Oliver Luck looking increasingly like the next Texas AD

Bob Levey

The name of the current West Virginia athletic director has always seemed to be at the top of the list and that hasn't changed in recent days.

With the search advisory committee for the Texas Longhorns set to start the interview process this week in the quest for the school's next athletic director, the name of West Virginia's Oliver Luck continues to take center stage as reports continue to emerge that he is the frontrunner for the job.

Late Monday morning, Orangebloods reported that sources told Chip Brown that Luck is expected to be the guy, while Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News reported on Friday that Luck is still perceived as the top candidate. Meanwhile, on the West Virginia side, the news from fan sites for several weeks has been that Luck is likely to end up back at Texas, where he got his law degree. Blue Gold Sports reported on Saturday that an agreement is already in place.

That may be a little bit premature since Luck has not officially been interviewed yet, but it seems that he has passed the vetting process by Korn/Ferry, the international search firm that produced that initial names on the list, which also included Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson.

Blue Gold Sports also believes that Luck has already reached out to boosters, who want a business-oriented candidate to take over as the next Texas athletic director. The West Virginia graduate and former quarterback for the Houston Oilers certainly fits that bill with his experience heading the Houston Dynamo and securing financing for their new stadium, in addition to managing Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center.

The timetable for a possible announcement is impacted by the upcoming game against West Virginia on November 9. The Board of Regents is set to meet the week following, making that the most likely time for an announcement to happen if Luck interviews this week and can assuage concerns about his handling of the negotiations for the third-tier media rights of the Mountaineers, a process from which he was removed because of ethical issues.

Luck has also come under criticism for his hire of Dana Holgorsen as the head-coach-in-waiting in 2011, which became a messy situation when former coach Bill Stewart decided he didn't want to step away gracefully and attempted to execute Holgorsen in the court of public opinion with the help of a local beat writer who declined to participate in Stewart's scheme.

Holgorsen has also struggled to find success without Stewart's recruits and is sitting on an increasingly hot seat in Morgantown as the losses mount.

According to Orangebloods, Luck has admitted that he "mishandled the situation and has learned from it."

Additionally, many long-time observers of the Texas program believe that big-money donors and other shot callers at the university will make the decision regarding the next Longhorns head football coach, rendering Luck's hiring history much less relevant, if it is relevant at all.

So expect Luck to interview this week for the job and if he impresses as expected, it may be the only interview that president Bill Powers conducts.

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