A tradition of excellence in every sport they compete in. A location in the middle of a massive state in one of the fastest-growing cities in America. The largest budget in all of college athletics. And a political hornet’s nest unlike anywhere else in the NCAA.
Though no one will admit it yet, that’s the situation one college administrator will walk into over the next few months when he or she becomes the next athletics director at the University of Texas.
Jim Vertuno of the Associated Press describes the situation engulfing the upper levels of the UT leadership, headlined by a Board of Regents split over whether or not to fire school president Bill Powers. “Powers has been fighting attempts by several regents to force him out for nearly two years and holds only a slim majority of support from a board that has shown a willingness to meddle in the school’s football program,” writes Vertuno. One regent, Robert Wallace Hall, faces an impeachment trail for his efforts to oust Powers.
While he battles with one hand for his professional life, the other leads the search to replace the only athletics director the school has known over the past 32 years. The regents have said all the right things to this point, “It’s exclusively in the campus with the president’s office,” regent Robert Stillwell said. “President Powers can handle this on his own.”
On the other hand, this is the same group of people who reached out to representatives for Nick Saban, and felt encouraged enough about the conversation to approach Mack Brown about retiring, without the knowledge of Powers, Dodds or Brown.
That’s the environment a new athletics director inherits, and his first order of business may very well be replacing football, men’s basketball and baseball head coaches with half a century on campus and a dozen Big 12 championships between them.
But, there is that matter of the $170 million budget the new boss will inherit.
“Where’s a better job?” longtime college sports administrator Chuck Neinas said. “What’s the biggest responsibility an athletic director has today? Money. That’s not a worry at Texas… It’s like going to the University of Heaven.”
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