North Texas is paying a pair of Dallas businessmen $20,000 to evaluate the school’s athletic program.
Trip Kuehne and Michael Sicuro both signed contracts with UNT on June 7 for $10,000. Their deals included non-disclosure agreements and stipulated that they report their findings to UNT president Neal Smatresk no later than Aug. 31.
The Denton Record-Chronicle obtained copies of the contracts on Thursday.
Those contracts stipulate that Kuehne and Sicuro “examine and assess the resources, staffing and facilities of the UNT Athletics Department, making a full report to the UNT President.”
UNT contracted both Kuehne and Sicuro just days after Rick Villarreal announced on May 23 that he was stepping down as the school’s athletic director. Villarreal’s tenure at UNT officially came to an end on June 20.
UNT reached a series of milestones under Villarreal, including opening Apogee Stadium, its $78 million football venue, in the fall of 2011, UNT also joined Conference USA in the summer of 2013.
UNT’s football team played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2013, but the school’s athletic program stalled overall late in Villarreal’s tenure. The football team’s 9-4 campaign in 2013 was the only winning season UNT has produced in any of the three key revenue sports of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball in the last four years.
Smatresk named longtime athletic department official Hank Dickenson the school’s acting athletic director on June 6. Smatresk announced that Kuehne and Sicuro would be paid to evaluate UNT’s athletic program at the same time.
Kuehne is a well-known amateur golfer and the son of UNT booster Ernie Kuehne. He is the founder and senior managing partner of the Westlake-based investment firm Double Eagle Capital Management, LP.
Sicuro works for Venture Capital & Private Equity. He has more than 30 years of experience with public and private companies with revenue of up to $4 billion in annually.
The pair have since met with several UNT coaches in addition to the school’s lettermen and fans over the last several weeks.
Kuehne said that UNT has a “fan base that is fractured” in his opening comments before he and Sicuro met with more than 100 of the school’s fans on June 27.
Kuehne and Sicuro are in the process of evaluating UNT’s athletic administrative staff and the inner workings of the department in addition to meeting with lettermen, fans and coaches.
The pair’s examination of the UNT athletic program is taking place as the school searches for Villarreal’s replacement. UNT hired Eastman & Beaudine Inc. to help with its search for a new athletic director. The firm is well known for assisting colleges with searches for athletic department officials.
Bob Beaudine, the firm’s CEO, is leading the search. UNT has kept the process quiet, but multiple sources close to the situation told the Record-Chronicle late last month that Dickenson had spoken with the search firm about the job.