Warde J. Manuel was named Michigan’s Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics on January 29, 2016. His five-year appointment became effective on March 14.
A three-time Michigan alumnus and two-sport athlete who played football under Bo Schembechler, Manuel returned to U-M following a nearly four-year run as director of athletics at the University of Connecticut.
Manuel became the director of athletics at the University of Connecticut in 2012. UConn teams won six NCAA national championships under Manuel’s leadership — the most ever by UConn teams in a three-year period. In 2014, UConn’s three national championship teams (field hockey and men’s and women’s basketball) all posted perfect 1,000 single-year scores in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR). In 2015, 13 UConn teams posted perfect single-year scores, marking a dramatic academic improvement at the school.
In 2015, Manuel was named NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America.
Prior to arriving in Connecticut, he led a 20-sport program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo from 2005 through 2012.
Born May 22, 1968, Manuel is a native of New Orleans. He was a high school All-America football player and played for U-M under Schembechler. He earned multiple letters and started at defensive end in his sophomore year. Manuel earned his bachelor of general studies with a focus in psychology in 1990, his master’s degree in social work from U-M in 1993 and an MBA from U-M’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business in 2005.
After graduating from U-M, he was coordinator of U-M’s Wade H. McCree Jr. Incentive Scholarship Program from 1990 to 1993.
He subsequently worked briefly as an academic advisor with the Georgia Tech Athletic Association before being named assistant athletic director of academic affairs. Afterward, Manuel served in several roles within Michigan’s athletic department from 1996-2005. In 2000 he was named associate athletic director with oversight responsibility for operational facets of the university’s athletic program. He also oversaw Michigan’s football and men’s basketball programs.
Manuel, and his wife, Chrislan, a U-M alum who earned a master of health services administration degree in 1993, have a daughter, Emma, and a son, Evan.