Red McCombs

Red McCombs, San Antonio businessman and UT alumnus and donor, spoke about his career in sports ownership at the John B. Connally Center for Justice on Friday. McCombs also discussed the state of Longhorn football and its future.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Red McCombs, San Antonio businessman and UT alumnus and donor, criticized the UT football team’s recent performance at a sports law conference held on campus Friday, saying he believes recruitment is the key to getting the Longhorns on a winning track.

McCombs joked about the football team’s performance so far, referencing the team’s 41-7 loss to Brigham Young University.

“Have they played yet?” McCombs said.

McCombs said more FBS players come from Texas than any other state, and he believes Texas head coach Charlie Strong needs to build up his relationship with Texas high school coaches in order to attract talent. 

“Our problem is in selection, and I’m sure Coach Strong will build a relationship with these Texas high school coaches, the same as he did the Florida high school coaches,” McCombs said. “I say we’ll be back on a winning track, but it’ll probably be another three years before we get there.”

In January, McCombs criticized Strong’s hiring in an interview with 1250 ESPN San Antonio. 

“I don’t have any doubt that Charlie [Strong] is a fine coach,” McCombs said in the interview. “I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.”

McCombs later apologized for the comments. 

The conference, held at the John B. Connally Center for Justice and hosted by the Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law, focused on the changing landscape of media in regard to sports and entertainment. 

Law student Cindy Troy, who helped organize the event, said McCombs was chosen to speak because of his legal expertise and experience in the sports industry. 

“[He’s had a] huge impact on the sports industry with owning teams and managing teams,” Troy said. “He is clearly a successful operator.”

McCombs previously owned the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings. According to the San Antonio Express-News, he has a reported net worth of $1.4 billion. McCombs said he expects sports to become more popular as technology changes. 

“We’re going to see a lot more sports right now as we have more and more platforms that we can deliver sports with,” McCombs said. “You’re going to see them become more and more popular.”

Law student Aaron Gregg said hearing McCombs speak was a great opportunity, and he learned a lot about how law interacts with the sports industry. 

“[The] key is to see how varied the possibilities are for lawyers to make an impact on sports,” Gregg said.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Update at 4:50 p.m.: The UT System Board of Regents opted to take no action regarding President William Powers Jr.'s employment situation Thursday afternoon, though UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa issued a strong warning to Powers to "improve relationships" with the UT System and the board.

After being in executive session for nearly four-and-a-half hours, Cigarroa made a lengthy statement to the board in which he alternated between criticizing and praising Powers. Cigarroa said Powers had made public statements that showed misalignment between UT and the System despite being in agreement, and that Powers had been at times difficult to work with. Cigarroa also acknowledged Powers' broad support among faculty, students and alumni, and that a change in leadership would make it difficult for recruitment. He said the relationship between himself and Powers has also improved recently.

Cigarroa then recommended keeping Powers as the president of UT, and board Chairman Paul Foster adjourned the meeting.

"I'm optimistic about the future of UT-Austin, and I'm confident all this controversy will soon be a distant memory," Foster said.

After the decision, Powers said he is thankful for the chancellor's support.

Update at 4:35 p.m.: UT System Board of Regents take no action regarding Powers.

Update at 4:31 p.m.: UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa: "I am hopeful that the strained relationship [between Powers and the UT System] can be improved... it is my recommendation that Bill Powers remains president of the University of Texas at Austin."

Update at 4:15 p.m.: The UT System Board of Regents have just ended executive session are allowing media and outside personnel to convene in the conference room.

Update at 11:15 a.m.: Brown said he would not speak on his employment situation during the press conference, saying he needed to speak with President William Powers Jr. and new men's head athletic director Steve Patterson before doing so. Brown also apologized to Valero Alamo Bowl officials for his job status serving as a "distraction."

Brown avoided questions about his future during the press conference, making a brief statement and then asking the media to refrain from asking questions unless they were about the Alamo Bowl.

Afterwards, university benafactor Red McCombs spoke to the media and had this to say about Brown's situation.

"I think that Mack has earned the right to choose whatever he wants to do, whether he wants to stay or he wants to go," McCombs said.... "If you can find a reason to get rid of a guy like that, you’d really have to reach."

He also had the quote of the day when he spoke about Texas' potential interest in Alabama head coach Nick Saban and if Texas had enough money to sway him to Austin.

"I don't think there's any question," McCombs said. "All the money that's not in the Vatican is up at UT."

