The Supreme Court ruled against the National Collegiate Athletic Association in an antitrust proceeding this summer. This is a signal event for many college sports professionals, but Gates was worried about the future of the association long before that decision. When he was president of Texas A & M, he thought the NCAA was good at hosting championship events and maintaining national qualification standards for athletes, but he also saw a rulebook likened to tax law. It’s very difficult to change. “
When asked which of the Pentagon and NCAA charts would be more daunting, he laughed and replied. It looks like the AT & T wiring diagram. “
Gates’ subordinates at Texas A & M considered him paying attention to athletics, but not as a micro-manager. He relied on the movement manager to make daily decisions, but he also ate regularly with the famous football coach RC Slocom, who he eventually banished. (Gates often said of his time at the top of the Pentagon, “Texas A & M football was more stressful than any other job I’ve ever done.”)
Nonetheless, Slocom, who spent 30 seasons as a coach at Texas A & M, lovingly remembered Gates.
“I liked him. I thought he was smart. He wasn’t the one trying to interfere with what we were doing,” Slocom said Thursday.
Jeanne Sutherland, who headed the women’s golf program at Texas A & M for 15 seasons, remembered Gates and his wife, Becky Gates, inviting the championship team to their home for dinner. Like Slocom, Sutherland set clear standards and remembered Gates as an unobtrusive president.
“He was very clear to us what his expectations were. It was to run a clean program in the first place and win in the second,” now at Nebraska’s Associate Head Coach. One Sutherland said. “The clean program was at the top of the list.”
While Gates was at Texas A & M, Big 12 Commissioner Kevin Weiberg recalled that Gates was in a neutral position.