It’s Official: DeLoss Dodds to Retire Next August

It's Official: DeLoss Dodds to Retire Next August

After 32 years on the job, longtime UT athletics director DeLoss Dodds announced today he’ll retire from the position come Aug. 31, 2014.

Though rumors of his impending retirement have been swirling since earlier this season, Dodds denied having any immediate plans to leave just a couple weeks ago. But at a press conference today in UT’s Belmont Hall, 76-year-old Dodds changed his tune.

“This is a big day for me,” he said to a crowd of TV crews, journalists, and family and friends. “I’ve thought a lot about it. I think in 62 years, it will be the first time I haven’t had a job—and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Flanked by President Bill Powers, the nation’s longest-serving Division I AD quietly took to the mic to explain his decision to finally step down.

“Mary Ann and I need to go to Tuscany,” Dodds joked. “We need to see the leaves change in the North. We still have lots of life we need to live.”

Dodds arrived on the Forty Acres in 1981 after serving as athletics director at Kansas State. At the time, UT’s athletics budget was $4.2 million. Today, it’s upwards of $163 million—the largest of any program in the nation. During his UT tenure, Dodds engineered the 20-year, $300 million Longhorn Network agreement with ESPN, and organized $400 million in facilities upgrades, including updates to the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium, the Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletics Center, and the Red McCombs Red Zone.

Under his direction, the Longhorns have brought home 14 national championships and 108 conference titles. Dodds guided the creation of the Longhorn Foundation, a network of more than 13,000 donors that has raised more than $370 million for UT student-athlete scholarships, academic services, and more. He also played a key role in the formation of the Big 12 Conference in the mid-1990s. But today, when Dodds was asked which was his greatest accomplishment, he laughed and simply stated: “Survival.”

Dodds has been no stranger to controversy during his 32 years on campus; the 2013 season certainly isn’t the first time Longhorn fans have been less than thrilled with his performance. Prior to hiring Coach Mack Brown in 1998, Dodds’ reputation had bottomed out in the eyes of Texas. Big wins eluded him in big-money sports like football and basketball. Then Brown led Longhorn football to a national championship in 2005, and the furious mob dissipated—but not for long.

That same key hire who turned the tide of public opinion back in the 2000s has, as of late, thrust Dodds back into the hot seat. But Dodds didn’t have an ill word to say about Brown at today’s conference.

“When we hired Mack Brown, he was head and shoulders above anyone else,” Dodds said. “This was a hard job.” He refused to comment on potential coaching changes, simply saying, “I’m not going to go there.”

Dodds will stay on in his current position until next August, when he will transfer to a part-time consultant role until 2020. Depending on how quickly a new AD is chosen, Dodds will work in tandem with the new hire to make the transition easier. President Powers, with Dodds’ help, will launch a nationwide search for Texas’ next AD immediately. Asked for his opinion on who should be his successor, Dodds stayed mum.

“There are a lot of qualified men and women who can do this job,” Dodds said. “The time has come for me to step down, but I know President Powers will find the right person.”

After he finished, a somber Dodds received a big round of applause from all those in attendance at Belmont Hall.

“This was a great opportunity for me to be here and work with the caliber of people at The University of Texas,” Dodds said. “I’m going to be a Longhorn for the rest of my life.”

Learn more about Dodds’ tenure at UT in our September|October 2010 cover story, “The Titan of Texas Athletics.”


Tags: , ,



Post a Comment