Steve Patterson

Report: Steve Patterson on his way out as Texas AD; what happens to Longhorns football next?


The University of Texas will reportedly buy out the contract of athletics director Steve Patterson, which seems to be moving quickly.

A report from Brian Davis and Kirk Bohls on says University of Texas President Gregory Fenves is expected to fire Patterson as early as today. The two are expected to meet Tuesday to make the decision official. Former Texas linebacker Mike Perrin is expected to be named the interim AD. Former Longhorns head coach Mack Brown is not expected to be a candidate for the permanent job, although Brown did meet with the university president before this decision was made, according to the report.

What does this mean for Texas football? For starters, Charlie Strong is not going anywhere. While it would be ideal for an AD to be able to choose his or her own football coach, Strong is just underway in his second season of what was supposed to be a multi-year rebuild. No AD, be they interim or permanent, will step in and make that drastic a change right off the bat. The 2016 season could tell a different story, but let’s hold off on any thought of Strong being let go as head coach of the Longhorns. For now, Strong’s job should be considered safe.

What Texas needs is an AD that will smooth over relations with the donors and fans that support Texas football. That has been one of the biggest issues Patterson has been faced with, with a bulk of the responsibility for a strained marriage falling on his shoulders. Texas needs someone that can come in, make the best decisions for the Longhorns from a budget perspective but also from a public relations stance. Patterson may have been making decent business decisions, but it alienated the supporters in the process. There needs to be a balance between making hard decisions and pleasing those who fund the program and university from their own checking accounts. That is where Patterson ultimately failed, and where Texas can ill-afford to mess up again.

Texas should not simply hire a Texas guy for the sake of making Texas fans happy. It is still OK to think outside the box with its next AD hire, and it remains OK to bring in someone with no previous ties to the Longhorns. A fresh point of view can benefit Texas, but it will also be important whoever the next AD ends up being understands the pressures to make fans happy. Donors will be happy to continue writing checks as long as they feel appreciated and the team is winning. If the team is not winning, then the AD needs to bend over backward to sell the message it is committed to improving without caving too soon on Strong as head coach.

Rumor focuses on Texas AD Steve Patterson’s not-so-tight job security


After one week of the season, Texas head coach Charlie Strong made some adjustments to his coaching staff responsibilities. Now it appears there is a bit of uncertainty surround the status of Strong’s boss, athletic director Steve Patterson. The not-so-popular Patterson could be on the chopping block according to one report, suggesting new Texas president Gregory Fenves is evaluating Patterson and considering a change at the position.

Patterson is only in his third season as the Texas AD, and the transition has not been sitting well with many Texas fans, especially those with deep pockets. A report from says the number of donors expressing concern about Patterson has led Fenves to believe Texas could lose some significant donations if Patterson remains the AD.

Patterson has been accused of running the Texas athletics program like a business in the past, and his business-like approach may lead to some fiscal advantages in some areas, but it has ruffled plenty of feathers along the way that have been documented. Patterson has scoffed at some of the criticisms hurled his way, saying he was hired to make some tough decisions. It was under Patterson that Texas made a coaching change with Mack Brown seemingly shown the door while Charlie Strong of Louisville was brought in. Patterson also oversaw the hiring of Shaka Smart as the new men’s basketball coach. From a coaching standpoint, Patterson seems to have made some good hires for these two programs, although Strong’s rebuilding process in Austin is not moving along as steadily and quickly as some would prefer to see at Texas. The rise of programs like TCU and Baylor within the Big 12 and the surge Texas A&M has seen since moving to the SEC have put the pressure on the Longhorns to recapture the state of Texas by any means necessary.

It is Patterson’s handling of the business side of the Longhorns football program that has caused the most uproar though. This year saw Texas season tickets increase by a higher percentage than intiially promised, and parking now costs extra even for season ticket holders. Surely there are a number of fans that see Patterson as the face of Texas searching for the almighty dollar before looking for wins and Big 12 titles, but Texas was already heading in that direction long before Patterson’s arrival.

Texas AD Patterson fires back at critics: Somebody has to make tough decisions


There is no doubting Texas athletics director Steve Patterson has his critics. Patterson is well aware of this, but he says somebody has to make the tough choices for Texas athletics.

Some people may like what we’re doing and some people may not,” Patterson said Friday, according to The Dallas Morning News. “But somebody has to make tough decisions day in and day out to try to stay focused on what’s most important to us.”

What’s important to Texas? Money. Patterson was hired to print more of it in Austin. Every athletics director is, if we are being totally honest about the situation.

Sometimes Patterson seems to go too far for the comfort level of longtime Texas supporters, and if he is not careful hen he could run into a similar fate faced by Dave Brandon at Michigan. The AD is responsible for ensuring financial stability of an athletics department, as well as ensuring everything runs smoothly and within the rules, but the AD is also the face of an athletics program and that comes with great responsibility to the fan base. Alienating fans and supporters is never wise, and Patterson appears to have done that to some degree since being brought into the fold. Patterson admitted some fault to communication issues experienced by some fans.

