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UM Regents expected to discuss Jim Hackett at meeting

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett and a proposed upgrade for Yost Ice Arena are among the topics expected to be discussed by the University of Michigan Regents during a regularly scheduled meeting this week.

Hackett was formally introduced as the interim AD on Oct. 31 when former athletic director Dave Brandon's resignation was announced.

Michigan president Mark Schlissel is seeking Regents approval of Hackett's appointment during Thursday's meeting, according to the meeting schedule. Michigan recently released Hackett's contract, which will pay him $600,000. He is a former Michigan football player and CEO of Steelcase.

The athletic department also is seeking approval of a $5.8 million upgrade of the Yost ice rink floor and refrigeration system. Funding for the project will come from athletic department resources, and construction is expected to be completed by next summer.

Also included in Thursday's agenda is a report from Central Student Government. In a letter submitted by CSG president Bobby Dishell, he indicated the hope for "ample student representation" on the search committee for the next athletic director. He said CSG will survey students to find out what they want to see in the next athletic director and potential changes in the athletic department.

Staying in touch

Hackett has kept a low profile since being named as interim athletic director, but in an email letter to "donors, student-athlete alumni and friends" sent Tuesday morning, he wrote of his commitment to identifying a permanent athletic director.

"One that will no doubt preserve and enhance the qualities that make U-M a leader in academics and athletics," Hackett wrote. "I value your input and will serve you by ensuring the future of Michigan Athletics is in capable and skilled hands. Furthermore, I see my role as an opportunity to give back to a university that has given me so much."

Last Thursday while in Grand Rapids to receive an award, Hackett spoke to WOOD-TV and said he will evaluate Michigan football coach Brady Hoke and the program after the season.

"Brady's a man of extreme integrity," Hackett told the television station. "And he knows more than any of us that we're not performing at the level we should as a Michigan program."