Jim Hackett hasn't thought about his own future at UM

The Detroit News

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett shared the stage with new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, introduced Tuesday at a news conference, but Hackett remained in the background, out of the limelight, which he seems to prefer.

Hackett didn't field questions at the news conference, but he did appear briefly on the "Rich Eisen Show" on Tuesday and discussed when he first contacted Harbaugh, when they first met in person and whether his future includes becoming the permanent athletic director.

Eisen, a Michigan alum, asked Hackett when he had his first face-to-face meeting with Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback who spent the last four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

"Yesterday," Hackett said, referring to Monday, the day Harbaugh and his family flew in to southeast Michigan.

Eisen expressed astonishment and asked Hackett if he ever worried whether he would land Harbaugh, his No. 1 target in the search to find a replacement for coach Brady Hoke, fired earlier this month.

"I put a lot of time into thinking through every part of this," said Hackett, a former Michigan football player and CEO of Steelcase. "Business has a way of doing these things. Frankly, the best insight I can give you, we bonded very quickly, not around him being coach but the future of the program. It was such a simple decision from that to say, 'You're the head coach.'"

Hackett was asked when he first reached out to Harbaugh.

"Just a few weeks ago," Hackett said. "One of the great things I learned about Jim, which I could read everything I needed to and talked to lots of people, he's so respectful of … the people he worked for that he didn't want to in an insincere way start talking to Michigan until he was done with his assignment. So I thought as a future employer, I loved that about this guy."

Harbaugh is happy about the support the football program has from the athletic department, Hackett said. Harbaugh currently is shaping his staff.

"We're in a room right now budgeting for the assistant coaches and all that," Hackett said Tuesday. "We're in great shape. He feels really good about the commitment by the University of Michigan."

Regarding his own future, Hackett didn't share much of an update.

Hackett was appointed interim athletic director by university president Mark Schlissel on Oct. 31, and he was asked if he will become the permanent athletic director.

"To be really candid, I haven't had time to think about that," Hackett said. "The reason for that is this: I thought my first assignment was about getting this done (hiring a football coach), and I have a couple other issues, and then one day I'm going to sit down with the president and talk about both of our interests in that."