Coach Charlie Strong to write next chapter of Longhorn football history

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Today begins the next chapter in one of the great stories in all of college sports — the story of Texas Longhorn football. It’s my pleasure to introduce to the Longhorn family our next football head coach, Charlie Strong.

Coach Strong is exactly the right pick for The University of Texas, and I want to thank our men’s athletics director, Steve Patterson, and the search committee for their superb work.

From the outset, we knew the University’s new football coach had to have the two qualities all of our coaches have: he had to be a winner, and he had to win with integrity. This is our standard because of the work of numerous coaches over the decades but no coach more so than Mack Brown.

There’s no question Coach Strong is a winner, having transformed Louisville’s football team into champions and being honored twice as coach of the year during his four years there. But more important, he elevated that football program while increasing graduation rates and developing a culture rooted in academic success. Coach Strong has said, “When you talk about a player’s future, it all starts in the classroom.” A lot of coaches can win, but that philosophy is why we asked him to come to Texas.

He’s the right person to represent Texas on the field, on campus, in the community, and in the living rooms of potential recruits across the nation. He’s the right person to carry on the Texas tradition of winning with integrity that was cultivated by giants like Darrell Royal and Mack Brown.

Finally — to Charlie and his beautiful family, including his wife, Vicki, and daughters Hailee and Hope, I say welcome to Austin and welcome to the Longhorn family.

Here’s a quick look at Coach Strong’s career so far: http://youtu.be/hB1EKrYgsOI

And you can watch this morning’s introductory press conference at: http://youtu.be/L6V6RRrulig.

 

Hook ’em Horns!

Bill's Signature

2013 – One for the Record Books

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As 2013 draws to close, I want to thank you for the role you have played in our extraordinarily successful year at UT Austin.

It was a year marked by momentous generosity.

Michael and Susan Dell gave UT $50 million enabling the creation of the Dell Medical School. This was only the first of three times the Dells and UT would make major headlines in 2013. The second was the opening the Dell Computer Science Hall this spring, named in honor of another $10 million gift from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The hall opened as part of the Gates Computer Science Complex, made possible by a $30 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And the third headline was the gift of the Magnum Photos Collection, one of the most valuable gifts in the history of the University, given to the Ransom Center by Michael and Susan Dell, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, and John and Amy Phelan.

We named the College of Communication for the Moody family in recognition of a $50 million gift from the Moody Foundation. And former Regent Robert Rowling and his wife, Terry, pledged $25 million for a new home for the McCombs School of Business graduate programs to be named Rowling Hall.

All of these gifts and many more contributed to a record-breaking fundraising year for 2012-13. We need one more record year to achieve our $3 billion goal for the Campaign for Texas by the end of August.

It was a year marked by tremendous achievement.

UT’s largest college got a new home in January when we opened the Liberal Arts Building. We also launched the Clements Center for History, Strategy & Statecraft. And the Blanton Museum celebrated 50 years with a wonderful exhibit composed of masterworks from alumni collections.

Our faculty continued to win national and international recognitions: The National Academy of Engineering inducted Joseph J. Beaman Jr. of Mechanical Engineering; Sharon L. Wood of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering; and Keith P. Johnston of Chemical Engineering. The National Academy of Sciences elected John Goodenough of Mechanical Engineering. And the Institute of Medicine elected George Georgiou of Molecular Biosciences, Chemical Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering. Dean Young of the English Department was appointed Texas Poet Laureate. And C. Grant Willson of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering won the Japan Prize.

Our men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won Big 12 championships.

And it was a year marked by passages and transitions.

This year we lost the beloved Bill Livingston, who for nearly 60 years had served the University in numerous roles including that of interim president and senior vice president.

It was a year of major transitions as we thanked giants of our UT family for their dedicated service: DeLoss Dodds, who served 32 years as men’s athletics director; Tom Staley, director of the Ransom Center for more than 25 years; Mack Brown, who led our football program for 16 years; Steve Leslie, our executive vice president and provost, who had served in that role since 2007; and Robert Dahlstrom, who had served as UT police chief since 2006.

Among those who have succeeded them — our new executive vice president and provost Greg Fenves, formerly UT’s engineering dean; new athletics director Steve Patterson; new dean of graduate studies Judith Langlois; new dean of Undergraduate Studies Brent Iverson; new director of the Ransom Center Stephen Ennis; and new UT police chief, David Carter.

I’m always proud of UT Austin as I travel and meet my peers, and I am especially so this year as I fulfill my role as chair of the Association of American Universities.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday. Thank you for all you have done for UT Austin this year.

