Oliver Luck was introduced as West Virginia University’s new athletic director by school president James Clements in a conference call to media.
“Oliver has an unbelievable background. He is a true leader, a strategic thinker, a proven record of success. You can look at his accomplishments, from being a two time academic All American to a member of the Academic All American Hall of Fame, Rhodes Scholar finalist, the list goes on an on about what Oliver has done. He is a great pick for our great university.”
The 50-year old Luck was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the early 80s, but his true success came after his NFL career. He spent 10 years as head of NFL Europe, then came back to Houston where he headed the Harris County Houston Sports Authority. He oversaw development of more than a billion dollars in sports and entertainment venues for Houston; Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and Toyota Center. From his home in Houston, Luck said in the conference call that he was really humbled to have an opportunity to build on the great foundation created by the retiring AD and the staff at West Virginia.
“I wanna say that President Clements is a tremendous recruiter (laughter). I’m honored an d humbled at the same time, to have an opportunity to make what I hope will be a significant contribution coming to my alma mater.”
University spokeswoman: “Thanks Oliver, at this time we’ll just open it up for questions from the press.”
PH: “Oliver first of all, let me just say that your humility is surpassed by what you’ve done to Houston, might just pale with your excitement to be returning to your alma mater.”
Luck: “Well first of all, let me tell the West Virginia media folks that Pat is not a relative of mine (laughter), and I haven’t paid him to say that but Pat thanks for the kind words. I’m forever grateful if you will, to the Oilers for picking me as opposed to another team because I was able to meet my wife, and attend law school at the University of Texas and spend a lot of years here in Houston, getting to know the city. I think Pat, the opportunity for me to go back to my alma mater, is an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
Luck later met the Houston press, sporting a West Virginia tie. He said he will leave the Houston Dynamo in good hands.
“Becoming part of the Houston sports landscape like the Astros or the Texans or the Rockets, those are the big brothers that we aspire to be. I thank its important that we do have approval from the city and the county for the new stadium. That’s a crucial piece of long term infrastructure for the franchise. We’ve got a great group of people running the franchise, Chris Conetti on down, we got a great ownership group AEG, that’s committed to the long term as well as to Gabriel Brenner and the De La Hoya folks that have a smaller piece of the team. So I think we’re in pretty good shape, I really do.”
Luck adds that Houston could compete as a site for soccer’s world cup.
“Our infrastructure is great. Reliant Stadium is a marvelous place. We’ve sold out that building for soccer matches over a number of years, so I think we’ve established ourselves as a pretty darn good soccer market.”