In 32 years of unprecedented leadership as a NCAA Division I athletics director, DeLoss Dodds has guided the University of Texas to national acclaim and championship success.
Dodds also been a sports pioneer creating the national model for intercollegiate athletics fundraising, playing a central role in forming the Big 12 Conference and guiding it through conference realignment, and launching the first sports network devoted to a single school.
Dodds announced Tuesday, Oct. 1 his intention to retire as the Men’s Athletics Director, effective Aug. 31, 2014.
“I love The University of Texas, and I love the people. We’ve had a great run,” said the 76-year-old Dodds. “I have been contemplating this decision for awhile. (University of Texas President) Bill Powers and I have talked it over, and this is something I am ready to do at this time.”
Dodds said he will remain active through the department’s transition and help the UT athletics department prepare for new leadership. Powers will lead the efforts to find a new Texas AD.
“DeLoss Dodds is one of the giants of college athletics,” Powers said. “His vision reshaped the University of Texas and the entire NCAA, and it’s been an honor to both work with him and call him a friend for so many years. I know that we will never truly be able to replace DeLoss Dodds. But the house that he built will remain strong for future generations of Longhorns.”
Since Dodds became the ninth athletics director in the fall of 1981, Texas men’s athletics has enjoyed some of its most dynamic times. Under his guidance, the Texas Longhorns have won 14 National Championships and 108 conference (Southwest Conference and Big 12) titles in nine different men’s sports.
Football’s fourth national title at the 2006 Rose Bowl highlights a decade of excellence that featured at least 10 victories in nine consecutive seasons, five-straight bowl victories and appearances in the national title game in 2006 and 2010.
“He’s a man of great character who accomplished all of that while maintaining great integrity and honesty, just the perfect model for an athletics director,” said Texas football coach Mack Brown. “We are so lucky to have him.”
Additionally, men’s Basketball advanced to a school-record 14 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a Final Four appearance in 2003, Sweet 16 appearances in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008 and three Elite Eight appearances in 2003, 2006 and 2008. Baseball has advanced to the NCAA Men’s College World Series seven times since 2000, winning national championships in 2002 and 2005.
“No one person has seen college athletics change more than DeLoss Dodds,” said Rick Barnes, Texas men’s basketball head coach. “The way that he handled and adapted to all these changes has separated him from everyone else in the business. Honestly, if the NCAA is going to name trophies after people for their accomplishments, they should think about putting his name on their award of the highest honor.”
Dodds says “verything we do here is for the kids” to help them succeed in the classroom, in their sport and in overall life experience at Texas and beyond. Dodds’ goal from the beginning was to build a state-of-the-art program. Over the past two decades, UT has invested nearly $400 million to renovate or build facilities for its student-athletes.
“He’s not only a great guy who is unbelievably supportive of all of us, but he also did everything in his power to provide a first-class experience in every area that touched our lives,” said Ricky Williams, Texas’ 1998 Heisman Trophy winner. “DeLoss was there for us in victory and defeat, brought in the best staff in America to coach and develop us and provided us with the resources that helped us achieve on the field, in the classroom and in life. I have great appreciation for everything he’s done for me.”
Dodds, who oversees the largest athletics budget in the country, created the national model for intercollegiate athletics fundraising. In 1986, he guided the creation of The Longhorn Foundation, the department’s official fundraising leg. Before its existence, approximately $250,000 was raised annually by various UT sport booster clubs. Through Dodds’ vision, those clubs were folded under the umbrella of The Longhorn Foundation, which raised more than $1 million in its first year.
In the history of the foundation, which now boasts more than 13,000 donors, more than $400 million has been raised for student-athlete scholarships, academic services, sports medicine and facilities.
Dodds was a central figure in forming the Big 12 Conference, which began competition in 1996-97. UT has been a committed member of the Big 12 since its inception, and Dodds’ stable vision helped guide the Big 12 through the unstable climate of conference realignment in the summer of 2010.
In January 2011, UT and ESPN announced the creation of the Longhorn Network, the first sports network devoted to a single school. LHN launched on Aug. 26, 2011, and has since been awarded with eight Regional Emmy Awards.
For 2012-13, LHN will televise more than 175 original events and 700 original studio shows. In addition, more than 400 hours of coverage will be devoted to live campus events.
Dodds was honored as the 2005 and 2011 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, the two leading publications on the business of sports. He also earned the United States Sports Academy’s 2002 Carl Maddox Sports Management Award.
Dodds received the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame’s John L. Toner Award in December 2006 for demonstrating superior administrative abilities and showing outstanding dedication to college athletics, particularly college football. In February 2007, Dodds was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Prior to his time at Texas, Dodds turned a struggling, “in-the-red” athletics department into a money-maker in three years as director of athletics at Kansas State. He also served as assistant commissioner at the Big Eight Conference for two years.
Born in Riley, Kan., Dodds was a prep football, basketball and track standout known as the “Riley Flash.” He later graduated from Kansas State in 1959 with a degree in physical education and a minor in psychology.
After spending time in graduate school and six months in the Army as a tank commander, Dodds returned to his alma mater as assistant track coach in 1961. He became head track coach in 1963, and in 14 years as head coach, Dodds guided the Wildcats to six Big Eight titles.