According to various reports, the Texas Longhorns will hire Arizona State athletics director Steve Patterson to be the Longhorns’ next AD. Among the decisions that await Patterson will be the future of football coach Mack Brown. For months, there were rumors that Brown could step “down” from his current role and into that of the AD at season’s end. It’s certainly not going to happen now.
Brown, who has led Texas on a bizarre up-and-down season that now somehow has the Longhorns eyeing the Big 12 championship, is under contract until 2020 and will be paid $5.4 million this year. Needless to say, it’s now sink or swim for Brown as Texas’ head coach. The university obviously has no intention of throwing him the alleged safety net of the AD role if the Longhorns’ season goes under.
Later this week, Patterson, a Texas graduate, will formally be announced as the replacement for DeLoss Dodds, who is stepping down after 32 years. He will receive a multi-year deal starting around $1.4 million per year. Dodds, who will remain under contract until Aug. 31, 2014, oversees an athletics budget of $163.3 million, which is the largest in the nation. Now, the Longhorns’ Texas-sized athletics program will be handed off to the 55-year-old Patterson.
Inquiring minds can’t help but wonder if the football team’s turnaround had anything to do with the university’s decision to move forward with the hire before the end of the season. If the on-field struggles had continued, would Texas have waited until the end of the season and moved Brown down the hall into a new office?
The Texas AD job is widely considered to be one of the most coveted positions in college sports, and though Patterson is relatively unheard of as a college administrator, he has worked extensively in professional sports. Patterson worked with the NFL‘s Houston Texans (1997-2003), as well as the NBA‘s Houston Rockets (1989-93) and Portland Trail Blazers (’03-07). His jobs with those franchises were senior vice president and chief development officer, general manager and team president, respectively.