Rhoades receives AD position
UH has found its new athletics director.
UH President Renu Khator announced today that Mack B. Rhoades IV will assume the duties of athletics director this fall.
Since 2006, Rhoades has served as athletics director at the University of Akron, where he led a period of great growth within the Zips athletic program. More than 450 Akron athletes made the Deans’ List in Rhoades three years there. Today, he expressed the need to improve academics among athletes at UH as well.
‘We will make that commitment because here at the University of Houston, we are going to build champions for life,’ Rhoades said. ‘It’s about taking young men and young women and developing them, so after their days at Houston they can make wonderful contributions to our society.’
Khator was on the same wavelength, assuring that athletic performance must also improve for UH to gain the necessary resources to reach flagship status.
‘I want (Rhoades) to deliver,’ Khator said. ‘I want us to be tier one in athletics. We want to make sure our players are winning the game of life.’
Under Rhoades leadership, Akron won 16 championships and had nine All-American athletes. Akron also began constructing a $54 million on-campus football stadium, which will open this fall, and completed an indoor football practice facility and student center.
Rhoades’ r’eacute;sum’eacute; gives Cougars fans plenty to get excited about, but there are many obstacles in his way. The biggest may be UH’s fan base, which has displayed pathetic attendance during the last several years.
‘In the long run, one of the biggest challenges is selling tickets,’ Rhoades said. ‘Selling tickets is the lifeblood of your program. We’re in a pro sports market, but we’re going to have to find a way to (sell tickets). We have to find a way, creatively, to get out and market this from the grassroots.’
Khator expressed the need to find an AD who can ‘engage the UH community,’ upgrade attendance and finances, and fundraise for the improvement of Robertson Stadium and other facilities. Rhoades has a track record of accomplishing all of these, which sets up what could be a wild ride to prominence within Conference USA.
‘Roll up your sleeves,’ Khator said. ‘It’s going to get fast from here.’
Rhoades is quite familiar with C-USA, working his way up to senior associate AD at the University of Texas-El Paso before arriving at Akron. This familiarity will allow Rhoades to achieve his first goal, making UH the best program in C-USA.
‘We are in a great conference,’ Rhoades said. ‘We need to be a leader in this conference across the board. That’s where we have to start.’
Rhoades was not specific on possible personnel changes, but did say he will ‘take the time to meet with everyone.’
Both Khator and Board of Regents Vice Chairman Lynden B. Rose alluded to possible changes in the athletics department. Rose told the athletics department staff, ‘thanks for a job well done.’ Khator thanked interim AD John Robinson Jr. for his services, but did not verify his job security.
Robinson Jr. was one of the finalists, but was not available for comment Thursday.
Other finalists included Oregon State associate AD Todd Stansbury, Toledo AD Mike O’Brien, Long Beach State AD Vic Cegles and former Rockets and Texans executive Steve Patterson.
For more information on this event, read The Daily Cougar on Tuesday.