The search is on for the Texas Longhorns' new head football coach. Athletic director Steve Patterson has appointed an eight-member advisory committee and an executive recruiting firm to aid in finding the Longhorns' new coach. Seven of the eight members were also involved in the committee responsible for hiring Patterson.
Some of the Twitter reaction to the committee was not positive, but any backlash against Patterson's committee is unjust.
When Texas fired John Mackovic in 1997, the school assembled a search committee that ultimately helped land Mack Brown. Former Texas regent Don Evans addressed his involvement in the committee that was responsible for hiring Brown.
"I first got to know Mack in 1997 when I was chairman of the Board of Regents and set up a search committee to find a new football coach," Evans said in his keynote address at the Texas football banquet. "We considered a lot of candidates. But in Mack Brown we hired a great coach. We hired a very good man and a true leader who returned this program to its glory days."
So a message to those concerned about this committee: Calm down. Search committees are normal in college sports.
Now on to the members.
Who are they? Why were they chosen? What background do they have that makes them an asset in making such a significant hire?
Let's take a look.
Who: Jed Hughes of Korn Ferry International
One of the most important people involved in hiring Texas' new head coach will be Jed Hughes of Korn Ferry International.
Athletic directors have to wear a variety of hats, so their attention cannot solely be placed on finding a new head coach. That's why many universities have turned to search executives and their 24/7 mentality to aid in finding the best candidates available. As Chris Smith of Forbes notes:
A search expert will conduct as many searches in a year as an athletic director might in his or her career. No athletic director has the same experience that a professional recruiter does when it comes to meeting and interviewing candidates from across the country.
In addition to being constantly on the clock, hiring search executives can provide confidentiality that is not easily obtained in today's age of social media and anonymous message board "insiders."
But who is Hughes, and why did Patterson choose him to make arguably the biggest coaching hire in recent college football history?
The answer is easy: his experience and proven expertise.
Hughes' high-profile placements include New York Jets GM John Idzik and president Neil Glat, Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon and head coach Brady Hoke, USC head basketball coach Andy Enfield and president and CEO of the Portland Trailblazers Chris McGowan, according to Korn Ferry's website.
Needless to say, Hughes' Rolodex of coaching candidates is miles long.
In addition to his knockout placements, Hughes understands the coaching game. He spent more than 20 years coaching both college and professional football under Hall of Fame coaches Chuck Noll (Pittsburgh Steelers), Bud Grant (Minnesota Vikings), Bo Schembechler (Michigan), John Ralston (Stanford) and Terry Donahue (UCLA).
The Bottom Line
To put it in layman's terms, Jed Hughes is the ultimate head hunter for hiring coaches.
Who: Steve Hicks
Steve Hicks is the UT System Board of Regents' vice chair. Hicks' resume includes owner of the private investment firm Capstar Partners LLC, which is the controlling shareholder of DMX Inc., a company engaged in the provision of business media services; Andrew Harper, a high-end travel publishing and services firm; and Harden Healthcare, a company engaged in skilled nursing, home health and related fields.
Hicks' brother, former regent Tom Hicks, was one of the two men responsible for contacting Nick Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton about Saban's interest in coaching at Texas, as the Associated Press first reported in September.
Who: Robert Stillwell
Robert Stillwell is a member of the UT System Board of Regents. Stillwell was formerly a director of Mesa Petroleum Co., alongside T. Boone Pickens. He helped direct $700 million in educational, scientific and health care gifts to nonprofit organizations as a trustee of the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, according to his UT System bio.
The Bottom Line
Hicks and Stillwell are the Board of Regents' athletics liaisons. Although the specific duties for each committee member are not publicly known, common speculation suggests Hicks and Stillwell will likely represent the regents' interests and opinions on the hiring of the next Texas football head coach.
Who: Pamela Willeford
Pamela Willeford is a regental appointee of the Texas Women's Athletics Council and served as the U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President George W. Bush. Willeford was a witness in Vice President Dick Cheney's infamous accidental hunting incident.
Willeford was recognized as a University of Texas Distinguished Alumni in 2011 for her various efforts to further Texas education, her work as the president of the Texas Exes alumni association and fundraising efforts that helped raise money for the Texas Exes scholarship foundation.
Who: Michael Clement
Dr. Michael Clement is an accounting professor for the McCombs School of Business at Texas and has been published in dozens of financial publications. Clement also serves as the faculty representative to the Men's and Women's Athletics Councils.
The Bottom Line
Clement and Willeford were both members of the advisory committee that aided in the hiring of Steve Patterson. Their input will likely support those of the Texas Athletics Councils.
Who: Robert Rowling
Robert Rowling is a former member of the Texas Board of Regents and owner of TRT Holdings Inc., which owns Omni Hotels and Gold's Gym. Rowling was listed as Forbes' No. 93 of the 400 Richest People in America in 2013 and has an estimated net worth of $4.9 billion.
The University of Texas recognized Rowling as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2013.
Who: Charles Matthews
Charles Matthews is the current president of the Texas Exes alumni association and former vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil. Matthews was listed as one of Texas Lawyer's 25 greatest lawyers of the past quarter-century in 2010.
Matthews was inducted into the University of Texas Distinguished Alumni class of 2012. His role as president of the Texas Exes will likely represent the interests of the Texas alumni association.
Who: Charles Tate
Charles Tate is the founder of Capital Royalty. According to the company's website, Capital Royalty is an innovator of health care investing focusing on intellectual property investments in FDA-approved biopharmaceutical assets through royalty bonds, structured debt, revenue interests and traditional royalty monetization. Tate was a former business partner of regent Steve Hicks' brother, Tom, and was part of a group that funded an anti-Governor Rick Perry website to alert the public of Perry's planned attacks against UT president Bill Powers, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Bottom Line
If money talks, this trio of established alumni will have a screaming vote of who will be the Texas Longhorns' next head football coach.
Who: Ricardo Hinojosa
The Honorable Ricardo Hinojosa is the U.S. federal judge for the Southern District of Texas. Hinojosa is the only committee member who was not involved in hiring Patterson.
Hinojosa is a member of the Longhorn Foundation Advisory Council, which works with the men's and women's athletic directors to identify important needs of Texas athletics and carefully advises on the long-term plans for Texas athletics.
The University of Texas recognized Hinojosa as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2001.
The Bottom Line
Hinojosa's experience as a federal judge and deep ties as a distinguished Texas alumnus makes him a valuable asset to help the committee reach a verdict on the next Texas football coach.
Now that the advisory committee has been introduced, the focus should solely be on Steve Patterson and Jed Hughes. Hughes' input will be instrumental on the future of Texas football. But it is difficult to imagine Hughes buckling under pressure.
This is not foreign territory for the Korn Ferry recruiting executive, whose website claims it is the only firm that can help identify internal and external sports leaders and simultaneously develop them through engaging proven solutions that meet and exceed expectations.
When it comes to Patterson, this is not his first rodeo. His many years of front office experience with the Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, Portland Trailblazers and Arizona State Sun Devils and his ability to make necessary changes is why he was hired by Texas, according to Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com.
If Patterson and Hughes do their jobs, Texas has the chance of making a home run hire to take over as the Longhorns' head football coach.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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