University of Texas President Bill Powers introduced new Athletic Director Steve Patterson to the press and an audience watching the live-stream online earlier today for the first time. As expected, Powers had nothing but positive things to say about the long-time NBA General Manager, President and sports executive who is taking over once his contract is finalized by the University’s Board of Regents for DeLoss Dodds, who is retiring from the position after 32 years of service.
Patterson was genuinely emotional about his return to the University where he graduated both as an undergraduate and from the Texas Law School. Throughout the course of the 40 minute press conference both during his canned statement and in answering questions from the press corps assembled in the room, Patterson cracked up when speaking about Austin, about returning to Texas, about returning home.
Several times during the question and answer period Patterson was asked in not-so-subtle ways his intentions in terms of the coaches currently in charge of the major programs which have all seen varying degrees of struggle over the course of the past few seasons, namely Mack Brown, Rick Barnes and Augie Garrido. Patterson refused to make concrete statements about the future of any of the three coaches given he hardly knows them and will need time to evaluate all three programs as individual entities before he’s able to make any decisions about the programs’ future.
This is perfectly reasonable given his agreement with Texas is still of the handshake variety between he and Bill Powers until Patterson signs on the dotted line for an amount agreed upon by he and the Board of Regents who are always the final decision makers in a hire of this magnitude.
In reality, regardless of Patterson’s knowledge of the program’s personnel and the environment, his first few months on the job will be full of his own evaluations, using his own metrics and doing what he needs to do to gain a level of comfort with exactly where the program stands. Obviously, the success of the Texas football program between now and mid-December will aid him in making the toughest decision he will have in the early-going, a decision he will be tasked to make (with input).
The future of Mack Brown.
If Texas wins out, finishes the regular season 10-2, and makes it to a first-tier bowl game, some believe Patterson will lose a great deal of goodwill in letting Brown move on under this scenario. If he indeed has it in mind to go a different direction with the head football coaching job, his ability to do so would ironically be made much easier if Texas struggles down the stretch than if they succeed.
No one ever said Steve Patterson’s job would be easy. The number of constituents, stakeholders and interests with whom he must deal to earn his hefty salary is a task of monumental proportions.
If his passion, care and love for Austin, the University and the state is any indication, however, the job he does will be one of great quality.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.