"It's nice to be home" were the first words publicly spoken by Texas' new athletic director, Steve Patterson. The former Arizona State athletic director was announced as DeLoss Dodds' replacement Tuesday after Patterson blew away the advisory committee that assisted in the AD search.
People who follow professional sports—primarily Houston sports and the NBA in the 1990s—may be familiar with the experience Patterson brings to Texas. But for those Texas fans who are unfamiliar with his success as a sports executive, here are everything you need to know about Patterson and why he is a great fit as Texas' athletic director.
The Patterson File (Via TheSunDevils.com)
- 1980: Graduated with honors from the University of Texas earning a Bachelor's of Business Administration Degree.
- 1984: Graduated from the UT Law School with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence.
- 1989-93: General Manager of the Houston Rockets. He helped build the Rockets roster that won the franchise's first NBA Championship in 1994.
- 1993-97: General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. He also served as the President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated the Compaq Center—home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets.
- 1997-2003: Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Houston Texans. He helped lead Bob McNair's successful effort to acquire the NFL franchise and Super Bowl for Houston. Patterson was also responsible for the development of Reliant Stadium—which marked the first time in NFL history that a project of that size was completed on-time and within budget.
- 2003-07: President of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was responsible for drafting NBA All-Stars Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.
- 2007-present: President of Pro Sports Consulting.
- 2011-12: Chief Operating Officer for the Arizona State Sun Devils.
- 2012-13: Men's athletic director for Arizona State.
Why Patterson fits at Texas
Reason one: He is not afraid to make necessary changes.
Patterson entered his interview with the Texas advisory committee with a this-is-who-I-am mentality. UT President Bill Powers said Patterson and he did not discuss exact changes that need to be made in the athletic department, but Patterson will evaluate potential changes.
"I don't see this (Texas) as I have other places that needed a dramatic turnaround," Patterson said Thursday. "I don't anticipate monstrous changes to the department. I think we need to keep doing what we do well and find places where we can grow and do a better job with things we can improve on. It will take a little time and evaluation of who all is there."
Patterson may not currently admit Texas is in need of change, but he also will not be afraid to make the necessary changes. During his stint at Arizona State, Patterson was responsible for replacing nearly 100 athletic department staff members, according to Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com.
Texas' big three sports—football, men's basketball and baseball—have under-performed since 2010, yet the three head coaches' salaries total more than $8.7 million each year. One of the biggest decisions Patterson will make is determining the fate of the big three coaches: Mack Brown, Rick Barnes and Augie Garrido.
But, Texas fans should not be worried. Patterson is more than equipped to make the necessary changes and find the right coaches to take over at Texas.
Reason two: He has experience building stadiums on-time and within budget.
Patterson will be in charge of finding a new home for the Texas basketball arena, which will be destroyed within the next 8-15 years and replaced by the UT Medical School.
Considering his record of building Reliant Stadium, Patterson should have no issues creating an extraordinary basketball arena for Texas and its fans.
"You look at these facilities as representations of the needs of a community," Patterson said of building a new Texas basketball arena. "Hopefully, you turn that into glass, concrete, steel and some wood on the floor. Most importantly, a great experience for folks when they come here to really interact with UT in a great branding experience."
Reason three: He has personal ties to Texas.
Patterson explained his decision to accept the job as the Longhorns AD as a "homecoming." Patterson attended high school in Houston before attending the University of Texas and the UT Law School.
"To this day, I don't have a piece of paper or a contract," Patterson said of accepting the Texas AD job. "We have a hand-shake, and that's how I do business. I looked at this as an opportunity for me and my family to come home."
Reason four: His students-first mentality.
"Steve helped build an NBA Championship team and brought the Super Bowl game to Houston," Powers said in a statement Wednesday. "Far more important, he's run a winning program at Arizona State that places students first and is committed to their lifelong success."
Patterson's marketing and business experience were the difference between Patterson and his competition, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck, according to Pete Thamel of SI.com.
"We had two great candidates," Pam Willeford, member of the Texas advisory committee said Thursday. "Steve (Patterson) had the experience that gave him the edge."
Patterson brings an edge that the Texas athletic department has been lacking for a number of years. His no-nonsense outlook and track record of making necessary changes—in both personnel and facilities—should give Longhorn fans hope for the future of Texas athletics.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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