Chairman of the boards
Forward/center Mac Callier ends his career as UTA's all-time rebounding leader
by Danny Woodward
Mac Callier has made a habit of putting himself in the right place at the right time.
It helped him become the UTA men’s basketball team’s all-time
leading rebounder this spring. And it proved crucial four years ago
in his first few days at Texas Hall.
Longtime coach Eddie McCarter saw Callier, who is 6-foot-7, playing small forward on his summer-league team. But when Callier (pronounced “Caw-yer”) arrived at UTA for workouts that fall, he joined a load of perimeter players.
“For him to get playing time, he asked if he could move inside,” McCarter said. “I didn’t tell him I had that in mind all along. The rest is just history. He became one of the most dominant players for four years at UTA.”
Besides being UTA’s all-time leading rebounder, Callier is second in blocked shots (84) and in the top 10 in scoring, field goals made and steals. He’s also the only player ever to lead the men in field-goal percentage for four years.
“Mac was night in and night out our most valuable player,” McCarter said. “He helped us in so many ways. For us to be successful, we needed him to be successful.”
Much of Callier’s success came not because of his dominating size, but despite it. He was often asked to rebound against players who stand several inches taller.
“I just had to work a lot harder,” he said. “That makes the record more appreciated. But it’s not about who’s taller. It’s positioning and knowing where the ball is going to come off. A lot of it is just ‘want to.’ ”
Which makes the new record-holder sound a lot like the old one.
“It’s being in the right place at the right time and having a real desire to get the ball,” said Renfro, a 6-foot-9 former center who now lives in west Fort Worth. He played at UTA from 1976 to 1980.
“Rebounding is all technique and desire,” he said. “A lot depends on where you are when the ball goes up, but even then a great rebounder finds his way to the ball.”
Renfro graduated in 1984 with a math degree. UTA’s most dominant player in recent memory, he left school as the all-time leader in scoring, rebounding and blocks. He still leads in blocks and is second in scoring and rebounding.
He waxed a bit nostalgic about losing the rebounding mark, though. “Anytime you have the record, it’s nice,” he said.
After his days as a Maverick, Renfro spent six seasons with Athletes in Action, a touring team that plays exhibitions against college teams. There are chances for Callier to begin a pro basketball career, too.
He and his coach have discussed opportunities in the United States Basketball League. “But if he has to leave school to do that right now, that’s something he’d bypass,” McCarter said.
Callier is looking overseas, as well.
“I can play somewhere,” he said. “But my main priority is getting my degree. I can always come back and play basketball. If I concentrate on basketball, then break my leg tomorrow, there’s nothing I can do.”
That’s one reason Callier, a graduate of Tyler’s John Tyler High School, is so emphatic about his schoolwork. He’s due to graduate this summer with a marketing degree and has asked McCarter to help him find a job — in basketball or in marketing.
“I’ve been in school for a long time, and I want to get something out of it,” Callier said.
With all that he accomplished playing basketball, Callier said his best moment in Texas Hall will come when he walks across the stage at graduation.
“No question,” he said. “The degree will mean more
than the rebounding record.”