President William Powers Jr. and the UT System Board of Regents are set to begin the search for a replacement for retiring Texas men’s head athletic director DeLoss Dodds. While Dodds’ advance warning gives the Longhorn brass plenty of time to find a successor, Powers reportedly wants to make a hire by Dec. 1, so expect the search to start immediately.
Here are a few potential candidates for the job:
Believed by many to be the favorite, Oliver Luck is a Texas law graduate and the current athletic director at West Virginia.
Luck’s tenure in Morgantown has been impressive, with his most notable accomplishment for the Mountaineers being a successful transition from the Big East to the Big 12. Luck also hired former Oklahoma State coach Dana Holgorsen to replace Bill Stewart at West Virginia in 2011.
The current Big 12 commissioner, Bob Bowlsby has been linked to the Texas athletic director job on several occasions.
Bowlsby has plenty of administrative experience, including stints as athletic director at Stanford, Iowa and Northern Iowa. He was also on the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
While Bowlsby has previously denied interest in the Texas position, his name is reportedly high on Powers’ list.
Tom Jurich, the director of athletics at Louisville, is another name that continues to make its rounds on the rumor mill. Jurich was hired by Louisville in 1997, after serving in the same role at Colorado State and Northern Arizona.
A few notable accomplishments at Louisville include engineering the program’s move to the Big East, hiring Rick Pitino to lead the men’s basketball program, overseeing the completion and renovation of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and, most recently, hiring Charlie Strong to re-establish the Louisville football program as a Big East powerhouse.
Perhaps the most high-profile candidate, Jack Swarbrick currently serves as Notre Dame’s athletic director.
The Notre Dame gig is Swarbrick’s only experience as an athletic director, but it should be more than enough. Notre Dame is one of the few schools which attracts attention similar to that of Texas, though, he claims he is not interested in coming to Austin. When asked about possibly replacing Dodds last week, Swarbrick said, “I feel like I have the best job in college athletics.”
A long shot, sure, but Texas would be foolish not to consider current Longhorn women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky as a possible replacement for Dodds.
Plonsky has been an athletic director at Texas since 2001, and has seen her programs win a combined 40 Big 12 championships and three national championships in that time. She also played a major role in bringing the Longhorn Network to the 40 Acres.
While some might question her ability to handle the men’s side of the operation, Plonsky’s experience and success as a Longhorn administrator makes her as good a candidate as any.