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 HornsDigest.com 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.