In a move that broke behind some paywalls yesterday and was publicly confirmed by UT President Greg Fenves this afternoon, Texas has removed the "Interim" tag from Mike Perrin's title:
UT president makes it official: Perrin to remain AD through 2017-'18. https://t.co/7C1llE72z7
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) December 3, 2015
Perrin's deal now stretches through the 2017-18 academic year. His interim stint certainly didn't lack for headlines - he definitively threw his support behind Charlie Strong as anti-Charlie sentiment reached a fever pitch in some circles, and brought a quarter-billion dollar Nike deal across the finish line.
Perrin appears to boast a near-100% Approval Rating from everyone who's interacted with him on a personal or professional basis (in, shall we say, stark contrast to his predecessor,) and his career success and Burnt Orange bona fides are without question.
Of course there's no such thing as a real-life 100% Approval Rating, and there have already been a few message-board calls for Texas to "hire a real AD, already!" One has to wonder, though, given Texas' (not totally unqualified, but still largely enviable) 30-year run of success under a former Big Eight track coach and the wisps of smoke still emanating from the crater left by a well-coiffed misanthrope who swooped into town on the back of a letter-perfect "Athletic Executive" resume - to what end? Perrin may not choose to remain in the gig past the duration of his new contract, so at some point Texas will need to tab the right person to lead them into the 2020's. In the meantime, though, it would be tough to invent a better steward for the program as a whole than someone who:
- Commands the respect of the Longhorns' big-money donors
- Carries the football acumen to make informed judgments as Strong's tenure works its way through a major inflection point in 2016
- Can make decisions guided solely by his belief for what's in Texas' best interests without concern for his job security should he get on the wrong side of some faction or another
While the future of the football program figures to be a hot-button issue until Strong either wins the conference or gets replaced, there figures to be plenty on Perrin's plate for the next couple of years. Perhaps the biggest bidness deal will be finalizing a deal for the University's new basketball arena, as the construction of the Dell Medical School will have us bidding adieu to the Erwin Center within the next decade.
Of course, the potential of a fully engaged and optimized Longhorn Athletic Department is nigh-boundless. I propose Question Time for Mike, with some queries around just how that kind of optimization could be realized. Here's mine:
If, by 2020, The University of Texas isn't giving MIT a run for its money in advanced sports analytics, and Stanford a run for its money in advanced sports science - why not?
What questions would you have for our Dear Mike column, and what kinds of outcomes do you hope to see from his tenure?