The University of Texas has hired Charlie Strong to be the next football coach and at least one wealthy booster is not happy.
Red McCombs, the former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Vikings, told ESPN Radio that he considered the hiring of strong “a kick to the face” saying he felt Strong “would make a great position coach” (via ESPN.com). McCombs had previously lobbied publicly for the school to hire former NFL coach Jon Gruden.
McCombs comments show that there is a downside to having a wealthy athletic program that is in-part financed by the donations of wealthy boosters.
According to ESPN, McCombs has donated more than $US100 million to the university and now he clearly feels that the money has earned him the right to at least influence, if not actually make, the single most important decision that an athletic director has.
McCombs explained to ESPN Radio that he and other boosters “that have a lot of knowledge about the game” had a lot of input in the hiring of Mack Brown in 1998. However, it sounds like new Texas AD Steve Patterson did not grant the boosters the same influence this time around.
When Mack Brown resigned he stated that the program is “being pulled in different directions.” Now it is clear that much of that political in-fighting was due to boosters wanting to influence the process.
It seems clear that some boosters wanted Brown to stay. Some wanted him gone. Then, after Brown left, the school and the boosters couldn’t agree on who to hire and now, at least some of those boosters are wondering what they got for their money.
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