NORMAN — Joe Harroz said he is excited to become the next dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law, even if it means succeeding a dean so successful and popular that the college’s building is named after him.
Harroz said he, too, is a longtime friend and admirer of Dean Andy Coats. Harroz, 43, will become dean, a tenured professor and director of the OU Law Center effective July 1. "Walking into Andrew Coats Hall will remind me of two things,” Harroz said. "One, that I have big shoes to fill and two, of the Andy Coats that I know, which is a reminder of what a lawyer should be. "You practice for the individual; that’s very important,” Harroz explained. "But you also understand the larger duty you have to society, and Andy embodies that.” Harroz was the OU Board of Regents’ general counsel from 1996-2008, when he resigned to become president, chief operating officer and director of Graymark Healthcare Inc. in Oklahoma City. He said it will be difficult to leave Graymark, but the opportunity to become dean of the OU College of Law fulfills "a lifelong dream.” OU President David Boren announced Harroz’s hiring Thursday during the OU Board of Regents meeting. Coats will remain at the law school as a full-time professor, as well as dean emeritus. Harroz’s salary was not disclosed at the meeting, but it will be the same as Coats’ compensation, regents announced. Harroz was paid about $300,000 per year when hired by Graymark.