Football

Who is Mike Perrin, Texas’ interim athletic director?

Perrin once owned Smokey the cannon fired at Longhorns' football games

Posted September 15th, 2015

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When Mike Perrin was inducted into the Texas Athletics Men’s Hall of Honor, he was hailed as being “a great example of the student-athlete.”

Perrin was a linebacker under legendary UT coach Darrell Royal and played on the 1968 team that started the program’s 30-game winning streak. Perrin was an all-Southwest Conference selection and went on to earn a degree from the UT law school.

Mike Perrin was named the interim athletics director at the University of Texas.

Perrin, now a Houston-based attorney, will be the program’s interim athletic director, the American-Statesmen first reported on Tuesday. UT President Gregory L. Fenves confirmed the appointment late Tuesday.

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Little known fact about Perrin: he once owned Smokey, the cannon that fires every time Texas scores.

Perrin was a leader in the Texas Cowboys, an on-campus spirit organization. He bought the cannon from the Cowboys after the group was kicked off campus in 1995. Gabe Higgins, a 19-year-old died in the Colorado River after drinking during initiation. The Cowboys were disbanded for five years.

Perrin wanted to protect Smokey when the Longhorns moved from the SWC to the Big 12 Conference.

“I was fearful that the Cowboys might not come back, and I didn’t want the Southwest Conference to vanish without Smokey,” Perrin said in an 2008 interview with the Alcalde, UT’s alumni magazine. “And I wanted Smokey to be a tradition in the Big 12.”

Perrin leased the cannon to the Silver Spurs, the group that manages Bevo XIV, for five years at $1 annually. The cannon eventually was taken back by the Texas Cowboys upon their return back to campus.

Perrin started his own law practice in 1991, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was inducted into the UT Men’s Hall of Honor in 2010 along with running back Ricky Williams.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the University’s confirmation of Perrin’s hire.

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