Jan. 18, 2010
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS MACK RHOADES
"Good morning everyone. Happy Martin Luther King Day. We appreciate you all for being here on this very important occasion for both the university and our athletics program. Before I begin, I want to introduce some very special guests with us. First, our chancellor Dr. Renu Khator. You don't make an announcement like we are today without her full support. She has been extremely supportive of our athletics program certainly our football program. As we strive for Tier 1 status, athletics is a big part of that. We're very appreciate of Dr. Khator's support. Along with her is her husband Suresh Khator.
"Our Chairmen Welcome Wilson could not be with us today due to schedule conflicts, but we do have our Vice-Chairmen Jim P. Wise from our Board of Regents. Again I want to echo the same sentiment I made about Dr. Khator - you don't get to this point without wonderful support from our Board of Regents so I want to make sure to thank them as well.
"Again, today is a great day. This is the first step of many more of our football program reaching national prominence. We had a great year and we're very appreciate of the work by Coach Sumlin and his staff, and all our student-athletes.
"The negotiation process was very positive. It was a wonderful process and what made it a great process was two people who took the time to step in each other's shows to make sure we knew where each was coming from. I thank coach Sumlin for that. I think the hardest part of the negotiation was when Coach was in my office and asked `Mack, can I have six basketball tickets for my family in the contract.' It was terrific process and I certainly learned a lot and I hope Coach Sumlin did as well.
"We started this a week or two weeks before the UCF game and these things take time. We considered all contract elements and we certainly wanted to be respectful to the season and making sure we didn't lose focus on the games being played. We did it as expeditiously as we could but also made sure we did it the right way. With that, I'll leave it to Coach Sumlin for a few remarks."
On the Football Stadium Clause:
"It simply says that we are making a commitment. When you look to the future of our athletics program, there are some critical elements involved in it. Kevin and continuity at the head coaching position is part of that. Some other elements include growing our season ticket base is a must if we are going to be special. The other component is the facility piece. For us to reach that level that we all want to reach, we have to address Robertson Stadium, whether that is a renovation or a new stadium. It is important that if we asked Kevin to be here, we need to show our commitment to upgrade facilities within the next three years. If not, it affects his buyout clause. I think is fair for both sides and it is critical for what we need to get done in the future.
"There are several components to it. There are a couple different dates in there and it will decrease as times goes on. If we don't have a shovel in the ground by next January, then the buyout will decrease. I think it is something that is unique but also important for coach and more importantly for our program."
On the stadium progress:
"We are getting ready to name the finalist architecture firm that will do the feasibility study. We hope to finalize that contract in the next couple weeks and then there will be a 90-day period to determine the best route to proceed. We will take that study and get everything done as quickly as we can. When you talk about key moments, this is a key moment. The facilities will be a key moment. From the beginning we have talked about whether you're building new or renovating a stadium, there are so many critical decisions we want to make sure we did it the right way."
HEAD COACH Kevin Sumlin
"I want to reiterate what Mack said and thank Dr. Khator and our Board of Regents and Mack Rhoades for their vision of the future. There were key elements brought by the university, administration and leadership that really speak to the future of not only the football program, but the University of Houston. I'm excited to be a small part of that. All of those things have brought us to where we are today and hopefully those things will continue into the future. That all starts from the top and that's the reason I want to be here and look forward to great things in the future."
On other job opportunities:
"You know more about the situation when you're in it and this came down to people. It starts at the top with Dr. Khator's vision for Tier 1 which includes our football program being on top. When you look at what we have accomplished in the short time, we have a lot more we can accomplish. We are just getting started and we love it here. My family and I love living in Houston. Whenever you have success, your name comes up one of two was - either you're leaving or you're getting fired. I like the first conversation better."
On the future:
"I came to work two days after Dr. Khator started. They brought in the most important piece at the beginning. From my standpoint, knowing her vision for the university is as important as anything for me. Her energy, enthusiasm, vision is exciting as anything. Some people are looking for a program that is already at a certain point. Other coaches have other things they value in a school. But for me, I'm excited about a situation that is growing. It is very exciting to be a part of this program that has an Athletics Director and President with such a vision. This is a chance for our program to get back to where it used to be and beyond that if we continue down the path we're on."
On where the program is compared to two years ago:
"It is a whole lot easier today than it was two years ago. The first group of guys really had to have faith that we are going to win and graduate players and run a class program. Now that we are winning and doing those other things, it gets easier. When people sit down and look at where we are headed, there is still a little faith needed in our facilities. Anybody who was at the Texas Tech game can attest to the fantastic energy level. We are not at the very bottom in facilities but obviously the stadium is an important issue."