Top photo: Athletic Director Lynn Hickey, President Ricardo Romo
and new football coach Larry Coker
Bottom photo: Enthusiastic crowd greets new UTSA football coach
(Photos by Mark McClendon)
>> View the March 6 ceremony at UTSA (Windows Media Player:
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UTSA introduces Larry Coker as first football coach
By Kyle Stephens
Sports Information Director
(March 6, 2009)--Officials at The University of Texas at San Antonio today introduced Larry Coker as UTSA's first head football coach. Coker was selected from a field of three finalists to build an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision program from the ground up. The announcement, attended by more than 500 students, faculty, staff and friends of UTSA took place just before students were heading off campus for their annual spring break.
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"This is an exciting time for athletics at UTSA and we had a great group of finalists," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "We are exceptionally pleased that Larry Coker has accepted our offer to organize and lead the first Roadrunner football program and we all look forward to starting a new tradition at UTSA."
"We are extremely thrilled to be able to announce Larry Coker as our first head coach," said UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey. "To be able to bring in somebody of his caliber and with his resumé to start up our program is a wonderful thing for the university and the community."
Coker, who has been a college football television analyst for ESPN the last two years, is the former head coach at Miami, where he compiled a 60-15 record and three Big East Championships in six seasons. He guided the Hurricanes to an undefeated season in 2001, capturing the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title with a 37-14 win against Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
A 28-year coaching veteran at the collegiate level and two-time National Coach of the Year, Coker has served on staffs at five different schools. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami from 1995 to 2000. Before his tenure in Coral Gables, he spent three seasons at Ohio State, where he was the quarterbacks coach in 1995 and the defensive backs coach from 1993 to 1994. Coker spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma in 1990-92 and also served in the same capacity at Oklahoma State from 1983 to 1989 and at Tulsa in 1980-82. He began his collegiate coaching career at Tulsa as the running backs and quarterbacks coach in 1979.
A native of Okemah, Okla., Coker was a three-year letterman at Northeastern State University, where he received his bachelor's degree in history in I970 and a master's in guidance counseling and physical education in 1973. He and his wife, Dianna, have a daughter, Lara, and two grandchildren, twins Daniel and Dillon Goldmann.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved UTSA's Athletic Initiative Business Plan on Dec. 18, which grants the university permission to add a football program. The plan calls for UTSA to develop an $84 million competitive athletics complex, add an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly Division I-AA) football program with the intent to advance football and the athletics department's existing 16 intercollegiate programs to an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) conference.
The Athletic Initiative directly supports UTSA's academic mission as outlined in its strategic plan, A Shared Vision UTSA 2016.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and the second largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be a premier public research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
UTSA serves more than 28,400 students in 64 bachelor's, 47 master's and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.
UTSA sponsors 16 intercollegiate sports at the NCAA Division I level and recently added football, which will field a team in 2011. The school is a member of the Southland Conference and captured the 2007-08 Commissioner's Cup for the best overall athletics program.
>> Read more about UTSA Athletics at the StepUpUTSA.com Web site.
FAQ: UTSA football
Now that a head coach has been named, what are next steps?
- Continue the recently launched $15 million fundraising campaign
- Search for additional staff
- Build Phase One of the Athletics Complex on recently purchased 125 acres
- Continue UTSA's commitment to research and academics and to be the next great Texas University
What is the best-case football timeline?
2009: Continue the $15 million fundraising campaign
2009: Hire additional staff and begin recruiting process
2010: Begin practicing with red-shirted inaugural team
2011: Expand team and play independent football schedule 2012: Play Southland Conference football schedule
What level of football will UTSA play?
The plan calls for UTSA to begin play at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly Division I-AA) level with the intent to advance football and the athletics department's existing 16 intercollegiate programs to an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) conference.
How many scholarships will UTSA have for its first recruits?
At the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level, 63 total scholarships are allowed that may be split between student-athletes (equivalency). However, only 30 student-athletes can be signed per year. Ultimately, it is the head coach's decision on how many are signed each year.
Where will the football team practice?
Until money is raised to construct football fields at the Athletics Complex, the team will practice either on the 1604 Campus or at surrounding high school facilities.
Where will the football team play home games?
UTSA has a tentative agreement with the City of San Antonio to use the Alamodome for home games.
When built, where will the $84 million Athletics Complex be located?
Loop 1604 and Hausman Road, on a 125-acre parcel one mile southwest of the UTSA 1604 Campus
When will construction begin on the Athletics Complex?
- 2010: Goal is to begin construction in February 2010
- 2011: Completion of Phase One in October 2011
What is included in Phase One of the Athletics Complex?
Phase One will include NCAA Division I-quality facilities for soccer and track, roadway, surface parking and other related infrastructure. After that, depending on successful fundraising, practice football fields will be added.
How will all of this be paid for?
- Athletics Complex: $22 million in funding approved by City and County voters; remaining funds will be sought through donations, sponsorships and partnerships
- To add football and enhance all other team sports: Raise $15 million in donations and sponsorships; currently, the UTSA Athletics budget is $10 million; additional revenue for athletics budget will come from a stepped increase in UTSA student athletic fees; investigate availability of other revenue streams that do not draw from the institutional academic budget
Will the football program include a marching band and cheerleading squad?
UTSA already sponsors a pep band and spirit program, which consists of a cheerleading squad and dance team. With the addition of football, UTSA hopes to expand these programs but it will involve additional fundraising.
How will football affect UTSA's commitment to become a national research university?
- UTSA has long been a university of first choice and provides access to excellence for more than 28,400 graduate and undergraduate students. Football will not change this.
- UTSA is still on target to become a national research university. That means there will be an increase in the number of academic programs, more contributions to the economic success of San Antonio and the region, and enhanced student life. Now, we simply add a championship-driven Division I football program to the list.