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September 30, 2013

Dodds to announce plans to step down

Orangebloods reported on Sept. 13 that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds would be stepping down as athletic director by the end of the calendar year.

According to a source close to the situation, Dodds, 74, the Texas AD the past 32 years, will announce on Tuesday his plans to make that official.

The source said Dodds has indicated his willingness to stay on as AD through August of 2014 before moving into a consulting role already outlined in his contract as a "significant half-time position."

But that is a "fluid situation," the source said.

A key source said Texas president Bill Powers will move forward in looking for a new AD, and as soon as that person is identified, there is likely to be a press conference with Dodds announcing his successor and moving into his consulting role. The source said the timeline to find Dodds' replacement is early December.

As I reported in Wednesday's War Room, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck is someone who would be on Powers' short list to replace Dodds along with longshot candidates Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick.

By Dodds announcing on Tuesday his plans to step down, he gets ahead of any potential storm that could erupt in Texas athletics depending on the outcome of the Texas-OU football game and the anticipated filing of a discrimination lawsuit by former Texas women's track coach Bev Kearney (likely next week).

Dodds would receive his full athletic director salary ($1.1 million) and benefits through the end of his contract - August 2015 - no matter when he moves into his consulting role, sources said. Dodds would also collect a $1 million, after-taxes payment due to him in August 2014, as currently outlined in his contract, sources said.

In his 32-year tenure, Texas has grown into the top revenue-producing athletic department in the country and enjoyed an incredible run in football, basketball and baseball from roughly 2001-2009. But that hasn't been the story lately.

All of Texas' big three sports underperformed in the 2012-13 school year, and Texas got off to a shocking start this season, giving up 550 yards rushing in a loss at BYU that resulted in Mack Brown replacing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz with Greg Robinson.

Football finished 9-4 in 2012 but suffered a 63-21 loss to Oklahoma that caused Texas fans to really begin checking out on the Mack Brown era. UT also suffered an upset at home on Thanksgiving to an undermanned TCU and a fifth-straight loss to Kansas State, dropping its Big 12 record to 11-15 the past three years.

Texas ended that losing streak to K-State last week and is 1-0 in Big 12 play. Mack Brown on Monday repeated he thinks he has the talent to win a "wide-open" Big 12 race this season. But he quickly added his sole focus is on Thursday night's game at Iowa State.

Under Brown, Texas won at least 10 games in nine straight seasons (2001-09), including a 69-9 run from 2004-09 that included a national title and two other BCS bowl titles. But the last three-plus years, Texas is 24-18, a winning percentage of .571.

Basketball suffered its first losing season and first missed NCAA Tournament in 15 years under coach Rick Barnes, who reached the 2003 Final Four but hasn't been out of the first weekend of the NCAA tourney since 2008.

And three players (Sheldon McClellan, Julien Lewis and Jaylen Bond), including two of the top three leading scorers (McClellan and Lewis) transferred after last season. Two others (Myck Kabongo and Ioannis Papapetrou) went pro early (Kabongo went undrafted by the NBA; Papapetrou signed with a Greek team).

Texas baseball has won national titles in 2002 and 2005 under Augie Garrido, 74, the all-time winningest coach in Division I college baseball history. But Garrido's team has lost 12 straight Big 12 series, including all nine in the 2013 season, causing Texas to finish dead last in the conference standings for the first time since 1956.

Sources said if the football team continues to struggle the way it did in a demoralizing loss at BYU, in which the Longhorns gave up 550 yards rushing, that Mack Brown would likely announce his resignation.

Sources said Dodds has recommended Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby to Powers as a possible replacement. Bowlsby's current annual salary of roughly $2 million, including perks and bonuses, could be an issue for Texas regents, sources said.

Bowlsby is the former athletic director at Stanford. He hired Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw as football coaches and helped oversee raising the money necessary to endow all athletic scholarships at the school.

That is a project Texas president Bill Powers is very interested in pursuing, because it makes the athletic department completely independent of the university's General Fund and would allow UT to add more sports.

Bowlsby has said repeatedly he's made a long-term commitment to being Big 12 commissioner and isn't interested in any other jobs.

Dodds has overseen nearly $400 million in athletics facilities improvements and renovations, and, according to NCAA statistics, Texas was the highest revenue producing athletic department ($163.3 million) for the 2011-12 school year.

That included a record $103.8 million in football revenue alone, according to USA Today, a first in Division I athletics.

While guiding Texas through Big 12 realignment, Dodds helped land a 20-year, $300 million contract with ESPN in 2011 to establish Texas' own TV network - the Longhorn Network - an unprecedented third-tier rights venture. One of Dodds' top priorities before stepping down as athletic director was to help LHN gain wider distribution with cable providers. And just before the football season, ESPN struck an agreement with Time Warner Cable to carry LHN in Texas. TWC has 1.3 million subscribers in Texas.

The Longhorns have also led Collegiate Licensing in royalties for the past eight years.

Since Dodds arrived at Texas as athletic director in 1981 from Kansas State, where he was a track star and track coach, the Longhorns have claimed 14 national titles and 108 conference titles.


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