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Command Man in Demand

Meet the Texan mastermind behind Osama bin Laden capture: Is UT chancellor position next?

Navy Admiral William McRaven
Will Navy Admiral William McRaven take over the UT Chancellor position? Wikimedia Commons

Navy Admiral William McRaven is a man in demand.

McRaven, reportedly the front-runner to be the next chancellor of the University of Texas System, also has been touted as a vice presidential candidate alongside potential White House contender Hillary Clinton.

McRaven is a 1977 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. In May, he delivered the main commencement address at UT; a university video of the speech has already garnered more than 2.1 million views on YouTube.

A Navy SEAL for 36 years, McRaven oversaw the U.S. military raid in 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In 2011, he was runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. McRaven is stepping down soon as leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, an assignment he’s had for three years.

His older sister, Nan McRaven, a public affairs consultant in Austin who sits on Austin Community College’s Board of Trustees, hints about what the future may hold for her brother. “He had a lot of incredible missions that he has done for the country,” Nan McRaven recently told The Tampa Tribune. “I think this last assignment was so important to him and important to the country. He was able to lead all of the Special Operations Command for the last three years, and that has been the highlight of his career. So far.”

So far, indeed. Rumors have circulated that William McRaven is poised to pursue the VP role if Clinton runs for president in 2016. Other speculation has had him running for governor of Texas or becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Most recently, Texas Monthly and the Texas Tribune have pegged McRaven as the top candidate for chancellor of the UT System. The current chancellor, Francisco Cigarroa, is leaving the job to return to practicing medicine.

People close to the 58-year-old McRaven have said they aren’t sure what’s on the horizon for his career. “I pretty much discount him running for office, at least for right now,” retired Vice Admiral Joe Maguire told the Tampa newspaper. “If he does, he has my vote.” The Tampa Tribune reported that McRaven declined to comment on his career plans.

Bernie Quigley, a contributor to The Hill, a website which covers the federal government, has been making the case for McRaven to run for either vice president or president. Quigley praised McRaven’s commencement address at UT. “It was the best commencement speech I have ever heard by one of the best men to have come to us in our blessed American destiny,” Quigley wrote.

In his speech to UT graduates, McRaven emphasized the importance of making your bed every day. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another,” said McRaven, who was named a Distinguished Alumnus of UT in 2012. “By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

Though McRaven isn’t a native Texan, he said he feels a strong pull toward the Lone Star State. “While I wasn’t born in Texas, I certainly consider myself a Texan. My mother was born and raised in Texas, and my father was a transplant from Missouri. When the opportunity came up to go to UT on an ROTC scholarship, I jumped at it,” McRaven told The Alcalde, UT’s alumni publication, in 2011.

“While I wasn’t born in Texas, I certainly consider myself a Texan. My mother was born and raised in Texas, and my father was a transplant from Missouri. When the opportunity came up to go to UT on an ROTC scholarship, I jumped at it,” McRaven told The Alcalde, UT’s alumni publication, in 2011.

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