The end may be near for Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who will reportedly step down as athletic director on Dec. 31, 2013, according to Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com. Texas and Dodds have since denied reports of Dodds' early departure.
Dodds' contract officially runs through Aug. 31, 2015 and allows him the option to move into a part-time consultant role in the Texas athletic department through 2020.
Texas' big three sports—football, men's basketball and baseball—have performed inconsistently and not up to the "Texas standard" over the past few seasons. Men's basketball failed to make the 2013 NCAA tournament and has not made it past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament since 2008, football is 11-15 against Big 12 opponents since 2010 and baseball has been absent from postseason action the past two years.
Many believe Dodds has not replaced any coaches because he wants to leave that decision up to his successor. If reports are true, this may be the first nail in the coffin for the future of Texas football coach Mack Brown and other Longhorns coaches.
Brown is the winningest active coach in FBS, but since 2010, his image has little to do with wins and more to do with his expiration date. Four years ago, Texas was on top of the college football world and competed in the BCS National Championship Game, but now, you could argue Texas football is the fourth-best team in the state, behind Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor.
How has Mack Brown and Texas football fallen this far from grace?
The fall begins with recruiting. Texas football has misevaluated and struggled to develop players in recent years.
One of the most notable recruiting misses was not offering quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and sticking with Garrett Gilbert, who was the consensus five-star quarterback in 2009. Gilbert finished his career at Texas completing 56.7 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 24 games, before transferring to SMU after the 2011 football season.
One of the more recent misses was recruiting Texas A&M quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as a defensive back. Texas did not offer Manziel at any position.
Texas switching up offensive and defensive schemes and shuffling in new coaches since 2010 has only added to the Longhorns' fall from grace. Since 2010, Brown has hired eight new coaches in various roles on the Texas' coaching staff and has replaced three offensive and three defensive coordinators.
Of all of the reasons that add to Texas' fall, the one constant in the situation has been Brown. Some may think Brown not retiring has led to where the Texas football program is today.
Brown named former defensive coordinator Will Muschamp the "head coach in waiting" during the Longhorns' 2008 football season, which suggested Brown's retirement could be near. But Texas' loss to Alabama in the 2009 BCS National Championship extended the Muschamp head coach timetable for at least another year. After finishing 5-7 in 2010, it was apparent Brown was going nowhere and had the full support of Dodds and UT Austin president Bill Powers to rebuild the Texas football program.
But Dodds' potential departure could cut Brown's rebuilding plans short.
It is easy to say "what if" after the fact, but one question remains: If Mack Brown allowed Muschamp to take over after the 2009 football season, would he be in the mix as the Longhorns' AD? Speculation suggests yes, Brown could have been a top candidate. But that ship has sailed, leaving Brown's future and the future of other Texas coaches' up in the air.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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