SBD/December 16, 2013/Colleges

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  • Texas AD Patterson Faced With Extreme Pressure In Replacing Mack Brown

    Patterson said UT is looking for a coach with extensive college experience

    Texas men's AD Steve Patterson is "on the clock" after less than three weeks on the job, as he already is "faced with the overwhelming task" of replacing football coach Mack Brown, according to Kirk Bohls of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Brown announced Saturday that he is stepping down after 16 seasons following UT's game against Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Patterson "knocked one out of the park" while he was at Arizona State when he hired football coach Todd Graham, who "remade the football environment" at ASU in two years and reached this year's Pac-12 title game. However, it is "one thing to fire ticket managers and secretaries and golf coaches," but is "entirely another to hire a football coach at the place that immortalized D.X. Bible and Darrell Royal." Patterson "might think he’s immune to pressure," but he is now "swimming in college sports’ biggest fishbowl" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/16). Brown said that he will "remain employed" at UT as a special assistant to President Bill Powers following the Alamo Bowl. Powers yesterday said that Patterson "will be in charge of selecting Texas' next head coach, and they've yet to decide whether a search firm will be hired." Patterson acknowledged that Texas' hire "will need 'extensive' experience coaching in college." Patterson: "College football is a different enterprise than the NFL. There are far different requirements of a college coach." Meanwhile, Powers indicated he had "no contact" with either Alabama coach Nick Saban, who agreed to a contract extension with his current school over the weekend, Saban's "agent or any intermediaries." Powers: "All of those rumors of lunches and meetings were simply unfounded." (ESPN.com, 12/15).

    SETTING THE STANDARD: In Austin, Brian Davis wrote Brown has "set an incredibly high standard" during his time at the school. UT's next coach "must get the fans excited again, mollify demanding boosters, connect with the state’s high school coaches, compete in a difficult recruiting landscape and contribute to the omnipresent Longhorn Network." Davis: "Oh, and win" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/15). In Dallas, Chuck Carlton wrote the "key choice may be finding the coach who can handle the most duties associated with the job." UT "doesn’t just need a guy with a system, or a recruiter or charisma with alums or organizational skills." It needs "all of it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/15). ESPN's Brett McMurphy said the big challenge for the next UT coach is "how they can deal with the media, how they can deal with the boosters." McMurphy: "Texas is a unique situation. You've got to have somebody that can deal with the commitments and demands of the Longhorn Network. How much that will play into the decision I'm not sure, but certainly that is a consideration" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/15).

    THE EYES OF TEXAS: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote UT "is a great job," and is the "kind of job that almost can't be screwed up." UT has "every imaginable resource: money, facilities, media attention, fan interest, institutional commitment, a beautiful campus, renowned academics," and the "charisma of Austin." UT is "swinging a corked bat, which changes the definition of a home-run hire" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/15). In Austin, Cedric Golden wrote, "Expect Texas to make a splash with the new hire even though it’s obvious that the guy will be the fans’ second choice" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/15). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde wrote the question surrounding the coaching hire is "whether this public and, at times, ugly separation with Brown will dissuade" some candidates. UT politics is "often a theater of the absurd -- but when it trickles down to the college football level, that might be more drama than a lot of alpha dog coaches want to be involved with." School administrators "may have some explaining to do to wary job candidates" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/14).

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  • UCF Struggling To Sell Off Fiesta Bowl Ticket Allotment, On The Hook For Over $5M

    UCF officials remain confident the school won't take a financial hit from the game

    UCF so far has sold just 5,000 tickets for its Jan. 1 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl matchup against Baylor, "less than one-third" of the school's 17,500 ticket allotment it is "required to purchase for the bowl game," according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The figure "includes band members and player and team compensatory tickets -- meaning fewer than 5,000 tickets have been sold." The tickets sales could "have a significant impact on the financial implications of the bowl trip." UCF is "on the hook" for about $5.3M in expenses, including $3.4M for its ticket allotment and about $1.9M in travel and other expenses. The program received $2.4M "from the American Athletic Conference for its Fiesta Bowl appearance." The school has "made a push to sell tickets, including an open letter to fans from UCF President John Hitt." UCF Athletics Association CFO Brad Stricklin earlier this month said that the school will "need to sell at least 13,000 tickets to break even financially." He added that the school also will "receive the majority" of a $1M pot "set aside by the conference to offset ticket losses by its bowl-eligible schools." UCF AD Todd Stansbury said that he was "confident UCF would not take a substantial financial hit from the bowl game" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/16).

    YOU SAY POTATO: In San Diego, Stefanie Loh noted San Diego State "won't sell anywhere near the number of tickets" for the Dec. 21 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Buffalo that SDSU "managed in its two Poinsettia Bowl appearances" in the past three seasons. However, the school is a week into ticket sales and has "at least already surpassed the dismal sales numbers they put up ... when they traveled to the New Orleans Bowl" in '11. SDSU Associate AD Steve Schnall on Friday said that the school has "already exceeded the 1,200 tickets they sold for the New Orleans Bowl but declined to release the exact number sold thus far because he’s waiting for the SDSU football players and coaches to submit their ticket requests." SDSU's initial allotment of Potato Bowl tickets is 8,000, and the school is "required to purchase those tickets up front and absorb any unsold tickets." Potato Bowl officials said that they have "sold about 27,000 tickets so far" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/15).

    HEADING SOUTH: In St. Paul, Marcus Fuller reported Minnesota is "ahead of last year's pace in terms of ticket sales" for the Dec. 27 Texas Bowl against Syracuse. But UM Deputy AD David Benedict on Friday said that the school only has "a week left to surpass last year's total of 3,200 tickets sold" for the same game. UM traditionally has a "history of poor fan turnout when they return to the same bowl games." Texas Bowl officials said that they are "expecting a crowd of at least 50,000" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/14).

    ROSES ARE GREEN: Michigan State AD Mark Hollis yesterday confirmed that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "helped find about 200 more tickets" for the school's Rose Bowl matchup against Stanford. MSU Associate AD/Ticket Operations Wendy Brown said that the new-found tickets "along with cancellations means all MSU donors at the Honorary Coaches level -- those who give between $2,000 and $4,999 annually -- will now get four tickets if they requested them" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/16).

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