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

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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

USC beats out Alabama, LSU, others for four-star RB Brandon Campbell

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Facing a must-win season — if the season is even playedClay Helton has added a talented piece to his future USC roster.  If he’s still the Trojans’ head coach come next year, of course.

On his personal Twitter account Saturday night, Brandon Campbell announced that he has committed to playing for Helton and his USC football program. According to 247Sports.com, the running back opted for USC over a list of finalists that included Alabama, LSU, Penn State and TCU.

That same site noted that Florida was also a consideration until Reynolds dropped the Gators this past week.

Campbell is a four-star 2021 prospect. He is rated as the No. 22 back in the country. The Katy, Tex., product is also the No. 49 player in the state regardless of position.

Campbell is the fifth commitment for USC this cycle. He’s the third four-star recruit to verbal. Quarterback Jake Garcia is the only five-star commit.

With the commitment, USC now holds the No. 2 class, behind Oregon, in the Pac-12 on the 247Sports.com composite. Overall, the Trojans are 13th nationally according to that same metric.

USC and Oregon, incidentally, are the only Pac-12 schools in the Top 20 currently. The Big Ten far and away leads all conferences with eight Top 20 classes currently, followed by the SEC’s four, ACC’s three and Big 12’s two. Football-independent Notre Dame (No. 6) is in the group as well.

Washington announces death of former player, coach Jim Lambright

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Jim Lambright spent nearly his entire adult life in Husky purple and gold, and the Lambright family announced Sunday that that life has ended.

“I’m deeply saddened by the news of Coach Lambright’s passing,” Washington AD Jennifer Cohen said in a statement. “Coach Lambright is synonymous with Husky football and he gave so much to this program both as a player and coach. My love for the University of Washington was sparked during Coach’s tenure on our football staff and I’m grateful for the impact he had on so many. I’d like to extend heartfelt condolences to his family, former players, teammates and coaches.”

An Everett, Wash., native, Lambright was an all-conference defensive end for the Huskies from 1962-64. He then moved into coaching as an assistant at Fife High School in Tacoma and then at Shoreline Community College north of Seattle.

His former coach Jim Owens called Lambright home in 1969, and he remained on Washington’s staff for the next 30 years.

Future Hall of Fame coach Don James retained Lambright in 1975 and promoted him to defensive coordinator in 1978, where he helped the Washington win six Pac-8/Pac-10 championships, three Rose Bowls and a share of the 1991 national championship.

Lambright was promoted to head coach upon James’ retirement in 1993, where he went 44-25-1 with a share of the Pac-10 title in 1995 and AP top-20 finishes in 1996 and ’97. He was relieved of duties after the 1998 season in favor of Rick Neuheisel.

“Coach Lambright was a legend at the UW, particularly when it came to playing the kind of physical, aggressive defense that his teams were known for,” said Washington head coach Jimmy Lake. “He was always supportive of the program that he loved so much. His impact on Husky football will not be forgotten.”

Lambright is survived by his daughter Kris, son Eric and two grandchildren. He was 77 years old. Cause of death was not revealed.

Patriarch of Hebert family dies of coronavirus complications

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Bobby Hebert, Sr., died Saturday due to complications of COVID-19, the family has announced. He was 81 years old.

Bobby, Sr., was the patriarch of the Hebert clan, a prominent football family in Louisiana.

Bobby Hebert, Jr., played quarterback at Northwestern State in the early 1980s — he was a teammate of Ed Orgeron‘s — before becoming the most decorated player in USFL history and a 12-year quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

Bobby’s grandson, T-Bob Hebert, played center at LSU from 2007-11. He was a redshirt on the Tigers’ 2007 title team and started on the 2011 LSU team that won that season’s SEC title and reached the BCS National Championship.

Bobby, Jr., is now an afternoon host for WWL-AM sports radio in New Orleans, and T-Bob hosts mornings for the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge.

“You can be tough and the virus can still overwhelm you,” Bobby, Jr., said on WWL on Friday.

“I’m kinda numb and shocked. You get numb and then sometimes you don’t want to accept reality and what you are dealing with.”

Through tears, Hebert, Jr., described his father as a “fighter” who survived colon cancer, multiple strokes and a birth defect that required open-heart surgery.

Former LSU WR Orlando McDaniel dies from coronavirus complications

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Former LSU wide receiver Orlando McDaniel has died from complications related to COVID-19, according to LSU track and field coach Dennis Shaver.

Shaver told WBRZ McDaniel fell ill after traveling to Washington, D.C., to visit a family member.

A Shreveport native, McDaniel played wide receiver for LSU from 1978-81. He caught 64 passes for 1,184 yards and three touchdowns over his career in addition to winning an SEC championship and a runner-up finish at the NCAA championships as a 110-meter hurdler.

He was a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1982 and played in three career games.

McDaniel, who was 59 and not 89, founded a youth track club in North Texas after finishing his playing career.

“He was such a tremendous athlete in both sports, but the love he had for track and field was really special,” Shaver told WBRZ. “We’re fortunate that people like him get involved with our youth.

“He was one of the most important people in our sport. He had to persuade youth to spend their summers doing something productive. Orlando had essentially dedicated his life to it. They’d come to summer meets and have two busloads full of people. It was a real impressive group of people. He’s sorely going to be missed.”