The University Record, August 14, 2000

Martin to lead athletics; coaches and staff ‘like his style’

By Theresa Maddix

William C. Martin was named director (AD) of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for a five-year term, pending approval by the Board of Regents. Martin, who served as interim director since March 6, reversed his earlier decision not to be a candidate for the permanent AD position at a dinner meeting with President Lee C. Bollinger.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have someone with Bill’s management experience, understanding of sports and business credentials willing to accept this important responsibility,” Bollinger said. “He has exhibited the leadership and vision necessary to see the department through its budgetary challenges while maintaining the athletic and academic excellence that is our tradition and aspiration.

“The search committee’s work has been very important to this process,” the president said. “They did just what I asked them to do, thinking deeply about the needs of the Athletic Department and looking broadly at all possible candidates. They presented to me three very strong finalists. However, they served in an advisory capacity to me and in the end, the decision was mine. I could not make this appointment with the confidence that I have if not for the committee’s terrific work.”

A 17-member search committee chaired by Professor James S. Jackson presented the names of three finalists to Bollinger. Martin, who initially indicated he was not a candidate, was not among the finalists. Bollinger said he met with the three finalists and carefully considered each candidate, but came to the conclusion that Martin was the best person for the job.

“This is a position I didn’t expect to have a couple of weeks ago,” Martin said. “All the coaches got together and put a petition in, followed by the staff, saying ‘Bill, stay.’ That personally stunned me. I paused and reflected, and said if these folks want me that bad, maybe I better take a hard look at this.

“The other factors that were involved in my decision were that my business that I started 31 years ago is getting along just fine without me,” he said. Martin founded First Martin Corp., a diversified real estate construction, development and management firm that has developed 35 major office, commercial, industrial and residential projects in Ann Arbor.

“And the third factor was, basically and succinctly, I got a note from home. Sally, my wife, said [to] go ahead and do it. She knew it was coming. I think that this is an outstanding place, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Softball coach Carol Hutchins said about the petition, “The coaches really felt that Bollinger had hit a home run with Martin as the interim. He had come in and had a great grasp of intercollegiate and Michigan athletics. We liked his leadership style and felt he could really help this department. We’re a people business and we need great people with great people skills.”

Hutchins, who led her team to a 45-16-1 record and a Big Ten Conference championship this past spring, described department morale as “pretty darn good.” When the announcement came that Martin had been chosen, “the room erupted and everyone went walking around with smiles on their faces,” she said.

Hockey coach Red Berenson praised Martin’s people skills and quickness to communicate. “He doesn’t have an agenda,” Berenson said.

An avid sailor, Martin is president of the United States Sailing Foundation. He also has been on the board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee since 1995 and has served on its budget committee.