Summer 2024

Man of 'strong faith' Rodney Terry named Texas head coach after leading team to Elite Eight

In the press conference following Sunday’s loss to Miami in the Elite Eight, Texas men’s basketball interim head coach Rodney Terry was asked how badly he wanted the job on a permanent basis. Terry got choked up during his response, which was all about how much he enjoyed working with this year’s team rather than what might happen in the future.

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“I haven’t really had a lot of time to give a lot of thought to that, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been so wrapped up and invested in my team. Again, I love these guys. Not only will I just love these guys for the time I got to coach them, I’ll love them for the rest of their lives. I’ll be at their weddings. I’ll be talking to those guys when they have their first-born.”

Texas didn’t need much time to make its decision, removing the interim tag Monday and naming Terry the 26th head coach in program history.

The announcement happened to come on Terry’s 55th birthday.

Terry led the Longhorns to a 22-8 record after Chris Beard was arrested and ultimately fired. Texas finished second in the Big 12 and won the conference tournament before reaching the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the first time since 2008.

The Angleton, Texas, native was in his second stint as an assistant at Texas, having also served on Rick Barnes‘ staff from 2002-2011. Terry left to take the head coaching job at Fresno State and went 185-164 in 10 seasons at Fresno State and UTEP.

His previous head coaching experience taught Terry to surrender everything to God and helped him keep the Longhorns steady through a tumultuous season.

“You have to have a demeanor where you enjoy it,” he told Sports Illustrated in February. “You don’t want to coach angry and be upset all the time. I think there were times I took that for granted when I was a head coach before — I was so bent up, hard on myself, hard on my team. You know what? Put it in the hands of the Lord and let Him guide you and your team.”

During Saturday’s media availability, Terry told reporters he was extremely grateful to his parents for raising him in a Christian household and teaching him that God will be faithful through the highs and lows. He hopes his players see the way his faith impacts how he lives and want to pursue a relationship with the Lord as well.

“There’s only one person that’s going to judge you,” Terry said. “He gave His only Son to us to be able to forgive us of our sins. I live by that every day, and I have strong faith and strong belief. I try to not push that down my players’ throat, but I try to set a good example for those guys and try to live the right way and hopefully be an inspiration for them to also understand how important it is to have that as a value when they become a father, a provider, and a great husband one day.”

As badly as Terry wanted the job, he knew God would lead him to wherever he was supposed to be.

“A lot of times we think that we should be over here or there,” he said prior to the Longhorns’ second-round victory over Penn State. “God is going to put you right where you’re supposed to be. He has the master plan … I know right now where I’m supposed to be is working with the team that I’m supposed to be working with right now. I’m excited about what’s to come in the future.”

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