Former Texas Longhorns defensive ends coach Hardee McCrary is back with the Longhorns, as the school announced on Friday that McCrary will move over from his longtime position as the Associate Director of Development with the Longhorn Foundation and begin duties in the newly-created High School Relations Director position on Monday.
Though the position is technically new, McCrary is the de facto replacement for Ken Rucker, who served as the Director of High School Relations and Player Development before retiring in early January.
"I'm extremely excited and proud to be working with Mike Perrin, Coach (Charlie) Strong, all of our sports programs and the entire athletic department in this effort to provide a resource to high school coaches," McCrary said in a statement released by the school. "I've always been very proud of my roots as a Texas high school football player and coach. High school sports were my first love, my children were very active high school student-athletes, and it's something my family and I still really enjoy being a part of. I'm thrilled to be able to be an ambassador to the high schools for this great university and athletic department."
According to the school's release, McCrary's position will encompass the following duties:
As High School Relations Director, McCrary's focus will be to build and maintain collaborative relationships with high school coaches and administrators and serve as a point of contact with UT Athletics. He will schedule practice visits, oversee Texas' Annual High School Football Coaches Clinic, and build working relationships with high school coaches as allowable within NCAA rules. His position also allows him to maintain his previous responsibilities with overseeing the Big Wheels program within the Longhorn Foundation.
"As I have spoken to groups of alums, fans and others, the question has arisen: how do you stay in touch with high school coaches? A new position seemed appropriate, and Hardee is ideal for it," athletic director Mike Perrin said. "I've known him for a long time, and his personality, relationships and expertise are absolutely perfect for this position. He'll serve an invaluable role for our department and be such a great resource for high school coaches and staff members, who are so important to us. Hardee is a guy who has been at Texas for nearly two decades and has worked around this state many more years. He knows his way around, has great relationships with so many people and really knows the needs of high school coaches. I can't think of a better fit for our High School Relations Director."
There had been some concerns about the relationships between head coach Charlie Strong based on several reports that emerged during the fall, but Strong and recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary were adamant on National Signing Day that those issues were overblown. Still, Strong did admit that it has been tough to crack into those ranks and McCrary's job will be to help in that regard.
Since his position by definition will focus on building and maintaining relationships with high school coaches around the state, McCrary's experience as a defensive ends coach under Mack Brown for six seasons (1998-2003) is important, but not as important as the fact that he's spent the last 11 years as a partner of the San Angelo Coaching Clinic and served as a founding partner in the Lone Star Coaching Clinic in 1997. In other words, he's still been able to maintain some of those ties to the high school football community even though he hasn't been on the recruiter trail in well more than a decade.
"Having spent 17 years here, and with both of my children being proud UT graduates, it's an opportunity to give back to a university that's been tremendous to me and my family, while providing service to the high school coaches who have been so important in our lives," McCrary said.
"I want all of the high school coaches to know we will have an open door policy to them. I'm just a phone call, text or email away, and I look forward to hearing from everyone."
McCray is a Richardson native who played football at Austin College and then spent five seasons working as a coach in the high school ranks. His son, Cade, walked on at Texas after playing with quarterback Garrett Gilbert in high school and eventually earned a scholarship as a holder. He lettered in each of his four seasons with the Lonhgorns (2010-2013).