IMG_0252.png

It is official: UTSA will have a football program, and athletic officials hope for it to be in place by 2011.

The program was approved by the University of Texas Board of Regents during a December meeting in Austin.

“At first it was hard to think that it actually happened after such a long time of being in the process, but we had to be sophisticated about it. It was just surreal,” UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey said.

In Fall 2007, UTSA students voted on a referendum to increase student athletic fees over the next four years to support the funding of a football program and to advance the 16 current sports at UTSA.

Although football has been approved, UTSA still has much to do before San Antonio will see any Roadrunners on the gridiron.

The university’s plan for 2009 is to launch a fundraising campaign, to begin looking for a head coach and assistant coaches as well as to recruit players. Over the next 5-7 years, athletics will need to raise at least $15 million to support the operations of a football program in a Division I conference.

According to Hickey and Brad Parrott, the associate athletic director of external affairs, there has been a significant amount of interest in the head coaching position as well as the assistant spots.

“I really have been surprised by the quantity and quality of interest in the head coaching job,” Parrott said.

According to Parrott, no one has yet to apply for the head coaching position, which is rumored come with a $150,000 salary.

A stump UTSA has run into is a designated office space for a football coach and his or her staff. There also would be a lack of space for training and locker rooms. Parrott said temporary barracks would be set up for the football program.

Hickey and Parrott explained that the most appealing aspect of the position for candidates has been San Antonio.

“There has been an enormous amount of interest in the city of San Antonio-all of the conventions, the Final Fours and the recruiting potential of the city,” Parrott said.

Over the past four years, Hickey and Parrott have received calls from people interested in the job as well as “big names” supporting an individual interested in the position.

“We’ve had interest from high school coaches for assistant positions, to coaches from Division III, to position coaches from Division I interested in the head-coaching job,” Parrott said. “There also has been some interest from past and present NFL position coaches.”

Hickey said she and her staff did have a few “dream candidates,” but they are waiting to see their options first before they reach out to them.

Parrott said the university is reluctant to bring in a high school coach for the top position, but athletic officials have insisted that they will consider all proposals.

“I think we have options that fall into all category needs of what we want in a football coach,” Parrott said. “Anyone who knows Lynn knows she is going to work hard and make the right choice. That is what she has done with every coach here.”

Parrott explained that the athletics department plans to include students when major decisions are announced, such as the hiring of a head coach. But for now, their focus is on fundraising.

“A dream would be for someone to step up and give $15 million,” Parrott said.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the ‘best case’ football timeline?

2009: Launch $15 million fundraising campaign

2009: Hire head coach and two assistants

2011: Expand team and play first game

2012: Play Southland Conference game

Where will the football team practice?

Until money is raised for an Athletics Complex, the team will practice either at the 1604 campus or surrounding high school facilities.

Where will the football team play home games?

UTSA has a tentative agreement with the City of San Anotonio to use the Alamodome for home games.

Related Stories

More from Paisano1

Editorial Board

At the University of Missouri, real change happened — but only when loss of university revenue was threatened. Missouri student…

More In Sports

Julia Maenius Staff Writer

The UTSA women’s golf team traveled to Fort Myers, Florida, to compete in the Conference USA (C-USA) Championship from March…