Fail! Fail! To Michigan’s Old AD Dave Brandon


Do you get the headline? Huh? It makes more sense if you sing it to the tune of Michigan’s fight song, “The Victors.”

When we last checked in on Dave Brandon, the qualifier “former” was not attached to his title of Michigan athletic director, and the one-time head of Domino’s Pizza was offering a dismissive response to then-Wolverines football coach Brady Hoke allowing quarterback Shane Morris to play with an apparent concussion.

Despite protests that asking Dave Brandon to step down were “hurtful,” from Dave Brandon himself, he was ousted just a few weeks later.

Hurt as he may have been, Brandon — $3 million richer thanks to his Michigan buyout — landed another C-level role just seven months later, heading Toys-R-Us.

Now, brick-and-mortar retailers struggled long before Dave Brandon was tabbed CEO of Toys-R-Us. Online shopping services, namely Amazon, have decimated the marketplace. Even before Amazon muscled out a variety of chains across the wide spectrum of interests, toy stores struggled to keep pace with big-box outlets like Target. One-time Toys-R-Us competitor KB Toys began to wilt in the early 2000s, and closed down entirely in 2009.

Perhaps Brandon merely boarded a sinking ship, as the company’s last reported profitable year came in 2012. Not a bad time to do so: Just two years after his hire, Toys-R-Us filed for bankruptcy and immediately sought permission to pay bonuses of $16 million to the company’s top executives.

Added to his Michigan buyout, Dave Brandon is making out like one-time Wolverines rival Charlie Weis.

While there’s an absurdity to this story one cannot help but find dark humor in, the sad reality is that Toys-R-Us potentially liquidating could result in tens-of-thousands of employees losing their jobs.

It’s difficult to envision a scenario in which a successor arrives to lure a Jim Harbaugh into the fold. Between the various missteps with Michigan athletics and Toys-R-Us, Dave Brandon’s post-Domino’s career puts him in league with Jim Herd for former pizza executives who struggled in a form of sports.

And even Domino’s, which boasted a “turnaround” upon Brandon’s exit for Michigan in 2009, long had a reputation for making awful pizza.

It’s 2018, so of course there’s a Trump connection.