Bill's Signature

 

Steve Patterson perfect fit for men’s athletics

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Steve Patterson, athletics director at Arizona State University and a two-time Texas Ex, will be UT’s next men’s athletics director. Steve is the perfect choice to build on our athletics success and DeLoss Dodds’ legacy. He helped build a championship Houston Rockets team and brought the Super Bowl game to Houston. Most importantly, he’s run a winning program at Arizona State that places students first and is committed to their lifelong success.

The appointment is subject to approval by the UT System Board of Regents, which is scheduled to meet Nov. 13-14.

Steve has a long track record in building successful sports franchises that will serve him well at Texas. He worked for more than two decades as an executive with the NFL’s Houston Texans, the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, and the Houston Aeros hockey team. He also served as president of Pro Sports Consulting. But even more than that, he is committed to doing what is best for student-athletes in an educational setting.

It is a bonus that Steve holds both a BBA and a law degree from UT Austin. I look forward to seeing where he takes UT’s men’s athletics.

Welcome home, Steve!

Hook ’em Horns,

 

Bill's Signature

DeLoss Dodds one of the all-time great athletics administrators

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DeLoss Dodds and Bill Powers at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl

 

In the fall of 1981, a former track star, coach, and athletics director at Kansas State reported for duty as the new athletics director here at The University of Texas. Few would have suspected that 32 years later, DeLoss Dodds would be retiring here as one of the giants of college athletics. His vision reshaped UT Austin and the entire NCAA, and it’s been an honor to both work with him and call him a friend for so many years.

  • During his tenure, nine Longhorn men’s teams have won 14 national championships and 108 conference titles.
  • He has overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in facilities upgrades.
  • He has guided us through multiple conference realignments.
  • And he has been a driving force behind innovations like The Longhorn Network, helping to spread the Longhorn spirit far and wide.

Over the past three decades, not only have our Longhorn teams regularly won conference and national championships, but they’ve produced the highest quality student-athletes and — like DeLoss — displayed integrity on and off the field.

He embodies all that is great about the University, the state of Texas, and college sports. DeLoss has laid the foundation for generations of Longhorn athletes to come. And though we will never truly be able to replace him, I will lead the nationwide search beginning today to find his successor.

He might have been a quarter-miler on the track, but on our campus, he found his true distance, and gave to the world of athletics his greatest gifts: vision, innovation, and integrity.

Thank you for all you’ve done, DeLoss. God bless you, and Hook ’em Horns.

Bill's Signature

Coach Brown has my full support

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Now that the Longhorn football team has finished its regular season, there has been an increase in media speculation about Coach Mack Brown’s future. I’d like to state unequivocally that Coach Brown has my full support as well as the support of Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. Put succinctly, Mack Brown is and will remain the Longhorns’ head football coach.

Coach Brown restored Texas’ winning tradition. He embodies the Texas character, is a superb ambassador for The University of Texas, and runs a program that is both winning and clean, a program that all alumni and fans can and should be proud of. Mack cares about the young men on the team as people, as students, and as players, in that order, and he models the kind of leadership that will serve our players for the rest of their lives.

I look forward to watching this young team win the Alamo Bowl and continue to grow in seasons to come.

Hook ’em Horns!

Posse Foundation, and Texas-OU news

On Thursday night, I had the pleasure of attending a function in New York City for The Posse Foundation. It was a wonderful evening emceed by Leslie Stahl from 60 Minutes. Posse is a wonderful and innovative organization. It identifies and trains urban high school students and sends them to college in multicultural teams (or “posses”) of 10 students. It began in New York in 1989 and now includes chapters in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, and New Orleans. UT Austin has partnered to recruit 10 Posse Scholars a year from the foundation’s newest chapter in Houston. Scholars will receive training from the foundation before they get here, four-year, full-tuition scholarships at UT Austin, on-campus mentoring, and the opportunity to apply for summer internships with Posse’s industry-leading partner companies and organizations.

Posse Scholars not only act as support networks for each other, but also become very involved on campus. They are the types of students who go on to become presidents and founders of campus organizations. The Posse Foundation represents a novel and worthy concept in higher education and will be especially valuable at a large university like ours. We expect great things from these 10 scholars and look forward to watching them develop into leaders at The University of Texas.

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Lastly, I’m glad to announce that we have extended our agreement with the Cotton Bowl and additional five years (until 2020) for the UT-OU game. Those with an appreciation for the history of the Red River Rivalry and enjoy its proximity to the Texas State Fair will welcome this news. I want to thank our director of men’s athletics, DeLoss Dodds, for his good work on this front.

 

Hook ’em Horns,