UT Hires Vince Young as Development Officer

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When reports surfaced as early as April that Vince Young would take a job with UT when his NFL career ended, the obvious choice seemed like he would join the Longhorns on Charlie Strong’s coaching staff. For the man who brought Texas back to glory with a National Championship in January of 2006—and the most recent example of excellence for Longhorn football—a position as some sort offensive assistant seemed natural, especially as a symbolic gesture of Texas’ return to the national stage. A new era, even.

So when the Browns cut Young, BS ’13, Life Member, just days after signing him in May, many fans suspected that UT job was coming sooner than later. He’d be back on the Forty Acres before fall practice commenced. Young announced his retirement from the NFL on June 14, and shortly after, his impending hiring by UT—just not with Athletics. Yesterday the announcement came that Young will be joining the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) as a development officer for program alumni relations.

“We’re just very pleased to have him on the team,” says Gregory Vincent, vice president of the DDCE. “He’s already done an excellent job in representing the university at some of our community events. He really expressed a great interest in coming back to the university and starting this phase of his career.”

In Young’s new role, which begins on September 1, he will be raising money for UT programs—the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence, UT Elementary School, and the University Interscholastic League, to name a few—that aim to help low-income and first-generation college students, the latter of which hits close to home for Young. As a first-generation college graduate himself, Young says his new position is a perfect match, even if athletics seemed like the more conspicuous choice.

“It’s perfect for me to be in this area,” Young says. “I was that same kid. I didn’t know I was going to be able to make it to college. I want to give [this] knowledge back to future generations.”

Young returned to the Forty Acres during his NFL career, completing his remaining coursework and graduating in 2013 from the College of Education as a Youth and Community Studies Major.

“I think obviously he’s proud of his athletic success,” Vincent says, “but he is very proud of that degree he got from the University of Texas. That he was a first-generation college student and he was able to get that degree—that’s really going to help give a tangible example to the young people that we work with.”

Young says for him, the choice is obvious. “I put [my degree] at number one,” he says. “A lot of people look to my football accolades, but [my degree] is the biggest thing that I care about.” That, plus his role as a leader on the football field, will only help Young in his new career.

“I was a D-III student-athlete, and I can speak from firsthand experience,” Vincent says. “Being a student-athlete there are some transferrable skills: how to work hard, how to balance your time, having to work within a team. Sometimes you’re playing a complementary role, sometimes you’re playing a leadership role. I think that’s going to work extremely well with [Vince’s] leadership.”

And Vincent sees this as the beginning of a long and fruitful career in service of Young’s alma mater, comparing the sort of role Young could have going forward to another vaunted college football star who returned to his school for a degree and to serve his university.

“What I really want to emphasize is how much Vince loves his alma mater,” Vincent says, “and how much he wants to give back. And I’m honored to [help him] do that. I really see Vince having a career at the university much like Archie Griffin had at Ohio State. I’m not saying he’ll be head of the alumni association [like Griffin], I’m saying that there’s a precedent for someone having that kind of distinguished career and coming back to serve their alma mater.”

Young agrees. “It’s definitely a goal of mine,” he says of his ambition to continue to serve the University of Texas, and of the comparison to Griffin, who is now president and CEO of the Ohio State University Alumni Association.

“I want to be a face for our next generation of students, of underprivileged young kids. I want to be a voice for them.”

Young at the Alumni Center getting his class ring in 2013. Photo by Jordan Schraeder.

 

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