AUSTIN (KXAN) — Having the interim tag in a coaching title, for the most part, implies inexperience and a certain lack of awareness, but for a guy like Rodney Terry, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Terry, who was named the Sporting News’ national coach of the year for keeping the Longhorns together and focused through the suspension and eventual firing of head coach Chris Beard, is no stranger to March Madness. As an assistant at UT under Rick Barnes from 2002-11, the Longhorns went to the tournament every season. As the head coach at Fresno State in 2015-16, he guided the Bulldogs to a Mountain West Conference championship and their first appearance in the tournament in 15 years.
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“I’ve been on both sides of it,” Terry said. “I’ve been at a mid-major and I’ve been at a Power 5. The team that shows up for that 40 minutes, and doesn’t waste 20 minutes trying to figure it out, is going to get it done that day.”
Another drawback of an interim distinction is job security and the potential to always be looking in the rearview mirror, worrying if the administration will offer a full-time role. In Terry’s case, UT already raised his pay to $1.2 million, and after the Longhorns’ blowout win over Kansas in the Big 12 tournament championship game, Dick Vitale was screaming on ESPN to hire Terry for good. That has to mean something, right?
Terry is 19-7 as the Longhorns’ head coach this season, whether it has been in an acting or interim capacity. He’s not worried about what the future may or may not hold for him at Texas.
“My approach with that has been the same all year long, to control what you can control,” Terry said. “One of the things I preach to the guy is to live where your feet are. This team has been on an incredible journey, and I’ve enjoyed being on it. We’re going to go as far as we can.”