Texas is looking for a new AD, and it's lucky for Louisville that West Virginia's Oliver Luck is getting more mention than Tom Jurich.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A straight pitch down the middle is the best way to start here. No nibbling. Oliver Luck, the athletic director at West Virginia, is the first name that has surfaced as the replacement for DeLoss Dodds, who is scheduled to announce his retirement as the Texas AD Tuesday.
Lucky for Louisville.
Lucky that Luck has a degree from the UT law school because even non-football connections like that are adorable to tunnel-vision fan bases that want one of their own.
Lucky that Luck played for the Houston Oilers and later served as the president of the Houston franchise in the MLS. Lucky that Luck once ran for Congress (in West Virginia) as a Republican because although the Longhorns' trademarks are Bevo and burnt-orange gear, UT is the signature school in the largest red state in the nation.
Lucky that Luck knows his way around the Big 12, the league that Texas runs as well as the league that handed West Virginia an invitation and Louisville an empty envelope two years ago.
Lucky that Luck checks so many of the necessary boxes and that leaving West Virginia for Texas would be the biggest no-brainer since adding facemasks to football helmets.
Because if Luck wasn't such a solid fit, a reasonable man would wonder if Texas would pursue Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich. Can you imagine what Jurich would do with all that money, all those alumni and all that pent-up passion for success?
Texas just delivered one of the most underachieving seasons in college athletics. The Longhorns have a budget larger than Western Europe. Dodds sweet-talked ESPN into setting UT up with its own television network. The Longhorns don't think they invented college football, but their name is listed in the footnotes of the founding documents.
This is what Texas got for the $163 million the athletic department spent on its college sports programs last season:
A 9-4 record in football that included one win over a ranked team as well as a 42-point loss to Oklahoma and an 18-point loss to Kansas State. UT fans want Mack Brown gone before you're finished reading this column.
A seat in the dugout during the NCAA Baseball Tournament, the first time UT has missed the event in consecutive seasons in 15 years. I mention baseball before basketball because that's what people in Texas do.
A dreadful 16-18 season in men's basketball, highlighted by three losses to Kansas State. The Longhorns have not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2011. They haven't been to the Sweet Sixteen since 2008. They're paying their coach, Rick Barnes, around $2.4 million.
Texas used to be a big deal's in women's basketball, too. Seven Big 12 teams made the NCAA women's tournament last season. Not Texas.
Yes, DeLoss Dodds is 76. But you don't have to be Earl Campbell is understand why he has decided to retire.
Texas should be delivering the kind of year that Louisville delivered last season – on a budget of less than half of what Dodds spent in Austin.
I'm not advocating Tom Jurich for the Texas job. The first thing that Jurich always mentions when he discusses personnel decisions is fit. Jurich fits Louisville like a Louisville Slugger. This is his home. He's not finished doing remarkable things here.
Look at the roster of coaches he has assembled. Look at the facilities and resources he has provided those coaches. Look at how visible he is supporting those coaches. Look at the Sugar Bowl, men's basketball title, women's runner-up finish and College World Series.
Most of all, look at where Jurich has positioned the Cardinals' program, navigating U of L away from Conference USA into the Big East and then safely into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Texas was not a fan of helping Louisville. Now it's Texas that needs help.
Those sad faces you see at Cincinnati, Connecticut and Memphis say life didn't turn out that way for everybody during conference realignment.
Texas is looking for somebody who can make the Longhorns' athletic department do great things. Good thing Oliver Luck checks so many of the important boxes.