“I think we probably haven’t communicated as smoothly on some things as we would have liked to,” Patterson said. “Sometimes, we are moving as fast as we can to deal with the changing environment in college athletics.”

Texas AD Steve Patterson accused of running Longhorn athletics like a business (because it is)


Earlier today Texas athletics director Steve Patterson was taken to task in a featured story profiling his interaction with the Texas community and supporters in rather unpleasant fashion. The report, published by Horns Digest, accused Patterson of deceiving Texas fans and ticket holders and having more loyalty to the Pac-12 and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott than his own school and conference. In response to the story, Patterson is now being compared to former Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon, as both are painted as administrators more concerned about maxing the incoming revenue before giving genuine care to the improvement of various programs. Things did not play out well for Brandon in Ann Arbor, and now Patterson is faced with brushing back an equally negative opinion.

As far as the football part of the story is concerned, there were some interesting tidbits of information revealed by the report. Although given credit for the hiring of head coach Charlie Strong after it seemed he was hired to show Mack Brown the door, Patterson is painted as a man lacking in support from football fans. Among the accusations, Patterson misled football season ticket holders regarding price increases by raising prices by more than three times the previously stated hike. Instead of a stated six percent increase, ticket prices spiked 21.5 percent following a 6-7 season. By comparison, Oklahoma did not raise ticket prices following an 8-5 season. One highly-ranked loyalty points member suggested that is a big reason why an estimated 10,000 season ticket holders did not renew their packages for Texas football. In addition, under Patterson’s leadership, Texas stopped including parking costs with season ticket packages. Parking can now cost between $100 and $195 for a season pass for each season ticket holder. The same donor also suggested Patterson’s relationship with the fan base is disingenuous. Any good, self-respecting AD will make it a point to have solid and positive relationships with the fans, and Patterson appears to be falling short in this area.

It should be said that the role of an athletics director is first and foremost to find ways to generate revenue for a sport, athletic department and university. There are many different ways to go about it, and sometimes it does seem college sports has taken on a more business approach in many areas. Sometimes this is a good thing, and sometimes it can be a bad thing. But if running a college athletics department is to be run as a business, the basic principle should still apply, and that is keeping the customers happy. Happy customers lead to more sales. In the case of Texas, sales come in season tickets, merchandise sales, alcohol sales (they’re doing that now) and advertising revenue. Texas has much to offer, and much to manage. Having an athletics director capable of handling those expectations is key, but if the customers fans are not happy then some things need to change before it is too late.

The Texas fanbase is not going anywhere. College sports fans do not abandon their favorite teams and schools so easily, but they can be extremely vocal in many ways and that’s not just on message boards. If Texas is suffering with ticket sales, it is now on Patterson to address it in a way that satisfies the fans and donors. Some fanbases are more open to new ideas and changes, while others will be more reluctant to embrace change. This is especially true if results are not being seen quickly. Given the information in the Horns Digest story, Patterson has a lot of people to sway in his favor, and who knows how much time he will have to do it.

You can read the full story and form your own opinions based on the information provided. Of course, there is always a second side to a story, and Patterson reportedly denied an opportunity to comment for the story. On College Basketball Talk, Rob Dauster went a little more in-depth with reaction to how the story focused on Patterson’s treatment of former men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes. The report

Texas AD says non-power conferences want to take rules back to 1950


The dividing line between the haves and have-nots in college football, and collegiate athletics in general, continues to widen. Concern over the possible vote for autonomy has been a major talking point this offseason, and the viewpoints for and against the extra power for the power conferences have been sparking debate left and right. Now Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson has gotten involved, suggesting those opposing autonomy are trying to revert to a past generation of NCAA governance.

“It’s a part of the everyday business right now,” Patterson said in an interview with Sports Business Journal. “There’s five conferences that want to do the best they can for their student athletes and provide them with the best outcomes. There’s a bunch of other schools that are fairly atavistic in their viewpoints and want to take the rules back to 1950. That’s not going to happen.”

Boise State president Bob Kustra previously took aim at the power conferences, suggesting the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC are being selfish and putting academics second for the benefit of athletics. That notion has been disputed by those from the power conferences, of course. Patterson says Texas and other schools are in a position to be able to do more for student-athletes, and every school should be able to respect the differences each school has.

“There’s nothing wrong with having different kinds of programs at different schools,” Patterson said. “We’re in a different position. We ought to be able to respect our differences.”

Patterson even went so far as to suggest the five power conferences should be able to operate under a separate set of guidelines or powers or threaten to leave and start a new organization. That is a concept that has been mentioned before, with the whole Division IV idea.

“They need to let the more well-resourced conferences operate, or these five conferences need to leave. It’s that simple,” Patterson said, referring to the non-power conferences. “We’ve waited far too long and we’ve been far too accommodating. … I think there’s a harder and harder resolve as each day goes by for the institutions in higher-profile conferences to take the necessary moves.”

The line has been drawn. Choose your side.

Helmet sticker to Dr. Saturday.