The University of Texas takes football very seriously. They also consider the hiring of the right football coach to be a very serious matter. So serious, in fact, that they spent nearly $300,000 to find the right guy.
According to USA TODAY Sports, Texas paid $266,990 to a search firm to help find a coach for their program. The executive search firm billed Texas $250,000 for helping to hire coach Charlie Strong in January. But they also included an administrative fee of 6 percent — $15,000. That’s not all. An additional invoice charged Texas $1,990 in expenses, mostly travel expenses for the firm’s consultant.
Let’s not forget that this is Texas we’re talking about. They have one of the nation’s biggest athletic budgets with $146.8 million in operating expenses.
Texas also hired the search firm to help find a new athletic director last year for $200,000 plus expenses. That search aided in the hiring of Steve Patterson from Arizona State, who now makes $1.4 million per year. As the new athletic director, Patterson then worked with the same firm to hire head coach Strong, whose contract at Texas starts at $5 million per year.
What’s the point of using these search firms? The use of them in college sports has been somewhat controversial, especially when the candidates they find end up failing at their new jobs. It’s also been criticized because it raises the question, “Why do highly paid athletic directors need an outside contractor to hire a football coach?”
But, there are some supporters of this and they say that it helps to keep the hiring process secretive.
Texas’ contract with the firm writes that they must provide certain services to the university. These services include marketing the position, identifying a “diverse pool of talent”, screening the candidates, and helping with the interview process.
This contract was signed for the Texas coaching search on Dec. 20th in 2013. Strong’s hiring was announced 16 days later, on Jan. 5th.
16 days. That’s a short amount of time and a whole lot of money to find the right guy.
For more on this story visit: Brent Schrotenboer, USA Today Sports