This is the first in a series of articles on the 12 members who will be inducted into the Rockdale Sports Hall of Honor Oct. 28. The public is encouraged to attend. A USTIN—You know you must be doing something right, if you can get the most powerful athletic director in the country, a hall of fame basketball coach and the Olympic track coach to take time out from their busy schedules to pay tribute to you.
Mike Korth is such a person.
For the past 27 years, Korth—a 1981 RHS graduate—has been the Mr. Fixit for the University of Texas athletic program and was named the honorary referee at the 82nd Texas Relays in 2009 as a reward for his dedication, work ethic and commitment to the school.
Korth’s official job title has been changed a dozen times, simply because they couldn’t come up with one that correctly described what he did. He expanded on any simple job description parameters long ago.
“Mike is a huge part of the success of our athletic program,” said University of Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds.
Korth, 48, came to Texas as a student on a track management scholarship after graduating from Blinn Junior College.
Along with his managerial duties, he began to get part-time work within the athletic department.
“I was working part-time—80 hours a week,” he said.
After a while, he was a genuine full-time employee and since he was already doing what he wanted to do anyway, he dropped out of college.
His hard work and willingness to get the job done no matter what, earned him a great deal of respect from Texas officials and coaches and made him an important cog in the burnt orange athletic machine.
When the Longhorns were recognized by government officials for winning the national championship in 2005, Korth was included in the proclamation.
Korth gained his work ethic as a student athletic manager at RHS.
Former head coach Fred Johnson tells a story of Korth that would be repeated many times at Texas.
“During two-a-days I would always try and be the first person at the field house,” Johnson remembered. “But Mike would already be there. No matter how early I got there, Mike would beat me there.”
“Mike as a manager was like having a once-in-a-lifetime athlete,” said former Rockdale coach Lew Simmonds. “There is none better. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Mike and what he has been able to accomplish.
“I am proud to call him my friend.”
Korth credited the Tiger coaches for his early guidance.
“They brought me up the right way and put me on the right path,” he said. “They were all great guys to work with. I wouldn’t change that for anything. I would do anything in the world for them.”
For the better part of his tenure at Texas, Korth has battled cancer, a brain tumor and even suffered a stroke.
Because of his health issues, he has been shifted over to the shipping and receiving department, but is still involved in athletics because, well, they need him to be.
MIKE KORTH FILE
Age— 48 Family—Brothers Wilford, Glen, Karl; sister Patty, mother Katherine. Education—1981 Rockdale High School graduate; Blinn Junior College graduate; attended the University of Texas on a track management scholarship. Employment—Has worked for the University of Texas for almost 28 years in a variety of athletic department jobs.