Although he hasn’t been at Kansas State since 1981, DeLoss Dodds said Wednesday’s Landon Lecture brought back plenty of special memories.
A native of Riley County, Dodds competed in track at K-State, before becoming an assistant track coach shortly after his graduation in 1959.
That’s where Dodds remembers an interaction he had with then-K-State president James McCain, the namesake of the McCain Auditorium, where Wednesday’s lecture was held.
“Lots of memories, especially in this building,” said Dodds, who retired this fall after serving 33 years as Texas’ athletic director. “My wife worked for President McCain and I was the assistant track coach and the track coach quit. They started interviewing all these big powerful track coaches and they finally got around to me, the AD asked me if I was interested, I said, ‘yeah, I went to Seaton (Hall) and talked to McCain. He talked for 45 minutes and afterward he asked if you don’t get the job, what are you going to do?
“I said, ‘we’re going to move and coach track at a high school,’ and he said, ‘well, we don’t want to lose Mary Ann.’
“She got me my first job.”
Dodds would serve as K-State’s head track coach from 1963-76 before becoming the school’s AD from 1977-81. He left the school for the same position at Texas, where he eventually built the nation’s largest athletic budget until he his retirement last fall.
In his return to Manhattan this week, Dodds said he enjoys seeing how much K-State has grown and the direction that school president Kirk Schulz and athletic director John Currie are currently taking the university.
Dodds said during a trip to his hometown of Riley this week, K-State athletics and the NCAA tournament was still the big topic.
“I was in the Riley cafe (Tuesday) picking up hamburgers,” he said. “There were three construction workers, a lady from Topeka and a lady from Concordia, sitting at three different tables, and all they talked about between the tables, was Kansas State.”
Dodds officially retired from Texas in November, but has spent time in an advisory role until the academic year comes to a close.
He and his wife Mary Ann have moved to Marble Falls, Texas, where they have a view of Lyndon B. Johnson Lake. Dodds said he plans on farming again.
“Family is glad I’m retired,” he said. “Some days I’m glad I’m retired, some days I’m not.”
Dodds was a part of a four-person panel that included Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, ESPN president John Skipper and Schulz.
Most of the night included quips from Dodds, who brought up the popular “we own Texas” chant as comparison that it doesn’t always matter how big a school’s athletic budget is when it comes to competition.
“Money does not buy victories,” he said. “We own Texas, have you heard that?
“My advice, if you do own Texas, you need to spend the winters down there.”