Jarred Samples, ‘01 UD alumnus and head coach for the University of Dallas men’s basketball team for 13 years, took over as athletic director this past July. Samples answered a series of questions in an email to The University News regarding his plans for the athletic program going forward.
“As the athletic director, I am excited to see all our teams this year. Where a team starts, where they finish, and the process in between is what is interesting to me. It’s fun to be able to watch a group come together throughout a season,” Samples wrote.
When asked about changes to the athletic program, Samples indicated that he would start slowly with no major changes planned presently.
“I do not have any major changes planned this year. I want to get feedback from our coaches and student-athletes to find out how we can make improvements,” he wrote.
Many on campus are discussing the issue of how student-athletes are treated at a university that focuses so wholly on academics. Sample’s willingness to cooperate with students and faculty to improve the program may hold promise to address these issues.
Samples wrote, “I am excited about being able to have a positive impact on all our sports and all our student-athletes. I want to make sure our student-athletes are having a great overall experience here at UD. I also want to celebrate our student-athletes’ successes like their overall gpa last year, 3.02!”
The already rigorous curriculum here at UD combined with the athletic program poses an exceptional challenge. This past year, the ability of our student athletes to rise to that challenge and perform so well perfectly illustrates the fortitudinous spirit of UD.
Sample’s willingness to cooperate with the other departments in order to improve the athletic program and its relationship with the academic program demonstrates his competency.
Samples also commented on what he will miss about being a coach and how he hopes to change the athletic program now as director.
“I will miss the practices and games. I am still learning every day as an AD. I am reaching out to colleagues to ask questions and bounce ideas off them. I think it is important to continue to grow and improve as a professional,” he wrote.
Sample’s introduction as athletic director marks a new and promising era for the athletic department at UD.