's commitment and positive support for our program's transition since the day I arrived has been remarkable. The persistent dedication he has continued to show in getting our new Player Development Center off the ground has taken a tremendous effort and we are very appreciative for that. We are saddened with his announcement today, however we are truly happy he has reached this point in his life. He has accomplished so much in Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan and throughout his career, we know he will enjoy this much deserved time with his family.

Senior Athletic Director and Former Head Football Coach Lloyd Carr
In 2000 when Bill Martin became the athletic director at Michigan, we were well behind our peers from a facilities standpoint. Today, we are at the forefront and the monumental changes that Bill and his team have orchestrated have positioned Michigan Athletics in excellent position for decades to come.

The athletic campus is not Bill's only legacy but it will be an enduring legacy. Every coach and student-athlete who compete here in the future and all Michigan fans will benefit from Bill Martin's vision and hard work. Personally, I have much admiration for the dramatic improvements at Michigan Stadium and the efforts in pushing forward on the Al Glick Field House. I join the many in expressing our appreciation and gratitude.

Contact: Bruce Madej (734) 763-4423