May 3, 2005

Donald Burrell (Don) Canham

May 3, 2005
U of M Athletic Administration
U of M Athletic Director (1968 - 1988)
U of M Athletic Hall of Honor
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics
Track & Field Athlete (1940 - 1941)
U of M Track & Field All American
U of M Track & Field Coach (1949 - 1968)

Donald Burrell “Don” Canham

University of Michigan Track Athlete (1939 – 1941)
University of Michigan Track Coach (1949 – 1968)
University of Michigan Athletic Director (1968 – 1988)

Don Canham was born in Chicago, Illinois and had a successful high school track and field career at Oak Park High School in Oak Park, Illinois. Canham went on to attend the University of Michigan winning the 1940 NCAA Championship in the high jump and serving as team captain. After graduation he served in the U.S. Air Force for four years (1942 to 1946) during World War II. After his release, he returned to his alma mater as assistant track and field coach and was named head coach in 1949. He would go on to coach the track team for the next 19 seasons, where his teams would win eleven Big Ten Championships, (seven indoor and four outdoor). Canham’s biggest influence however, was that of Athletic Director (AD) as he combined his business and marketing skills to re-define the role of Athletic Director in today’s collegiate world. During Canham’s 20-year tenure as AD, he turned the University of Michigan’s athletic department into a model of efficiency and profitability. After his retirement, the University's Natatorium was renamed in his honor. Don Canham was inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor in 1987, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 1988 and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. He passed away on May 3, 2005 at 87 years of age.