Remember when the athletic director was the quiet yet respect-commanding figure who only showed up to announce lucrative coaching extensions and eight-figure corporate agreements?
Remember when the AD was often seen, but seldom heard?
Remember when people talked more in September about what was going on between the lines and less about administrative comings and goings?
Texas President Gregory L. Fenves’ newest hire is a move in that direction. Interim athletic director Mike Perrin is an old-school Longhorn supposedly here to turn the conversation back to what’s happening at DKR on Saturdays.
Yeah, remember football season? In case you missed it amid all the hoopla surrounding Tuesday’s firing of Steve Patterson — yep, he got fired — the Longhorns are hoping to start a season 2-1 for the first time since 2012, which is also the last time the Horns actually finished a season with a win in a bowl game.
Perrin represents a return to normalcy, and in the best-case, a return to national relevance in the sports that matter.
Fenves introduced him to a media throng Wednesday morning, and Perrin looked the part of a man ready to steer things back from a direction that some in the administration, fan base, alumni base and coaching fraternity viewed as having veered way off course.
The most important thing he said Wednesday?
“I serve at the pleasure of the president.”
Translation: What Gregory L. says, goes.
To that end, I asked the new hire if he had gotten any advice from former AD DeLoss Dodds, who was seated to his right on the front row. Dodds put out his share of fires during his three decades at the helm of men’s sports at the Forty Acres.
“I spoke to him briefly after I had met with (Fenves),” Perrin said. “DeLoss has been a personal friend of mine ever since he came here through my involvement as a donor and as a volunteer from time to time. He’s someone whose counsel I will seek if he’s available. I respect him very much.”
As for Dodds, he wasn’t too interested in talking about anything outside of farming.
Upon hearing that my (fictional) rutabaga crop didn’t come in this year, he deadpanned, “More fertilizer.”
Moving forward, it’s difficult to gauge whether Perrin is interested in having that “interim” tag removed in place of “long-term,” but Fenves made a safe move with the goal of cultivating more fruitful relationships from the top to the bottom of this multi-million dollar money tree.
This Perrin move could be a win in the long run.
Especially if Texas gets back to winning where it matters most.