AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Longtime Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds will step down in August 2014 and move into a consulting role at the nation’s wealthiest college athletic program, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.
The school is expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday, according to the person who spoke condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt a statement from university officials.
The Austin American-Statesman first reported Dodds’ decision.
Dodds could not immediately be reached for comment. Dodds vigorously denied a report earlier this month that he was stepping down on Dec. 31. Under the retirement plan to be announced Tuesday, Dodds will remain on the job through Aug. 31, 2014 and move into a consulting role through 2015.
Dodds is under contract at Texas through 2015 at $700,000 per year with a $1 million annuity if he’s employed at the end of August 2014.
Dodds, 76, came to Texas from Kansas State in 1981. During his tenure, the Texas men’s program has won 14 national championships and 107 conference titles, most notably the 2005 national football championship.
Texas also modernized and expanded its stadiums and facilities and grew into a massive, money-generating machine that brought in $163 million last year. Dodds — who once said about Texas’ wealth, “We are the Joneses” — oversaw the school’s shift from the old Southwest Conference to the Big 12, and Texas’ 20-year, $300 million partnership with ESPN for the Longhorn Network, a 24-hour channel dedicated to Longhorns sports.
The Longhorn Network, which was seen as an innovative product when first announced, also proved to be a wedge between Texas and several Big 12 schools, some of whom eventually left the league. The network struggled to gain major distribution until finally signing a deal in August with Time Warner Cable to be broadcast to Time Warner customers in Texas.
Even with the financial and championship success of previous years, Dodds has been under fire from some Texas fans upset with three sub-par seasons by the football team under coach Mack Brown and last season’s losing record in men’s basketball, the program’s first since 1997.
Dodds’ decision to retire will ignite new speculation over Brown’s future. Dodds and university President Bill Powers have been among Brown’s fiercest defenders, but the Longhorns football team is 2-2 this season heading into Thursday night’s game at Iowa State.
Earlier this month, a Texas regent said he and a prominent former regent spoke in January with Alabama coach Nick Saban’s agent in an attempt to lure Saban to Texas if Brown retired. And Sunday, former Texas running back and Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell said Brown should be replaced.
Dodds’ protracted retirement would give him a chance to oversee any potential changes. Last week, Dodds told the Dallas Morning News he would still be willing to make a tough decision on an underperforming coach, but did not mention any specific names or sport.
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