In an open letter summarizing his first full semester, Texas President Gregory L. Fenves offered more support for football coach Charlie Strong and believes “the team is heading in the right direction.”
When Fenves took over in June, he admitted that athletics wasn’t a strong suit. But Fenves made several key athletic decisions, several of which were addressed in a letter posted on UT’s website on Wednesday.
“At my inaugural State of the University address, I said that for many, Texas Athletics is the front door to the university,” Fenves wrote. “I am glad that Mike Perrin agreed to serve as Men’s Athletics director for the next two years. I look forward to working with Mike, along with Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky, to continue moving Texas Athletics forward.
“The Longhorn victory over the Baylor Bears in Waco was thrilling to watch, and I am excited for next season,” Fenves added. “Under Coach Charlie Strong’s leadership and with great young student-athletes returning, the team is heading in the right direction.”
From an athletic standpoint, it’s been a whirlwind semester.
As one of his first decisions inside the UT Tower, Fenves ordered an internal review of the academic services offered to athletes after it was learned that former men’s basketball players may have acted inappropriately. That review by Alabama attorney Gene Marsh is expected to be completed this month.
Then on Sept. 15, Fenves fired unpopular athletic director Steve Patterson and installed Mike Perrin, first as the interim AD and then making it a permanent decision. Perrin and Fenves also completed a shoe and apparel deal with Nike worth a record-breaking $250 million.
Fenves, a regular at football games, went above and beyond last Friday. He jumped on a private plane with Perrin and Strong and flew to Tulsa, Okla., to personally convince Tulsa assistants Sterlin Gilbert and Matt Mattox to join Strong’s coaching staff.
On Saturday, Fenves sat in the middle of the student section at the Erwin Center when the men’s basketball team knocked off third-ranked North Carolina. He went over to Gregory Gym to see the volleyball team advance to the NCAA national semifinals.
Then on Sunday, Fenves was back at the Erwin Center to see the UT women’s team beat No. 14 Stanford “to round out a terrific weekend,” he wrote.
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