Letter From the Executive Director: Serendipity

The photo above was taken in the Frank Denius Family University of Texas Athletics Hall of Fame, which opened on August 30, 2019. Even though it is two years old now, it’s likely that many of you who dutifully read this magazine and cheer on the Longhorns have yet to step foot inside. 

With recent events keeping us from exciting attractions like this one, the usual throngs of burnt-orange fanatics may not have had the chance to take a walk through the beautifully backlit displays of our collective glory and rich history of greatness at The University of Texas. We were here in late June 2021 for a big moment—the Alcalde cover shoot for Coach Steve Sarkisian, an honor that every Longhorn football coach in recent memory, and there have been a few, has received. 

Coach Sark, as we are likely to know him from here on out, is a busy man, and it just so happens that on this day there was an onslaught of towering, muscular recruits filing into the Hall on their way to the field. As they passed the gleaming crystal and gold trophies amassed by this institution over the years, I could see in their eyes how much they wanted some hardware of their own. 

Coach graciously blocked a few minutes off his schedule for our crew and was game enough to strike a pose. The guy who is used to calling all the plays had no problem taking direction from our creative quarterback—photographer Matt Wright-Steel. The magic of magazine post-production and a little fake fog really brought it home. 

And just when we thought we’d heard the biggest football news and successfully pinned it down for the cover, UT and OU asked to join the SEC. My goodness. Oh, if we could only do this interview over again, I’m sure Chris O’Connell, who wrote “The Playcaller,” would have a few more questions. We may never know just how grand a plan this was from the beginning, but at a minimum, won’t it be nice to have a coach with firsthand knowledge of our new rivals? 

Sarkisian’s lead foot may be his secret to driving the Longhorns to victory—all gas, no brakes and all that. There is something about this moment that feels serendipitous. His presence at that photo shoot was calm and cool, and, like all of you, I can’t wait to see how that translates onto the field. 

As I write this, so much is uncertain. There are seismic shifts happening beneath our feet—not just joining the SEC, also but the Delta variant of COVID-19 wreaking havoc. And the fan culture at UT Austin is evolving as well. We aren’t just a football school anymore; we’re an every-sport school (see for yourself on page 42). But what else would you expect from a place like UT Austin? We’re constantly evolving, constantly changing—taking big chances is in our DNA. Welcome to Longhorn Nation, Coach Sark. 

Hook ’em, 

Chuck Harris
BBA ’86, Life Member 
Executive Director, The Texas Exes 

Credit: Chris O’Connell


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