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Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel signs five-year contract extension

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, who recently negotiated a contract extension for Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, has signed his own contract extension.

Manuel, 52, signed the five-year contract earlier this month, a source told The Detroit News. The details of the contract, which will take him through June 30, 2026, are expected to be announced during the Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, and sources indicated he has the full support of University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel and the Board of Regents.

Warde Manuel

Financial terms aren't yet known, but his contract is on the Regents meeting agenda for Thursday as submitted by Schlissel.

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"I am pleased to recommend the reappointment of Warde Manuel ... effective March 14, 2021 through June 30, 2026," Schlissel wrote in the Regents communication released Monday.

His original contract with a base salary of $800,000 was signed in 2016 and was set to expire March 13, 2021. Manuel also received a “one-time recruitment incentive” of $250,000. Manuel made $940,500 last year but took a voluntary 5% pay cut in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic and then in June, increased the pay cut to 10%.

Manuel has tended to stay out of the public eye during his first five years at Michigan and doesn't participate in many news conferences or interviews. He initially did not rush to pursue conversations about a contract extension, he told The News, because he thought his original deal ended in June. He said he and Schlissel have have had "great conversations" all along regarding a contract extension.

"I'm happy to be here," Manuel told The News regarding his new contract. Manuel is a former Michigan football player whose career ended early because of injury. He has three degrees from Michigan — a bachelor's in general studies, an MBA and master's degree in social work.

Manuel has navigated the athletic department through the COVID-19 pandemic and since last December worked to finalize an extension for Harbaugh, whose original seven-year contract was set to expire after the 2021 season.

Last year, Manuel said the athletic department projects at least $80 million in losses because of the pandemic. He had to lay off 21 individuals in the athletic department last summer and 15 positions were left unfilled. More recently, Michigan athletics are coming off a two-week pause because of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services concerns regarding the presence of the UK variant of COVID-19 found in positive tests of at least two Michigan athletes.

Twitter: @chengelis