Brandon's Blog: Champions Also Signed in the Offseason
John Beilein

July 20, 2013

University of Michigan director of athletics Dave Brandon will regularly offer his view on a variety of topics related to U-M and intercollegiate sports. All his posts, along with links to related content, will be available on his page,, and he is also on Twitter at @DaveBrandonAD.

The old cliché is true: Champions are made in the offseason. The added work, conditioning and preparation for an upcoming season does make a difference.

As an administrator, the offseason is also a time to work, plan and to ensure we are doing everything possible to provide our teams the leadership and infrastructure they need to win championships. And this past week, the University of Michigan made two major moves to do just that ...

First, we signed Jerry Clayton to our athletic department team as our new men's track and field head coach. Then, we extended the contract of John Beilein our men's basketball coach.

The signing of these two coaches might seem dissimilar, but in reality these decisions are totally consistent with our strategic vision and the type of individuals we want to recruit and retain.

Clayton and Beilein have a history of coaching success in competition, but it is the way they have won that makes these men the type of coaches we want at Michigan.

They not only win championships in sports, they are teachers of life skills.

Jerry Clayton

If Clayton remained an assistant coach at Auburn for another 15 years ... or Beilein would have stayed as the head coach at LeMoyne for his entire career ... these two men still would have been happy with their coaching careers.

They love their sports, they love their jobs, and they love their student-athletes.

That doesn't mean they aren't driven, but what drives them is not necessarily getting to "their" next level, it is getting their student-athletes and their programs to the next level.

And to get to the next level, these coaches have to not only understand their sport; they have to understand their student-athletes.

While so much of this sounds 'cliché like' it remains important for coaches to have these qualities. Many in the coaching profession do -- while some don't!

So, what do we specifically look for when we bring coaches to Michigan Athletics? We are constantly reminded of our Guiding Principles:

- We demand integrity
- We create positive academic and athletic experiences for our student-athletes and prepare them to be successful in life
- We all work hard to win championships
- We create a 'WOW' experiences for our student-athletes, fans, and department team members
- We respect our traditions while also believing that change is good

Beilein believes in and practices these guiding principles; we have seen that first hand. Clayton received high praise from fellow coaches, student-athletes, and administrators when these ideals were brought forth during his interviewing and vetting process.

And when anyone mentions 'The Team, The Team, The Team' at Michigan Athletics, they need to know it is Guiding Principle No. 8 and they must know who said it and what it really means to us.

This is the essence of finding and retaining coaches who are among the Leaders and Best. Welcome to Jerry ... and congratulations to John on his well-deserved contract extension.

Go Blue!

Dave Brandon Home Page
Clayton Named Next Michigan Head Coach - July 15, 2013
U-M Agrees to Extend Beilein's Contract - July 17, 2013