UM's Hackett donating half of his salary to university

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett's duties are coming to a close, but he said he's as busy today as he's been during his action-packed 15 months on the job.

Jim Hackett

In an interview with The Detroit News at halftime of Wednesday's Minnesota-Michigan game at Crisler Center, Hackett said he's working on future football schedules, finalizing the details of the $169-million Nike contract and finishing up the long-term contract for football coach Jim Harbaugh.

"About done," Hackett said of the Harbaugh pact, which originally was for seven years and about $5.7 million annually. "We should have news on that soon.

"I've been busier this last month than I have ever been and it's not because of the closing of the job."

Hackett, the former Steelcase CEO and Michigan football player, took over athletic director duties after Dave Brandon was let go.

Michigan recently put together an eight-member search committee for his full-time replacement. Hackett is on the committee but has no interest in assuming the job full-time.

He's also not itching to leave the job, so he said there'd be no rush.

"You know, I'm actually more concerned about quality. Because of my life, I've got time to do this right," Hackett said. "We're under kind of an umbrella of confidentiality just to protect everyone's anonymity in the process, that are candidates, but (the search) is going well."

Hackett made a $600,000 salary in his interim role, which has been quite busy, considering he hired Harbaugh, got the Nike deal done, and extended basketball coach John Beilein's contract.

Wednesday, Hackett announced he and his wife, Kathy, decided to donate half of his salary back to the university, appropriating the funds to a program called, "Athletes Connected."

The program works with athletes suffering from depression.

"It's not immune to affecting athletes, and so the stigma of it is unfair," Hackett said. "Our university here has figured out the genetics of it; we're leading the country.

"We're trying to get the word out that it's not because you're weak."

Kathy Hackett started looking into the program, and recommended the donation, which was made in December.