Giving by Example: Doug Elenz
Dr. Doug Elenz has contributed in multiple ways to support the University of Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving Legacy Fund, which was created to prioritize and fully endow program scholarships.
Doug Elenz reminds us about the power of family.
Two loving, supportive parents provided Doug the motivation to define goals and work to achieve them – a mindset that served him well as a young swimmer.
His grandmother was a nurse who offered Doug a glimpse into the health profession.
And those two pursuits led him to The University of Texas, where Doug folded into the family-like culture of teamwork and sacrifice established by Eddie Reese and the Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving program.
“When I was choosing colleges, I knew I wanted to go to a swimming powerhouse, where I could compete for a national championship on a yearly basis,” Doug said. “I also knew I wanted to be a doctor, and I wanted to attend an institution that was an academic equal.”
Doug’s senior year in high school, the Longhorns won their first national championship under Reese.
“It was evident the future was Texas, and the future was Eddie Reese,” Doug said.
A few decades and a dozen national championships later, both Doug and the Longhorns have carved successful trajectories.
A two-time team captain and seven-time All-American, Doug earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from The University of Texas while also competing for Reese and the men’s swimming team. During his four years as a Longhorns swimmer, Doug’s team won the Southwest Conference Championship every year. They also finished runner-up twice and placed third twice in the NCAA Championships.
Following graduation from Texas, he pursued his medical degree from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the McGraw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He completed a Sports and Arthroscopy fellowship in Virginia before returning to Austin to start his orthopedic career. Now a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Doug maintains his practice at Austin Sports Medicine and also serves UT as an orthopedic surgeon for intercollegiate athletics sports programs.
Doug has contributed to Texas Athletics in multiple ways over the years. In addition to providing orthopedic care to student-athletes, Doug has been involved with the former letterwinners’ network, T-Association, and the Men’s Hall of Honor Council, serving as its President in 2012-13. In 2017, Doug was asked to serve as a Legacy Campaign Ambassador for the Men’s Swimming and Diving Legacy Fund, which was created to prioritize and fully endow program scholarships.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for the fact that I was an athlete at The University of Texas,” Doug said.
Through athletics, Doug was introduced to the field of orthopedics. As a sports medicine specialist, Doug is able to combine his passions – athletics and helping others. He currently serves UT by taking care of its student-athletes and their orthopedic needs, but that is only a small portion of his practice. Doug treats the spectrum of athletic injuries from little leaguers who have banged up shoulders to elderly ballroom dancers with creaky knees.
“I also take care of high-level athletes still competing at the professional level,” Doug said. “Sports medicine is all about taking care of the active lifestyle.”
As the Longhorns’ team orthopedic doctor, Doug travels with the football team. During a 2016 road trip he found time to visit with Amy Folan, executive senior associate athletics director who leads the Longhorn Foundation, and discussed with her the need to reach out to former letterwinners and provide them the opportunity to give back to the programs that gave them the “spring board” to a successful life.
In spring 2017, the Longhorn Foundation initiated an endowment campaign to honor the legacy of Reese and Kris Kubik, collegiate swimming’s winningest coaching duo. The goal of the initiative is to raise $13 million and fully endow the team’s remaining scholarships.
“I think it’s human nature that you want to give back, whether it’s through your church or another charitable foundation. To me, it was an easy decision to give back to the university and more specifically to the swimming program,” Doug said. “As athletes, we attend school and give a lot of ourselves, our time and our talents. We train hard in the pool, and we work hard in the classroom. It takes time after graduation to understand the opportunity that swimming at Texas provides, and what a gift that truly is.”
This past year, Doug and his wife Amber, a UT Plan II graduate and the daughter of Texas Football standout David Russell and UT graduate Ann Russell, established the Elenz Family Men’s Swimming and Diving Endowment to bring the athletic department closer to meeting its goal.
“So now here is my chance to give back. It’s important to lead by example, and I’m not afraid to gently remind my teammates that their success in life is in part due to their experience at The University of Texas and what Eddie Reese did for them,” Doug said.