Dave Brandon is no longer the athletic director at the University of Michigan because he couldn’t stay out of his own way.
Regardless of what went on in Michigan athletics, Brandon was always front and center, letting the world know it was a Dave Brandon production.
His micromanaging style, along with his massive house cleaning of longtime athletic-department employees, created an environment of paranoia and fear.
"If Dave laughed, you laughed; if Dave didn’t laugh, you kept your mouth shut," was how one current athletic-department employee described what it was like to work under Brandon’s regime. "You never really knew what our mandate was because Dave wanted to control it all."
Certainly, now that Brandon has resigned, the horrors of a Brandon administration will come out of the woodwork.
Although much of it likely will have merit, Brandon’s biggest miscues were trying to manufacture tradition and the way he treated people.
Legacy jerseys, several different football uniforms, ticket-price increases, open-student seating, and either a deaf ear or a vindictive backlash toward his critics resulted in Brandon became the most polarizing figure in the history of Michigan athletics.
I always thought that Brandon wanted to be what he never was when he was a Michigan student-athlete: the big man on campus.
My feeling was that Michigan athletics were going to drastically change under his leadership, because maintaining the status quo wouldn’t have created the long-lasting "Brandon" imprint he so desired.
Unfortunately for Brandon, Michigan is a slow moving machine, and its tradition is sacred and not to be toyed with.