Texas has hired TCU athletics director Chris Del Conte to fill the same role, the school announced Saturday.
Del Conte will oversee both the men’s and women’s athletics department, an authority that Mike Perrin, Steve Patterson and even DeLoss Dodds (in his later years) did not have. Texas president Greg Fenves made the announcement in a letter to UT stakeholders on the university’s website.
Many Longhorns see Texas Athletics as a “front door” to the university — an entry point that draws thousands to campus, connects students, alumni and fans to one another, and brings out Longhorn pride. Our student-athletes embody UT’s values on the field, and our coaches represent us to the world as they improve the lives of countless players.
So it is essential that the Athletics Department be guided by a strategic, forward-thinking leader who supports students, elevates the university and strengthens the Longhorn Nation’s ties to the Forty Acres. I am delighted to announce that I have found just that person in Chris Del Conte.
Chris will begin this week as UT’s vice president and athletics director. I will introduce him at a news conference on campus Monday.
Del Conte said goodbye to TCU in a statement on his Twitter account.
Del Conte replaces long-term interim Perrin, who served nearly two and a half years after Patterson was fired 18 months onto the job. Though he did not hire the incredibly successful TCU football coach Gary Patterson and baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle, his support has allowed both programs to flourish in the Big 12. TCU boasts the state’s highest-ranked football team, and its baseball program has reached the College World Series in four straight seasons. Del Conte did hire Jamie Dixon from Pittsburgh to fix the basketball program, and a team that was the worst in the Big 12 won the NIT last season and sits at No. 20 in the AP poll today.
He was ranked as the second-best athletics director in the country in an anonymous Sports Illustrated poll of 10 ADs in August. Said one of Del Conte’s peers: “He’s got the gift of gab and he really understands the big picture.”
Del Conte worked with Tom Herman at Rice, and the pair will be expected to lock arms to rebuild the Longhorns’ football program. Additionally, Del Conte will be asked to oversee the construction of a new basketball arena and to shepherd the university through the coming shifts in the twin tectonic plates supporting college athletics — television rights and conference alignment. The Big 12’s grant of rights contract expires in the middle of the next decade, and Del Conte will be tasked with finding Texas the right home, whether it be in the Big 12 or elsewhere.
His contract will last seven years with a salary starting at $1.3 million, and he will be introduced in a press conference on Monday.