As is the case with Mack Brown and Rick Barnes, the fact that certain standards have not been met recently should not overshadow the fact that athletic director DeLoss Dodds was responsible for those standards in the first place.
Dodds made official Tuesday afternoon what was rumored to happen soon, something he has been unwilling to tell Brown or Barnes to do — he stepped down.
“There are a lot of qualified men and women who can do this job and give a different set of eyes,” Dodds said. “The time has come for me to step down and the time has come for the University to have someone else in there. [UT] president [Bill] Powers will find the right person. I’ll be on that person’s team.”
Fiercely loyal to the football and basketball coaches he hired when his hair hadn’t yet grayed, Dodds likely understands changes need to be made. But he has long held that he will not be the one to make those changes.
“When we hired Coach Brown, he was head and shoulders above everybody in the marketplace,” Dodds said. “This is a hard job and he was so ready to do it.”
So, instead of continuing to hold his position as the University of Texas men’s athletics director — one he’s held for 32 years — Dodds will resign from his post next August. Unwilling to show Brown or Barnes the door, he chose to walk out of it himself.
We don’t know who the Longhorns’ next athletic director will be, but we know whoever it is, they will shake things up. Whether it is Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck or another less obvious candidate, they will almost certainly — and should — hire new head football and men’s basketball coaches.
Unless Brown’s Longhorns somehow win the Big 12, as he insists they’re capable of doing, his 16th year as the Texas head football coach should be his last. Barnes has found a way to field a team worse than the one that turned in its first losing season during his 14-year tenure. It’s his time to go, too.
Dodds had to go through the Fred Akers, Tom Penders and John Mackovics of the world before hitting home runs with Brown and Barnes, who took the hoops program to unprecedented heights but is poised for another losing season.
Dodds has turned the Texas athletic department into a well-oiled, money-printing machine. If it was his fault the Longhorns weren’t winning as often toward the end of his 36-year tenure, Dodds should at least be credited for keeping his athletics program the most profitable in the country despite the dip in on-field performance.
“He did much of what Mack did as a football coach,” former women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt said. “He brought all these factions that had gone in various directions together. We became a team and that team had, as its number one goal, to be good for the University of Texas.”
With that goal in mind, Dodds picked the perfect time to step down.