Michigan interim AD Jim Hackett donates half his salary to ‘Athletes Connected’ program
By Nick Baumgardner
Jim Hackett’s biggest task during his time as Michigan’s interim athletic director was to fix the football program.
Last winter, many believe he did exactly that when he was able to convince Jim Harbaugh to return to Ann Arbor and coach the football team.
During his time in charge of the department, Hackett’s been working on a month-by-month basis designed by president Mark Schlissel. He was paid a salary $600,000 annually.
But Hackett insists his time in Ann Arbor hasn’t been about the money. In fact, he gave half of it back — or, more specifically, donated it to a cause he and his wife, Kathy, felt was important.
“I’m happy. Kathy and I gave back half our salary this year to the university,” Hackett said Wednesday night. “We gave it to the depression center, there’s a ‘Athletes Connected’ program.
“Kathy thought this was a really special thing for athletes. She was moved by that. It was her idea, and I thought ‘let’s do that.’ ”
Michigan’s “Athletes Connected” program is a wellness initiative that’s designed to support the mental health of student-athletes.
The program is designed to help student-athletes with a variety of issues related to their overall experience at Michigan.
Per The Michigan Daily, the program is a joint effort between Michigan’s athletic department, the School of Public Health and the university’s Depression Center. It was started with a $50,000 grant from the NCAA.
Hackett — who was officially appointed as Michigan’s interim athletic director on Oct. 30, 2014 — announced his plans to transition out of his role late last year. Since then, Hackett’s served on Michigan’s athletic director search committee — which is being led by Schlissel.
Hackett said Wednesday that the university doesn’t have a specific timetable when it comes to making a new hire, adding that Schlissel is more concerned on getting the right person for the job.
In the meantime, Hackett has continued his role as the day-to-day leader of Michigan’s athletic department.
He also said that he plans on staying on at the school for an extended period of time after the new AD is hired, as he wants to make himself available to the new hire to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.