Through three weeks as Texas’ interim athletic director, Mike Perrin was beginning to look like a black cat.
The football team lost on late-game miscues against Cal and Oklahoma State, and was annihilated at TCU.
So Perrin was understandably ecstatic after a surprise win over Oklahoma on Oct. 10.
“Charlie (Strong) was the happiest about it, but I was No. 2,” Perrin said.
On Sunday, Perrin spoke at The Texas Tribune Festival at the Student Activity Center where he gushed about Strong, the second-year coach whom some pundits predict won’t lead the Longhorns back to national prominence.
But Perrin’s opinion matters most — at least for as long as he remains athletic director — and he says he is squarely in Strong’s corner.
“I remain convinced Charlie Strong is the man to lead our football program,” Perrin said.
Perrin said he believes Strong “did a remarkable job last year” considering quarterback David Ash was lost for the season before the second game because of concussions. This season, with freshmen sprinkled all over Strong’s depth chart, Perrin said he anticipates a better product in the second half of the season.
Texas (2-4, 1-2 Big 12) was off this weekend and will host Kansas State next Saturday.
“I expect the second half to be a continued phase of improvement,” Perrin said.
Perrin touched on several topics during the one-hour discussion:
- On getting the job full-time, he said “that’s not my call.” University president Gregory L. Fenves holds that power, and by all appearances, Fenves will take his time before announcing a permanent plan. Perrin may have dropped a hint about his desires when he said, “I have been surprised how much I’ve enjoyed the job.” He says he is not viewing his position as “caretaker” and that he is considering the long-term when making decisions.
- On a new basketball arena, Perrin said he wants it to be on campus or adjacent to campus if on the other side of I-35. Construction won’t begin for another five years or more.
- On alcohol sales at home football games, Perrin said law enforcement has informed him there have been fewer drunken incidents than in past years, presumably because fans are pacing themselves throughout the day and not overindulging before games.
- Perrin, the son of an Aggie father, said he couldn’t give a direct answer about reviving Texas’ football series with A&M, but acknowledged “there’s pressure from many areas for that game to resume.” In a recent interview with Texas Monthly, UT system chancellor William McRaven said, “I’m a big believer that we need to get back and play that game.”
- Perrin said he’s “looking very hard at” the no-resale policy of discounted football tickets implemented by former athletic director Steve Patterson. Faculty members were forbidden from putting their tickets on the open market and making a profit. Perrin’s pet peeve is seeing empty seats.
- Perrin declined to comment on negotiations with athletic apparel companies as well as on Oklahoma State’s lawsuit against offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Perrin said he’s “not prepared to comment” on Kendall Sanders’ acquittal on sexual assault charges because he is not familiar with the ruling that led to Sanders’ expulsion from the school. Sanders, a former Longhorns receiver, was found not guilty on Friday and said he’d like to return to the university.