The Univ. of Texas yesterday announced it will hire Arizona State AD Steve Patterson to replace current men's AD DeLoss Dodds, who is retiring after 32 years. Patterson will become the 10th men’s AD in UT history. Patterson, ASU’s AD since ’12, has a bachelor’s degree in business ('80) and a law degree ('84) from UT. Patterson will begin later this fall (UT). In Austin, Bohls & Rosner in a front-page piece report UT chose Patterson over West Virginia AD Oliver Luck, who was "widely considered to be the front-runner for the job for the past month." Patterson will "receive a five-year contract at Texas that pays him" $1.4M a year, tripling his salary of $450,000 from ASU. He also is "eligible to receive separate $100,000 annual bonuses for keeping Longhorns athletics solvent and avoiding major NCAA infractions." Patterson, whose annual budget at ASU was $63M, is "inheriting a robust athletic department whose annual budget exceeds" $167M. Some regard Patterson as "an outstanding businessman who in one year has remade Arizona State athletics into a profitable business model, expanding fundraising for athletics and creating a 425-acre developmental district to pay for renovations of the football stadium" that could cost $400M. A source said Patterson was selected over Luck because he had more "business experience, (made) more coaching hires and is a master in marketing" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/6). ORANGEBLOODS.com's Chip Brown noted Patterson's "no-nonsense approach ... proved to be the difference." A source said that UT President Bill Powers and regents "who have been at odds, 'are aligned' on the hiring of Patterson." The source said that many involved in the AD search feel a "culture change is needed in the UT athletic department and that Patterson has the personality and the loyalty to Texas -- as an alum -- to carry it out the right way" (ORANGEBLOODS.com, 11/5).
ON GOOD RECOMMENDATION: In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes Patterson "brings more of a hard edge and businesslike approach to the job than Luck would have." UT "couldn’t lose with either choice," but Patterson is "more than prepared after tending to every conceivable detail in the pro world." Patterson in the coming months "will have to deal with the roller coaster football season and [football coach] Mack Brown’s precarious future and tenuous job security, Rick Barnes’ careening basketball program and Augie Garrido’s inability to make the NCAA baseball tournament the past two years." He also will "have to figure out a place for a new basketball arena to let the Erwin Center make way for a medical school," and must deal with "any fallout from the looming possibility of a lawsuit brought against the school by former women’s track coach Bev Kearney for unlawful termination." Patterson in many respects is "just the opposite of Dodds," as he is "more media-friendly, more accessible." Bohls: "Unlike Dodds, who got too close to his coaches, Patterson comes mostly from the pro world, which will serve him well as a quasi-front office exec who doesn’t mind making the hard decisions" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/6).
BIG SHOES TO FILL: ESPN.com's Max Olson wrote the "only way to replace the irreplaceable" Dodds after 32 years was to "find a big-picture visionary and an even sharper businessman." But Patterson is "well equipped to inherit Texas athletics in its current state because he has a track record of making significant, immediate change" (ESPN.com, 11/5). In Dallas, Chuck Carlton writes Patterson has "showed no hesitation about reshaping organizations through personnel moves" during his time at ASU and as President & GM of the Trail Blazers. Circuit of the Americas Owner and fellow UT alum Red McCombs said of Patterson, "He's a smart business guy. He's not a guy who feels like he has all the answers. He brings the whole package." McCombs said that Patterson's "lack of college sports experience shouldn't be a problem" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/6). Former Cowboys VP/Player Personnel Gil Brandt said of Patterson, "You can't stand on what you did yesterday, you have to improve it tomorrow. I think that that's one of the things that he will do. ... I think that he will do a good job of increasing what they've already experienced down there at the University of Texas" ("Longhorn Extra," Longhorn Network, 11/5).
DEJA VU: In Phoenix, Jeff Metcalfe notes ASU now has "lost a third athletic director to an other-worldly competitor." ASU President Michael Crow said, "We’ve been picked off like this three times in the the last 14 years. One of the things I’m looking for in this job is a builder for a new kind of model rather than someone to manage the larger and more expensive model.” Kevin White left ASU for Notre Dame in '00 and, "after Crow was hired, Gene Smith went to Ohio State in 2005." Crow said that his permission "was needed for Patterson to specifically leave for Texas and that 'as a function of our agreement, he’s not allowed to hire someone from ASU.'” Crow named Senior VP/Educational Outreach & Student Services James Rund interim AD (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/6). Also in Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes of Patterson, "The juxtaposition of where he was and where he is heading delivers a strong reminder of the vision Crow sees for ASU athletics." Crow said, "I am looking for people committed to the model that we’re trying to advance. Obviously, there are other models. There are models of $6 million football coaches. Maybe that’ll soon be $10 million. For me, I don’t think that’s the way for college sports to go." He added, "Are we a stepping-stone? No. We’re a fantastic university doing fantastic things. People in college sports, in my view, need to be more committed to the institution than they are committed only to the dollar" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/6).
THE RUNNERS UP: In West Virginia, Mitch Vingle writes while it "might have been a bad day for Luck, it was a very good day for WVU." The school will "not only keep a sharp mind, but one of the nation's most respected athletic directors." When Luck "makes a call, college athletic administrators take it." No one has "done more for WVU in the athletic arena in such a short time." There are few who "could have moved WVU from the sinking Big East into the wealthy lifeboat that is the Big 12" (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 11/6). Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Matt Jones wrote Arkansas AD Jeff Long will "receive a pay raise and bonus after Texas showed interest in interviewing him" for the position last week. Long will receive a $100,000 "annual pay raise beginning next year that will pay him" more than $1M. He also will "receive a one-time bonus worth $100,000 and would owe the university" $1.3M should he accept another job prior to June 30, 2015 (NWAONLINE.com, 11/5).
SABAN RUMORS START UP AGAIN: The AP's Jim Vertuno noted Alabama football coach Nick Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton told UT officials that it was the "only school" for which he would consider leaving Alabama. Sexton made the comments to former UT regent Tom Hicks and current regent Wallace Hall. Hicks in an e-mail wrote, "Sexton confirmed that UT is the only job Nick would possibly consider leaving Alabama for, and that his success there created special pressure for him" (AP, 11/5). In Tuscaloosa, Cecil Hurt writes under the header, "Saban-To-Texas Rumors All Smoke Until There's A Fire." Hurt: "Here is what we don't have: any direct quote from Saban. Any direct quote from Sexton. ... We also lack a definition of what 'possibly consider' might mean for an agent, if Sexton actually did say it" (TUSCALOOSA NEWS, 11/6).