LUBBOCK, TX (PRESS RELEASE) - GERALD MYERS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
Myers will retire on May 31, 2011, after 55 years of service
LUBBOCK, Texas –Gerald Myers, a former student-athlete, head men's basketball coach, administrator and now athletics director, has announced his retirement from Texas Tech University, effective May 31, 2011.
"It has been my honor to serve Texas Tech University, my alma mater, as its athletics director for the last 14 years," said Myers. "Together we have accomplished a lot since the Big 12 started in the fall of 1996 and it has truly been a team effort. Our budget has grown from $12 million that year to just over $50 million for this coming school year. Overall our facilities are among the best in the Big 12 Conference and we owe a debt of gratitude to so many donors in the private sector that have stepped up and made our dreams of great facilities, a reality. I feel like now is the time to turn this job over to someone else and I will be supportive of that person in every way that I can."
Myers will go down in the history books as one of the most legendary figures in all of Texas Tech athletics history. He began his affiliation with the university as a basketball student-athlete in 1955, where he earned three varsity letters, and became the school's first All-Southwest Conference performer in any sport. Following his playing career, he earned his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech in 1959 and his master's in 1965. He returned to campus in 1970 as an assistant coach and was named the head coach just one year later in 1971. Myers is the school's all-time winningest men's basketball coach with a career record of 326-261 over the span of 20 seasons. He compiled two Southwest Conference championships and led the Red Raiders to four NCAA Tournaments.
After stepping down from his role as head basketball coach, Myers worked as an administrator in the athletics department until 1996 when he was named director of athletics.
Myers' success at Texas Tech has resulted in national recognition and responsibilities as well. He has served as a member of the NCAA Men's Basketball Selection Committee, as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, on the NCAA golf committee and is a current member of the NCAA men's basketball rules committee. He was recognized with the Gen. Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletic Director Award and the NABC honored him with the Metropolitan Award for his contributions to college basketball.
"Our goal was to make Texas Tech a good place for our student-athletes," remarked Myers. "I think we have done that with facilities, staff, equipment and financial resources. I am so proud of the fact that our student-athletes are graduating at higher rates than the national average and that our teams continue to improve and I really believe that this will be one of the best years we have ever had."
Myers faced a formidable task upon his hiring as athletics director in 1996. The program was undergoing an NCAA investigation that resulted in the levy of severe sanctions, including loss of scholarships and a ban on postseason play for some sports. Myers faced the situation head on, surrounded himself with a solid administrative staff and revamped the program, putting it back on the fast track as one of the top intercollegiate departments in the Big 12 Conference.
More than a decade later, Texas Tech on average consistently finishes among the top half in the Big 12 Conference. The most notable difference is the emphasis placed on Texas Tech's Olympic sports. Led by the track and field program and joined by tennis and golf, Tech's Olympic sport programs have undergone a renaissance and have competed for conference and national championships.
In his fifth decade of service to Texas Tech University, the always humble Myers will never admit his positive mark on the program, but has to be proud of the accomplishments that have taken place during his tenure:
• Texas Tech's sport programs have benefited from Myers' determination to have some of the best facilities in the country. With more than $250 million in new constructions and renovations since 1999, Texas Tech has leveled the playing field. The United Spirit Arena, a 15,050-seat state-of-the-art venue, is one of the premier on-campus facilities in the country and houses both basketball programs and volleyball. Major renovations to Jones AT&T Stadium and the addition of the east side building added 29 luxury suites, 544 outdoor club seats have brought Texas Tech Football to the upper tier of the Big 12 Conference, while the Football Training Facility provides the program with tools needed to be successful on and off the field. Other new facilities include the McLeod Tennis Complex, with 12 lighted courts and locker room facilities, Rocky Johnson Field, home to Red Raider softball, the John Walker Soccer Complex, the Jerry Rawls Golf Course and the Terry and Linda Fuller Track & Field Complex.
• Academics have been a priority under Myers as evidenced by the addition of the Marsha Sharp Center for Student-Athletes, completed in 2003. The center houses computer work stations, tutoring rooms, classrooms, offices for academic support staff and an academic hall of fame. Named for former Lady Raider and Hall of Fame basketball coach Marsha Sharp, the MSC and the academics program have become models for other institutions as administrators from across the country have visited the center.
• The academics program was recognized with the D-1A Athletic Director's Association Program of Excellence Award.
• Ninety-three percent of all student-athletes who exhausted their eligibility received degrees in 2009.
• Myers re-energized the compliance program in the wake of the NCAA investigation, bringing in some of the top compliance personnel in the country during the last 13 years to create one of the more respected offices in the country.
• The budget for the athletics department has grown from $12 million in 1996 to more than $50 million in 2010. Increased efforts in fundraising and Texas Tech's inclusion in the Big 12 Conference are two of the reasons for the dramatic climb into the upper tier of all league schools.
• Of Texas Tech's 12 current head coaches, 11 were hired by Myers. The group represents more than 40 postseason NCAA appearances.
• Red Raider Football has appeared in 10-straight bowl games and boasts six bowl championships since 2000. Texas Tech is the only program among all Big 12 institutions to qualify for bowl consideration each year since 1996.
• Myers named Pat Knight the successor to his legendary father for the men's basketball program. Dan Spencer has taken the experience of back-to-back College World Series Championships into his first two seasons as head coach of the baseball team. Tommy Tuberville, will lead the football program beginning in 2010 after successful tenures at Auburn and Ole Miss. Kristy Curry will guide her most talented team to date on the court this fall. Tom Stone has revitalized the soccer program. Shanon Hays led the softball team that was 15-36 the year before his arrival to the finals of the NCAA regional's in 2010. Greg Sands' men's golf team finished in the top 8 nationally, last season, while JoJo Robertson led the women back to the NCAA tournament in her first year as head coach. Tim Siegel has led the men's tennis team to the NCAA tournament in five of the last six years while Todd Petty enjoyed a successful first season as the head women's coach. Trish-Knight begins her second season on the volleyball court and her recruiting efforts are paying off. Wes Kittley has built a nationally prominent track and field program that has produced conference and NCAA championships, Olympians and numerous All-Americans.
• Texas Tech finished 44th in the NACDA Director's Cup standings in 2010, the highest finish ever for the program.
• Since 1996, 16 of the 17 sport programs have reached NCAA postseason play.
Whether success is measured financially or by wins and losses, neither outweighs the prosperity Texas Tech student-athletes have enjoyed in the classroom. While Myers may not directly impact whether a student-athlete is successful in the classroom and graduates, his support has led to an increase in graduation rates.
In the year prior to Myers' first as athletics director, the graduation rate of Texas Tech student-athletes was 44 percent. Despite assuming command of a program on NCAA probation during his first year, Red Raider student-athletes posted a 56 percent graduation rate, four points higher than that of the student body. The number was 72 percent in 2009. Additionally, the Texas Tech football program is the only program in the Big 12 Conference to consistently be recognized by the American Football Coaches Association as posting a rate above 70 percent each of the last nine years.
Myers is a member of the Texas Tech Athletic Hall of Honor, the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame and the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame.
He and his wife, Carol, have a daughter, Laurie, and son-in-law, Todd McKee, and two grandsons, Matthew and Connor.