ASU AD Steve Patterson (Photo: ASU)
Let me make this clear, my opinion of Steve Patterson may be biased because he spoiled me with a delicious brunch layout. Sure it sounds funny, but every struggling college student knows what I am talking about.
Since Patterson took over as ASU Athletic Director on March 28th, he has made significant strides in revamping the athletic culture. Ranging from a comprehensive plan to renovate Sun Devil Stadium (a reported $300-million dollar project) to agreeing on a partnership with the Chicago Cubs for a new baseball stadium. Everyone knows about those huge upgrades, yet few know everything else that has been going on.
Here are some changes currently in place to improve ASU's athletic facilities: a million-dollar investment in the Mona Plummer Swimming pool, a new football museum in the Karsten Center, improved weight rooms, completely new locker rooms, new stadium sound systems and more. Recruiting should be much easier with all the advancements Patterson has overseen.
The direction of this athletic program clearly looks positive. Patterson's tenure as the face of ASU's athletic programs is limited, but his impact is widely known.
"We have had a lot of changes in the business practices of how this athletic department is run," Patterson said. "We really never had a business plan for the entire department prior to this past year."
There is no doubt that Patterson is a man with a plan. His success at the professional level will definitely be a beneficial asset, previously holding positions as the senior vice president of the Houston Texans and was even an executive for the NBA and NHL. Patterson has set goals for each athletic program at ASU.
"We sat down with all the coaches and talked about their individual teams and enterprises and what we expect out of them in terms of performance on the field," Patterson said. "We have got hundreds of thousands of alums and we need to energize those folks to give back and get involved with ASU athletics again."
Despite the overwhelming bright outlook in the room, there are still a few questions that need to be answered. For example, where would ASU football play when Sun Devil Stadium is under construction, and why has no formal final agreement with the Cubs been reached?
Patterson nonchantly addressed those concerns, firing back quick and detailed responses. In reference to Sun Devil Stadium, Patterson hinted that it will not be a four or five-year gradual construction project, but more likely a 21-month project where ASU likely plays in either Chase Field or at the Cardinals stadium. Yet the situation with the Cubs is a little more complicating and up in the air.
"We are still in discussions and quite frankly it is taking to long, we had a letter agreement last November," Patterson said. "I have done billion of dollars sports deals and it should not have taken more than six weeks to take what was a multi page letter agreement and reduce it to a contract." Patterson also added, changes in Cubs management have slowed down the process.
Whether ASU baseball partners with the Cubs or not, Patterson said he is not too worried about a ball club that has won 30 ball games a year for about 60 years, and produced the most major leaguers this past season.
Many have noted the changes head football coach Todd Graham has implemented, which all seem to be a clear reflection of Patterson's outlook. With the presidential election coming around, and Obama saying "Change we believe in", the ASU family has no reason not to take Patterson for his word.
"If we pay attention to what we have got to pay attention to here in our house and get these things fixed I think we have got a great opportunity to have fulfillment of the vision that we all have," Patterson said. "We want to be a top competitive team in all our sports and be in top 10 in the Director's Cup every year."