Texas hires new athletic director Chris Del Conte

Trenton Daeschner

Texas has hired TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte for the same position, UT President Gregory Fenves said in a statement released on Saturday.

“Chris has the experience, vision and character that’s needed for Texas to build on the Longhorns’ rich legacy and to continue winning with integrity for years to come,” Fenves said. “He knows the state of Texas, supports student-athletes, understands the media landscape of college sports and is one of the best athletics directors in the country.”

Del Conte departs Fort Worth after serving at TCU for eight years and will take over as Texas’ new athletic director starting on Monday.

“The time has come to take on a new challenge,” Del Conte said in a statement. “After being with President Fenves and hearing his vision for the future of the University of Texas, I couldn’t be more honored to join his leadership team. I can’t wait to get down to Austin and meet all the student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans.”

Under Del Conte’s leadership at TCU, the Horned Frogs transitioned from the Mountain West Conference to the Big 12 in 2012. Since then, TCU football has gone 50–27, the men’s basketball team won the 2017 NIT Championship and the baseball team has appeared in four consecutive College World Series.

Del Conte also oversaw numerous stadium and facility upgrades at TCU, including the construction of a new $164 million football stadium and a $72 million renovation to the basketball arena.

Prior to his time at TCU, Del Conte served as athletic director at Rice. Current Texas football coach Tom Herman was Rice’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2007-08 while Del Conte was athletic director.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that Chris Del Conte will be leading our Athletics Department,” Herman said in a statement. “I’ve known him for several years, worked with him during my time at Rice and have continued to admire his work from afar for a long time. He’s a smart and creative leader who has a great passion for student-athletes and college sports. On top of that, he’s an engaging, energetic and fun person to be around and work with. We’re definitely in good hands, and I’m looking forward to a bright future with Chris leading the way.”

Del Conte will replace current athletic director Mike Perrin, who has served in that role since September 2015, when former athletic director Steve Patterson was fired after a tumultuous 22-month tenure.

Perrin, an attorney from Houston and a former linebacker for the Longhorns who played under legendary Texas coach Darrell Royal, was originally named Texas’ interim athletic director.

Perrin’s interim tag was eventually removed in December 2015, however, it was widely thought that Perrin was not going to be a long-term fixture as Texas’ athletic director.

During Perrin’s short stint as athletic director, he was charged with making two critical hires for the University — a new football and baseball coach. He hired David Pierce from Tulane after legendary baseball coach Augie Garrido was let go following the 2016 season.

Immediately after the 2016 football season, former head coach Charlie Strong was fired, and Perrin hired new coach Tom Herman from the University of Houston.

Under Perrin, preliminary plans for the location of a new basketball arena on campus were also announced by Texas.

“Mike has been a trusted partner and friend and will forever have my gratitude and the gratitude of Longhorn Nation,” Fenves said.

Del Conte will be introduced as Texas’ new athletic director in a joint press conference with Fenves on Monday at 11 a.m.

Details of Del Conte’s contract will be revealed once the UT System Board of Regents has approved it.