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Notes From Former Texas Player & Donor Meeting

Erich Schlegel

A friend met Coach Strong after the press conference in a get-to-know-you session held for some of the external stakeholders and former Texas players.  I wanted to share some of his impressions.  They made me happy.  The bold part is his info, the rest is my babbling.

Here goes:

A few big donors were MIA.  The types who never miss anything.  Interpret as you will.

My opinion?  I'll go with a mix of protest over Brown and hurt feelings at not being consulted in (read: directing) the process when it was time for the change.  Ironically, many of these guys wanted a stronger hand and more accountability from Bellmont, but part of that means that they have to develop a more normal, healthy and sane relationship with the AD and head coach.

Involving the donors was crucial in the Mack Brown era as a clueless Texas administration had utterly alienated them with the end of Akers to McWilliams to Mackovic wander in the desert, but Brown didn't establish proper boundaries while otherwise masterfully building his coalition and Dodds was hands off if the checks aren't bouncing, preferring political triangulation to confrontation. Naturally, big donors began to hold sway in ways that were unhealthy - some in blind support of the Mack personality cult enabled by their unfettered access, others seeking to end Brown's failing program with end-arounds on a somnolent administration.

Patterson, and to a lesser degree, Strong, will be resented for setting boundaries, but once the emotion works its way out, the sharpest big donors will understand the importance of mutual accountability and the need for a healthy correction.  We need a middle ground between ignoring our donors and kowtowing to them.  And in fairness to the bolder ones, if Bellmont wouldn't impose accountability on the athletics program, they damn sure would try. Have we acted much differently here?

Charlie Strong is personable one-on-one and a straight-shooter.  Looks you right in the eye and answers your question, whatever it may be.

We're not hiring someone to open up a branch of Toastmasters or act as the leading wit in the British House of Commons.  I believe he's very effective in small settings, in a living room, and teaching his subject matter on a football field.  Welcome to the secret power of introverts.

He asked him about his staff and Strong smiled from ear to ear and said that the resources available to him are "unbelievable." He will put together his "dream staff" built up over three decades of coaching contacts.

Frankly, I was concerned about whether Strong got this.  I doubt he brings more than 1/3rd of his Louisville guys and retains few of our current staff.  From a recruiting standpoint, Strong's reputation in Florida is sterling and he's not going to walk away from that.  If he'll throw me a bone with a Southern California coach, it's dream coverage for target rich national recruiting.

Watson remaining as OC will be telling, IMO.

Strong is going to meet with all of the Texas staff, figure out who may or may not fit based on availabilities, and then start working the phones (or answering his).  Expect a staff within 7-10 days.

Already been reported that Bo Davis is going to USC.  S&C coach Bennie Wylie has been released.

That's all I've got.