After helping to get the Arizona State athletic department back on track, Steve Patterson will have a massive undertaking in his new position as athletic director at the University of Texas.
House of Sparky spoke with Barking Carnival editor Vasherized who made it clear that the unrest in Texas has reached a boiling point and Patterson will have to make an immediate impact upon taking over for retiring athletic director DeLoss Dodds. Vasherized is close to the situation and offered a number of thoughts on Patterson's hiring.
Dodds' salary of $1.1 million is a significant step up from Patterson's current salary of $450,000, but Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported that Patterson will make $1.4 million upon taking over at Texas. Vasherized said that Texas has a number of big donors willing to roll out their check books, including TRT Holdings founder Bob Rowling.
TRT Holdings is the holding company for Gold's Gym and Omni Hotels and Rowling is an influential character behind the scenes at Texas. Rowling generously dug into his pockets when Texas governor Rick Perry ran for President and it's believed that Rowling's support could have played a role in Patterson's hiring.
One of the more interesting aspects of Patterson's hire is that the search committee at Texas chose the ASU athletic director over West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck. Luck appeared to be the front-runner for the job throughout the process until Patterson wowed the committee with his presentation.
Vasherized said the committee consisted of people from all walks of life and did not include members of the Texas athletic department. Various politicians, congressmen, and successful businesspeople were among those who Patterson impressed. Vasherized noted that Patterson was particularly convincing in a second interview he had with the search committee that helped finalize its decision.
The most important decision Patterson will face as athletic director will be deciding the fate of Texas football coach Mack Brown. Brown was hired in 1998 to lead the Longhorns' program but he has since fallen out of favor with Texas athletic department donors. Even if Brown wins out and leads Texas to a Big 12 Championship, it's not certain that Brown will return as the head coach.
Vasherized noted that Texas was embarrassed by BYU earlier this season, and that loss coupled with a defeat against Ole Miss will continue to stick in the minds of Texas football donors and fans. According to Vasherized, no one at the university believes Texas football is back.
Since the time Mack Brown's job security began to diminish, Texas has reportedly had its eyes on Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Vasherized said that Patterson's relationship with Saban (the two have supposedly hunted together) could have played a role in his hiring. Another candidate for the job is Baylor coach Art Briles, who does not appear to have any connection with Patterson.
Patterson's experience at the higher levels of sports and his reputation as a deal-maker helped solidify his candidacy for the Texas job. If Patterson decides to cut ties with Mack Brown, many possible replacements Patterson would hire are represented by agent Jimmy Sexton. It's possible that Patterson has crossed paths with Sexton during his time working in the NFL and the NBA.
The expectations will certainly rise for Patterson when he takes over for Dodds at Texas. Vasherized indicated that donors will be in his ear and that the athletic department is in need of a quick turnaround.