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November 6, 2013

Steve Patterson blows away committee with plan

Many involved in the Texas athletic director search feel a culture change is needed in the UT athletic department and that Steve Patterson has the personality and the loyalty to Texas - as an alum - to carry it out the right way.

It was Patterson's fresh-blood, fresh-ideas vision for the athletic department in a Sunday interview as well as his marketing and management experience that catapulted him ahead of front-runner Oliver Luck to become Texas' new AD, multiple sources have told Orangebloods.com.

Patterson takes over an athletic department that rains money but is suffering from low morale because major decisions have been put off by former athletic director DeLoss Dodds, knowing a successor would be coming soon.

How much change is coming?

I was told no one from the athletic department - no coaches or current AD staff - were consulted in the hiring of Patterson.

Mack Brown learned of Patterson's hire on Twitter, I'm told.

There was no internal email that went out to the department Tuesday announcing Patterson's hire. Everyone in the Texas athletic department had the hire confirmed when UT president Bill Powers' office posted the news online.

Why?

Because no one in the current athletic department was involved in the process of hiring Patterson or clued in as the story was breaking.

Many have asked what Patterson's hire will mean for Mack Brown. I've been told, let the season play out.



Patterson has only been an athletic director since March of 2012 (at Arizona State).

In 2011, he became the chief operating officer of the Arizona State athletic department. That year, the Sun Devils botched an attempt to hire SMU's June Jones as football coach after Dennis Erickson was pushed out.

I'm told then-athletic director Lisa Love, Patterson and the school president could not get on the same page about Jones, who was offered the job by Love and accepted, only to have backlash from some high-dollar ASU alums.

ASU officials then balked at paying Jones' buyout and the agreement dissolved, sending Jones back to SMU after Jones had told his bosses there he was leaving.

Awkward.

Even though Love was still the AD, Patterson and the ASU president took more of the reigns - after a search by Eastman & Beaudine - in hiring Todd Graham as football coach.

So even though Patterson still hasn't hired a football coach completely on his own as an AD, he has years of front office experience with the Houston Rockets, Houston Texans and Portland Trailblazers.

Patterson hired Rudy Tomjanovich as the coach of the Rockets and helped build the roster that won world championships in 1994 and 1995.

As a senior vice president and chief development officer of the Texans, Patterson is widely credited with keeping Reliant Stadium as close to on time and on budget as any project that size in NFL history.

I'm told Patterson looks at a project like Texas building a new basketball arena - possibly downtown - as fun, as UT prepares to replace the Erwin Center, which will be demolished in the next 8-15 years to make room for the UT medical school.

Patterson was the president and general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers from 2003-07. He orchestrated the draft day trade for LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland sent its pick, Tyrus Thomas and Viktor Khryapa to Chicago for Aldridge).

In March of 2007, Patterson resigned unexpectedly, and the Trail Blazers promoted Kevin Pritchard to GM, who promptly drafted Greg Oden instead of Kevin Durant with the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft.

Patterson has said repeatedly he would have drafted Durant over Greg Oden if he had still been the GM for the 2007 draft.




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