Rice announces endowment of head football coaching position

By Chuck Pool

When Mike Bloomgren leads the Rice Owls onto the Rice Stadium turf for his first game Aug. 25, he will do so as the Dunlevie Family Head Football Coach thanks to an endowed gift by Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie.

Dunlevie graphic full“As lifelong fans of Rice Athletics, Elizabeth and I are thrilled to make this contribution to the football program,” Dunlevie ’79 said. “We believe that Division I athletics is a fundamental aspect of a diverse college student experience, which it has been at Rice for decades. We also have the utmost respect for the discipline required of Rice’s student-athletes to succeed simultaneously in the classroom and in their sport. We hope that others who feel as we do will be similarly inspired to support the vitality of Rice Athletics.”

The endowment is the first for a Rice Athletics coaching position and is the fifth endowed head coaching position within the Football Bowl Subdivision level of NCAA Division I.

“We are grateful for the Dunlevies’ transformational support of our football program,” said Joe Karlgaard, Rice director of athletics, recreation and lifetime fitness. “While faculty endowments are quite common at Rice, this is the university’s first endowed coaching position. We believe the endowment of our head football coaching position will serve as a catalyst toward the permanent support of other head coaches in the athletics department.”

Bloomgren was named the 19th head coach at Rice on Dec. 6, 2017, after seven seasons at Stanford University. He was promoted to be Stanford’s Andrew Luck Director of Offense in 2013, one year after that position was endowed.

Bloomgren became familiar with the Dunlevies while at Stanford, where Bruce is the chairman of the board of the Stanford Management Co.

“In the time I came to know Bruce it was always very clear how much Rice and Rice Athletics meant to him, and I am humbled that he and Elizabeth have decided to place their family’s name on this position,” Bloomgren said. “It’s a commitment that cannot be overstated. Rice is one of the few FBS schools to have an endowed head coaching position, and this gift is a tremendous vote of confidence for the future of our program.”

“Coach Bloomgren is a terrific leader for the Rice football program,” Dunlevie said. “His intellect, integrity and approach to creating a positive and winning culture have our highest admiration and regard.”

A founder and general partner of Benchmark Capital, Dunlevie’s firm has backed some of the world’s most successful technology startups, including eBay, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, WeWork, Snapchat, OpenTable, Yelp and Zillow.

Dunlevie served on the Rice Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2010 and was an influential contributor to Rice’s assessment of athletics in the mid-2000s. While chairing the Academic Affairs Committee, he helped shape Rice’s academic priorities for the future and made a significant contribution to the Call to Conversation by instilling an aspirational approach to growth, research and undergraduate education.

“Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie have consistently contributed to the high standards and character embodied by Rice Athletics,” said Rice President David Leebron.
“Their generosity has raised those standards again, and we are deeply grateful for their generous gift, which will elevate our commitment to the leaders who are so integral to our student-athletes.”

Additionally, Dunlevie was essential to the establishment of the Rice Management Co., which is tasked with stewarding the university’s endowment fund, and he has endowed the competitive Abraham-Broad student exchange program with Trinity College Cambridge in England. He received the Association of Rice Alumni’s (ARA) Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and was honored by Rice in 2018 with the Laureates Awards Gold Medal, the highest award presented by the ARA, which recognizes those who have rendered extraordinary service to the university.

A proponent of the humanities, Dunlevie earned a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Rice and an MBA from Stanford.


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