Bill Carr, the new Ath
letic Director for the
University of Houston, built a reputation for
dealing with problems.
When he took the job
in April, allegations of impropriety were swirling around
the football coach, a new basketball coach had just been
hired, and the athletic department was comingunder heavy
fire for lack of student and
alumni interest and low rates
of graduation for its athletes.
Carr's problem solving abilities would be well
Carr, who prided himself onbeing agood listener, didn't
run away from Florida's problems.
"I stayed in Florida until
the problem was resolved," said
Carr. "Just before I left we received notice that our probation
Steve Hatchell, the new
commissioner of the Southwest
Conference, had known Carr for
"There is nothing you
can throw up at him that he
doesn't have experience with,"
said Hatchell. "He's a decision
maker. This is a perfect fit."
of other major learning institutions being in the entertainment
business, but Carr felt that the
program had something to offer
"We have a vital role in
enhancing the quality of the students experince, not just the student-athletes, but the students
and the faculty and staff. A well-
run athletic department can provide incredible dimension to a
university's life, in terms of pride,
emotional identification, public
image, fund-raising, all of those
things," he said.
"It's not why the university is here. But we can be a major
able state. Carr's decision to
hire new football coach Kim
Helton might have helped the
"Kim Helton is a strong
personality, a very take-charge
guy I think that that's what the
program needs," said Carr. "He
will demand, if you will, that
the level of expectations be
raised and I think that is something all of us in the athletic
program has to get used to. We
have to more as administrators, coaches, student-athletes
and our boosters and alumni."
Carr was willing to do
the work and the hand-shak-
New Athletic Director Bill Carr inherits many problems
The athletic director's
position was left vacant after
Rudy Davolos left for New
Mexico State University in
Carr worked as athletic director at Florida from
1979-1986 while the Gators
were placed on probation for
* i L >
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lems we haven't dealt with," Carr
said. "I want the football program, and all our others run with
integrity and class.
Emphasizing that point,
there was a stack of bookmarks
on his desk with a new slogan,
Cougar Pride-Character, Commitment, Class.
The new slogan could
have been applied to just about
all aspects of the renewed athletic department. The commitment to student-athletes, the operation of the athletic department,
and the image that Cougar athletics would present to the general
"We have to be the kind
of people who display those
qualities," said Carr. "We have to
be worthy of that investment, by
the students who pay their stu-
and boosters with their purchase
of season tickets and donations,
we have to earn that. It's not a
There were many critics
of our athletic department, and
part of what's going on. We're
going to be close to the student
body, and be worthy for the support of the students."
Carr already pointed out
two of the departments greatest
challenges, revenue and graduation rates. He was working hard
on the former, having sponsored
several fund-raising events with
alumni, boosters and staff, as well
as important people in the community.
though, would take time.
"Our graduation rate,
should be no less than 70 percent
in any sport. Our target is 100
percent, but we can't be satisfied
with 20 percent, that's just atrocious. It won't stay at that level."
"We want to recruit students who can graduate. They
have to be capable of getting it
done. We have to be more selective, but its just going to take
The whole department,
as well as the university community, had to work hard to
return the program to a respect
ing, necessary to get the athletic department moving. Carr
seemed to be happy to try to
work out the problems.
"There was three reasons I wanted to come to the
University of Houston. One was
the city of Houston. Two was
the gift from the Moores, which
will make that (new athletic)
facility a given-the money is
in the bank. The third reason
was that Dr. Pickering is a good
man who supports athletics."
Carr worked on cementing relationships needed
to make the connections that
would allow the athletic department be self-sufficient and
provide support to the university.
"There are great resources available to us in Houston. We're surrounded by
people, and expertise, energy
and by money. All those things
are necessary to move our program ahead. We just have to
put it all together." -Michael