Just a day or two after Bill Byrne announced his “retirement” as Texas A&M’s athletic director earlier this past week, Mack Rhoades, Byrne’s contemporary at Houston, was mentioned as a potential successor.
Not so coincidentally, reports subsequently emerged that UH had been proactive in guarding against an attempted pilfering.
According to Mark Berman, sport director of KRIV-TV in Houston, Rhoades and the university reached an agreement on a new five-year contract earlier this year. The Houston Chronicle confirmed the new contract as well.
The new deal will pay Rhoades $500,000 annually, up from $350,000 a year in his old deal. Berman also writes that “the deal includes an incentives package”, presumably above the $75,000 annually for which he’s currently eligible.
While the new contract, signed in January, doesn’t necessarily preclude Rhoades from bolting for the Aggies, the AD said in a statement that he hasn’t spoken to anyone about a job at another school and doesn’t appear particularly interested if they were to call.
“I am very happy at the University of Houston and certainly appreciate how diligently our student-athletes, coaches and staff have worked to create a championship culture,” Rhoades said in the statement provided to local media outlets.
“One byproduct of that success is other programs take notice and it’s flattering. We have schools reach out about our people all the time, but as for me, I have not spoken to anyone about another job. My complete focus is on the University of Houston. We have accomplished a great deal in a short period of time, but the road is just beginning.”
During his three years at UH, Rhoades has, among other things, spearheaded the effort to raise funds for a new stadium, which is scheduled to begin construction in December. He will also lead UH from Conference USA to the Big East in 2013.
This would’ve been the Aggies’ second attempt in six months at raiding UH’s athletic department. The first attempt was successful as the Aggies hired Kevin Sumlin away from the Cougars as the replacement for Mike Sherman.