Original: On the second day of final exams, two of the University’s most prominent faces will be sizing up to tests of their own.

The UT System Board of Regents plans to hold a discussion “concerning [the] employment” of President William Powers Jr. at its meeting today, according to the board’s agenda.

Meanwhile, about 80 miles south in San Antonio, football head coach Mack Brown faces questions from reporters about his job situation for the first time since reports of him stepping down emerged earlier this week. The University strongly denied those reports. Brown is in San Antonio for a coaches availability for the Valero Alamo Bowl, in which the Longhorns will face of with the Oregon Ducks on Dec. 30.

The tenuous employment situations of the pair of friends and hexagenarians have been ongoing since 2010.

Powers and a handful of the regents have disagreed over a range of topics including the purpose of higher education, tuition increases and fundraising. Currently, the Texas Legislature is holding impeachment hearings on whether Regent Wallace Hall overstepped his duties as a regent, with allegations that he was leading a “witch hunt” to oust Powers.

And Brown, after leading the Longhorns to nine straight seasons of 10 wins or more and a national championship, has struggled to get Texas back on track after a disastrous 5-7 season in 2010.

Powers and Brown are also being evaluated by a different pair of eyes than they had in the past. Gov. Rick Perry appointed two new regents — Jeffrey Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda — to the board in February, while the University hired Steve Patterson last month to replace long-time men’s head athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who will be retiring in August.

Check in with The Daily Texan for updates on Brown and Powers through the day.

Senior Taylor Hoagland leads the thunderous Longhorn lineup with a .451 batting average and 51 walks this year.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

The No. 6 Longhorns (35-4) will welcome Iowa State (18-19) to Red and Charline McCombs field this weekend for a three-game series as the first of five straight series against Big 12 opponents to end the season.

The Cyclones have struggled this season, losing games to smaller schools such as IPFW, UTSA, Valparaiso and Florida Gulf Coast. Then, in their first conference series, they were swept by Baylor.

But Iowa State has bounced back recently, sweeping Oklahoma State to even out its conference record at 3-3, and defeating Drake. They now come to Austin with a little momentum, riding a four-game winning streak.

The momentum might not be enough, though, as they face an even hotter team in Texas, which has won 12 in a row.

At the plate, Texas hitters should dominate against the worst pitching team in the Big 12. Iowa State has a 6.22 team ERA and not one pitcher that boasts an ERA better than any of Texas’ four pitchers.

In the circle, Texas may have even a bigger advantage. The nation’s second-best pitching team will look to stymie the Cyclones at the plate the way they’ve done with other teams recently. Blaire Luna (19-1), who boasts a team-best 1.04 ERA, shouldn’t have much to worry about against Iowa State and their .301 team batting average. While a few Cyclones do have decent batting averages, there isn’t one Cyclone hitter that stands out.

Not only does Texas have more talent, but Iowa State has struggled mightily on the road, where it’s 0-10 this season.

As for the Longhorns, they look to improve upon their perfect 5-0 conference record. Only once has a Texas team started Big 12 play 7-0, and the Longhorns have a golden opportunity to do it this year.

This week, Luna and Taylor Hoagland were both selected as two of the top 25 finalists for the Amateur Softball Association of America’s 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, the most prestigious award in DI softball.

Hoagland leads the nation in on-base percentage (.648) and walks (51) while boasting a .451 batting average, while Luna is seventh in ERA and leads the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (12.9). Luna, who’s gone 99-24 in four seasons with the Longhorns, will also be looking to pick up career win No. 100 this weekend. 

University of Texas president William Powers Jr. expressed his support for Longhorns head football coach Mack Brown on Thursday, ensuring everyone that his job security is not in question.

“Now that the Longhorns football team has finished its regular season, there has been an increase in media speculation about Coach Mack Brown’s future,” Powers wrote on his Tower Talk blog Wednesday afternoon. “I’d like to state unequivocally that Coach Brown has my full support as well as the support of Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. Put succinctly, Mack Brown is and will remain the Longhorns’ head football coach.”

Brown has served as Texas’ head football coach since the 1998 season, going 149-43 (.776) in 15 years. After nine consecutive 10-win seasons, which included the program’s fourth national championship in 2005 and a national title game appearance in 2009, the Longhorns have posted a 21-16 record over the last three seasons.

