USA Today and several other highly credible news sources are reporting on Tuesday that longtime Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds will make official his plans to retire from that position. The Dallas Morning News and Austin-American Statesman are among the news outlets reporting that the 76-year-old Dodds will officially step down from the post he has held for 32 years on August 31, 2014.
A similar report surfaced last month, stating that Dodds was retiring and would step down by the end of the current year. Both Dodds and University of Texas officials denied that report, published three weeks ago by Orangebloods.com, a Rivals.com website dedicated to UT athletics. At the time the Orangebloods.com story was published, Dodds told the Dallas Morning News, “I’ve not made any plans to retire at any time. When I do, I’ll give you guys plenty of notice.”
The official announcement was expected to come on Tuesday, but reportedly was postponed due to the sudden and unexpected death of former Texas football star James Street, who died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack.
In denying the original story that came out in mid-September, Dodds also told the Dallas daily newspaper: “My goal would be to leave things in good shape. We need to win some football games. I’m responsible for that.”
With the huge athletic tradition of the University of Texas, well known to have the wealthiest athletic budget in all of college sports, the athletic director’s job is an extremely high-profile position. Two names that are rumored to be potential candidates as Dodd’s replacement at Texas are Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Oliver Luck, the current athletic director at West Virginia.
Dodds and Texas head football coach Mack Brown have a very close relationship, which is another reason that Brown is believed also to be on his way out at Texas after 16 seasons and an overall record, to date, of 152-45, including three Big 12 championships. Since playing in the BCS National Championship game at the end of the 2009 season, Brown’s teams at Texas have gone 26-20 in all games and are a very un-Texas-like 13-15 in Big 12 play – all of this despite regularly pulling in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes seemingly every year.
With Dodds leaving, Brown, whose teams have fallen off badly the last three years, will lose his primary administrative support at Texas. Dodds hired Brown in 1998. Prior to that he had been the head coach at North Carolina.
The fact that football isn’t the only sport in which resource-rich Texas has fared poorly in recent years – also in basketball and baseball – could well be driving force behind the timing and substance of Dodds’ future plans.
Dodds is a former athlete and graduate of Kansas State, where he also served as athletic director for five years before coming to Texas in 1981.