Texas Southern athletic director Kevin Granger sat in the media room at a table inside Shell Energy Stadium and did his best to sell that Cris Dishman was the right coach to lead a football program that hadn’t cobbled together a winning season in more than two decades.
“It was a process that we had to go through to get to this point, and I like where we are at,” said Granger on Tuesday during an introductory press conference for Dishman. “I like the result. I like the hire. I really think the hire is going to do a lot for our university to enhance it and to enhance our student-athletes.”
How Texas Southern ended up with Dishman as the guy did not happen without internal dissent within the school’s Board of Regents, which reportedly shunned two-time SWAC title-winning coach Fred McNair for someone the group believed better fit its aesthetic, culture and desired celebrity fluoresce.
“So, at the end of the day, this is hopefully my last conversation about football,” said Granger. “Now it’s time for me to give the ball to Coach Dishman and let him run with it.”
Dishman, the ex-NFL All-Pro defensive back, does not walk into Texas Southern with years of college and professional experience with stops in Berlin, Germany, to the Power Five level to the NFL.
Dishman will be tasked to enhance a roster that sustained transfer portal defections while also developing players who stuck around even after the school did not retain Clarence McKinney after five losing seasons.
— Texas Southern University (TSU) Athletics (@TXSOTigers) January 23, 2024
“We have enough players to win now,” said Dishman, who played eight seasons with the Houston Oilers. “So, we are just getting other pieces in to help, but the meat and potatoes of the team is here. So, we are not going to go wholesale and take out 30 (players) and bring in 30 more. “We have enough talent in that room to win. I have enough belief in the guys in that room to win. I have enough belief in our coaches to get them in the right areas to make us win.”
How the Dishman-led Tigers will look isn’t truly going to be known until games are played seven months from now, but the soft-spoken coach affirmed that TSU will avoid self-inflicted mistakes and be smarter.
Dishman kept it close to the vest about what style of offense and defense the Tigers would run, though he did give a hint.
“A scoring offense. An offense that scores points,” Dishman said. “I want an offense that scores points and a defense that stops people from scoring points. That’s the best I can tell you about the style that we want.
“I’m excited just to have the opportunity to build something and make it our way,” said Dishman. “I keep telling the coaches, it’s not my team, it’s not my job. It’s our job. I figure if we can do it as an our, I think it will work a little bit better.”