The Longhorns (8-4) will face Oregon State (9-3) in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

“Coach Brown restored Texas’ winning tradition,” Powers continued. “He embodies the Texas character, is a superb ambassador for The University of Texas, and runs a program that is both winning and clean, a program that all alumni and fans can and should be proud of.”

Powers isn’t the only one to publicly voice support for Brown recently. Prominent UT booster Red McCombs told The Daily Texan last Wednesday that he did not anticipate Brown leaving any time soon.

“I think we’ve been blessed to have Mack Brown as our coach,” McCombs said over the phone. “I expect him to be the coach for many years. In any event, if he were to leave the coaching job, I’d expect that to be his prerogative and not somebody else’s. Any reports to the contrary are unfounded.”

Brown, who made $5.3 million this year, agreed to a contract extension last year through 2020. If he were to be fired before Dec. 31, his buyout would cost $3.5 million. If Brown was fired before the end of 2014, he would be owed $2.75 million, a number that goes down to $2.25 million at the end of 2016 and $2 million at the end of 2017.

“Mack cares about the young men on the team as people, students, and as players, in that order, and he models the kind of leadership that will serve our players for the rest of their lives,” Powers wrote. “I look forward to watching this young team win the Alamo Bowl and continue to grow in the seasons to come.”

UT president backs Mack Brown, says he will keep his job as Longhorns head football coach

University of Texas president William Powers Jr. expressed his support for Longhorns head football coach Mack Brown on Thursday, ensuring everyone that is job security is not in question.

"Now that the Longhorns football team has finished its regular season, there has been an increase in media speculation about Coach Mack Brown's future," Powers wrote on his Tower Talk blog Wednesday afternoon. "I'd like to state unequivocally that Coach Brown has my full support as well as the support of Men's Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds. Put succintly, Mack Brown is and will remain the Longhorns' head football coach."

Brown has served as Texas' head football coach since the 1998 season, going 149-43 (.776) in 15 years. After nine consecutive 10-win seasons, which included the program's fourth national championship in 2005 and a national title game appearance in 2009, the Longhorns have posted a 21-16 record over the last three seasons.

The Longhorns (8-4) will face Oregon State (9-3) in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29.

"Coach Brown restored Texas' winning tradition," Powers continued. "He embodies the Texas character, is a superb ambassador for The University of Texas, and runs a program that is both winning and clean, a program that all alumni and fans can and should be proud of."

Powers isn't the only one to publicly voice their support for Brown recently. Prominent UT booster Red McCombs told The Daily Texan last Wednesday that he did not anticipate Brown leaving any time soon.

"I think we've been blessed to have Mack Brown as our coach," McCombs said over the phone. "I expect him to be the coach for many years. In any event, if he were to leave the coaching job, I'd expect that to be his perogative and not somebody else's. Any reports to the contrary are unfounded."

Brown, who made $5.3 million this year, agreed to a contract extension last year through 2020. If he were to be fired before Dec. 31, his buyout would be $3.5 million. If Brown was fired, before the end of 2014, he would be owed $2.75 million, a number that goes down to $2.25 million at the end of 2016 and $2 million at the end of 2017.

"Mack cares about the young men on the team as people, students, and as players, in that order, and he models the kind of leadership that will serve our players for the rest of their lives," Powers wrote. "I look forward to watching this young team win the Alamo Bowl and continue to grow in the seasons to come."

Top booster McCombs voices support for Mack Brown

As rumors regarding the status of Texas head coach Mack Brown gain steam on fan message boards, notable Longhorns athletic donor Red McCombs told The Daily Texan on Wednesday that Brown would have the job as long as he wants it.

“I think we’ve been blessed to have Mack Brown as our coach I expect him to be the coach for manys years. In any event, if he were to leave the coaching job I’d expect that to be his prerogative and not somebody else’s,” McCombs said over the phone. “Any reports to the contrary are unfounded.”

Texas’ football program currently sits at a crossroads. Two wins in the next two games ­— Saturday at Kansas State and in the bowl game — would give the team 10 wins for the first time since 2009. But if the Longhorns fail to win another game, they’d finish 8-5 for the second season in a row. On paper, that hardly signals improvement.

In his Monday press conference, Brown was adamant that he’d plan to return for his 16th season. His contract, $5.3 million a year, runs through 2020. Later that afternoon, reports surfaced on premium fan sites InsideTexas.com and Orangebloods.com that boosters were growing wary of Brown’s direction of the program and impatient of its slow climb back to prominence after the 5-7 record in 2010.