Gerald Myers Announces Retirement From Texas Tech University
Aug. 26, 2010
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:
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.