TEXAS TECH — Texas Tech Chancellor John Montford said he has narrowed his future plans to three choices in the private sector.
Montford, who announced last week that he will step down after five years at the helm of the university, said he will not make or announce a decision until his tenure is up Sept. 3.
The former senator said he has received multiple offers, but three stick out in his mind: a corporate offer, an offer from a law firm and an offer to help raise money for universities.
He said the corporate opportunities is what is raising his eyebrow at this stage.
“I am leaning toward a corporate offer,” Montford said. “But I want to settle everything here before I accept anything.”
Montford, 58, said he has not ruled out another job in higher education in the future and added that another position in politics is still in his mind if the opportunity is right.
“It is infectious,” he said about public office. “At my age your are competing against a backdrop of only having 7 more viable years of service. But right now I am just focused on the private sector. Maybe politics will come in place again.”
Montford would not confirm or deny that he is taking the CEO job at Southwestern Bell. He said he did not feel it was appropriate for him to make the announcement himself, or to reveal anything permanently until his future plans are final.
The Board met for almost three hours Monday where they named Tech Health Sciences Center President David Smith as interim chancellor.
Montford said he supports the decision the Board made on who should be interim and always will.
“We have an extraordinary board,” Montford said. “They are exceptionally good at what they do.”
During his Tech career, Montford said he would not take credit for any of his accomplishments.
He said all the achievements including the $500-million Horizon Campaign, the beautification of the campus and Tech becoming more nationally competitive during his stay have all been teamwork.
“I can’t say it was me doing all that because it wasn’t,” he said. “We built a great team here and everyone contributed.”
Montford added that he would have liked to have built a College of Fine Arts and a Center of Performing Arts while he was here, but felt like his time ran out.
Most of all, he said teaching his class will be greatly missed and he would have liked to educate more students.
“I am going to miss teaching my class the most,” said Montford, who taught honors political science class at Tech. “I had a great opportunity here and I will miss it. I really love this place.”
He did say he won’t miss the gossip and laughed when asked if he would miss the media.
“I really can’t think of a thing that I don’t like,” he said. “Sometimes this place is a little gossipy. But that is probably the same case about everything else.”
Montford said he would have liked to talk to the regents before the media found out his future plans.
Vice Chancellor for News and Publications Cindy Rugeley said last week that Montford had not anticipated his resignation until after July 4. The story broke July 3.
“He really did believe he was trying to keep a secret,” Rugeley said. “I told him, ‘If you think President Schmidly could get recognized in Florida with Bob Knight, why did you think you could keep it a secret?’ and he just started laughing.”
The secret is out and board chairman Robert Brown said Monday that it is no mystery Montford has done his job well.
“We obviously are not happy to see him go because he has done so much for Texas Tech and has done a tremendous job. But we also understand that he had an opportunity for a better position in the private sector, is what we’re assuming, and we don’t fault him,” Brown said. “We had John for five years and I think we have gotten our money’s worth during his five-year tenure.”