- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Arguably the greatest football player to ever play at Texas is not much of a golfer.

So Vince Young requested that his new employer provide him lessons, believing that bigger donations and better relationships with deep pockets may be struck on the course.

The Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/1zoXRlH ) reports Young, who ran and passed the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship, is almost two months into his job as development officer for alumni relations in the university’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

Boiled down to one word, Young is a salesman.

For $100,000 a year, he’s tasked with attracting disadvantaged students to Texas and encouraging alumni to finance their dreams. Should the latter objective bring Young to a local fairway, he’s preparing to make his sales pitch a tap-in birdie.

“It’s always good to close deals on the golf course,” Young said.

No one at Texas is disputing that this position was created exclusively for Young, who returned to school and earned a degree in youth and community studies in May 2013. This began cooking two or three years ago, when Young bumped into Texas President Bill Powers at a social gathering and the two discussed bringing Young on board in an unspecified role.

At the time, Young, the 2006 offensive rookie of the year with the Tennessee Titans, was hoping to resuscitate a once promising NFL career that had careened off track. This offseason, after being cut by the Cleveland Browns and not cracking an opening-day roster for the third year in a row, Young informed Powers he was ready to come back.

University officials say they were not required to open Young’s position to the public because Young’s name recognition and history with UT made him “uniquely qualified.”

A product of a single-parent home, Young can identify with the hardships of the students he’s recruiting. Because his hire occurred after the finalization of this year’s university budget, the money for Young’s salary is being taken from a special fund Powers dips into to assist programs of his choosing. Next year, DDCE will include Young’s salary in its budget.

“Very common thing to do,” said Powers, who created DDCE in 2006.

The demands of Young, 31, are not unlike those of the working class. He’s expected to log normal business hours, be it mingling with students at DDCE’s five outreach centers in Central Texas, or making phone calls from his office on the fourth floor of the Flawn Academic Center. He has a direct supervisor and is among a development team of eight. Young gets full benefits and is allowed certain perks, like the golf lessons.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to raise resources, to fund our programs at the highest level,” said Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president of DDCE. “We could think of no one better than Vince Young.”

Last Friday morning, 50 or so high school seniors from the Dallas area came to Texas for a campus tour hosted by DDCE. Young, their surprise guest speaker, arrived almost 25 minutes late, forcing organizers to improvise and open the room for questions.

A university spokeswoman said Young is on time more often than he’s not.

Young was a hit with the students, who were eight or nine years when he ran roughshod over USC to win the national title. Over a period of 15 minutes, Young, who was raised in Houston, spoke of overcoming poverty and the absence of his father to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. He was self-deprecating - “I ain’t nobody” - and needled his awestruck audience to “wake up” and ask questions. He advised them to surround themselves with academically-driven peers.

“He did a pretty good job,” said Austin Gula, of Duncanville High. “When he was talking, I was wowed that he cared about academics and not just sports.”

As Young exited the Student Activity Center, two Texas students approached him, wanting a picture. Young, the six-figure ambassador of the university, blew them off.

Young, a husband and father of three, keeps busy. His Vince Young Foundation aims at nurturing troubled youth. Young and former Longhorns basketball player Maurice Evans recently launched an initiative to guide professional athletes who’ve fallen into legal or financial trouble. (In January, Young filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.)

Young also is a studio analyst with the Longhorn Network.

But he aspires for more. Someday, Young says he’d like to join the UT’s System Board of Regents.

“Hopefully when I’m about 45, 50 years old, I’ll be on that board,” he said.

___

Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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