The University of Texas at Austin
  • New AD Patterson: “It’s Good to be Home”

    By Tracy Mueller
    Published: Nov. 7, 2013

    Speaking publicly from The University of Texas at Austin campus for the first time since being announced as the new men’s athletic director, a visibly emotional Steve Patterson said, “It’s good to be home.”

    Patterson, who earned both a bachelor’s degree in business and a law degree from UT, spoke to reporters at an introductory press conference with President Bill Powers Thursday.

    New University of Texas athletic director Steve Patterson

    “You couldn’t pick a finer institution to work for,” Patterson said. “It’s a great brand and a great, life-changing place.” [Photo credit: UT Athletics]

    Wearing an orange tie and Longhorn lapel pin, he called Texas the premiere college athletics program in the country, saying, “We want to compete for championships day in and day out and continue to graduate our students with ethics.” He said he accepted the job before any salary or contract discussion. “This really was a homecoming,” he said.

    Patterson, 55, has served as athletic director at Arizona State University since 2012. Previously, he worked for more than two decades in professional sports as an executive with the NFL’s Houston Texans, the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Aeros hockey team. He also served as president of Pro Sports Consulting.

    Powers called Patterson “the perfect man” to continue the UT athletics tradition that flourished under legendary directors like Dana X. Bible, Darrell K Royal and current athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who will serve as an assistant to the president after Patterson takes over later this fall. Powers said he was most impressed with the fact that Patterson opened his job interview with stories about the transformative effect being at Arizona State had on its student athletes.

    Calling sports the “front porch” of the university, Patterson said he wants to grow the athletics programs in such a way that advances the university as a whole and prepares student-athletes for life after college. Patterson was asked about facilities, the coaching staff and conference alignment, but said it’s too early for those discussions.

    “My approach is not to make change for the sake of change,” he said. “But when you have a vision and goals and expectations, people in the organization have to meet those expectations,” he added. “The only way to be successful is to have everyone pulling in the same direction, and that’s from the guy mowing the lawn to the guy in the AD seat.”

    Asked about his fondest memories as a UT student, Patterson mentioned watching Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell and legendary basketball coach Abe Lemons. He also referenced a notorious student government presidential campaign he managed, helping elect a fictional cartoon character over Paul Begala, who would later become a national political operative. (Begala was later declared the victor.)

    Patterson also spoke about his love for Austin, its culture, music and food. (“It was great to get off the plane last night and smell barbecue in the airport,” he said.) The city even served as the inspiration behind naming his son, Austin, who is a UT advertising senior. Patterson joked that he originally wanted to name him Bevo, but his wife wouldn’t allow it.

    Patterson will return to Arizona State next week to meet with the president and close out work there and expects to be on the job in Austin within the next few weeks.

    Watch the full press conference:

     

    • Quote 2
      Tom Kemp said on Dec. 6, 2013 at 3:22 p.m.
      Got to know Steve when he was President of the Portland Trailblazers. He never got the credit he deserved for helping turn around a very difficult situation with a very dysfunctional owner organization. Not many people could have accomplished what Steve did in Portland. Tom Kemp
    • Quote 2
      John Rothgeb said on Nov. 9, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
      @Greg - "an ethnocentric approach"??? Was that a typo or did you now know what you were saying? As to the Harvey article, it has the appearance of a hatchet job, but only time and performance will tell.
    • Quote 2
      Michael Williams said on Nov. 8, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
      One thing that I don't understand is why there was a student government election at all in 1982. In 1978 (when I graduated), we students voted to abolish student government, and if that wasn't enough, the winner of the election for SB president was "None of the Above". The Daily Texan even did a spoof interview with "None" afterward, and posted a picture of a person with a blanked out face.
    • Quote 2
      Bill said on Nov. 8, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.
      Sounds like a good choice and I'm glad he has a sense of humor!
    • Quote 2
      mark zamutt said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 9:49 p.m.
      Great to have you back steve. Steve and I were RA's at Dobie together in 1976, 77 He was great to work with back then. He'll do a very good job here. Hook em Steve.
    • Quote 2
      Walt Huff said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 9:14 p.m.
      Congrats Steve. Right man for the job and welcome "home". Look forward to catching up!
    • Quote 2
      Bob Moore said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 8:55 p.m.
      Looks like a good hire. I sure hope that they didn't just hire a Dodds clone. Texas has the ability to field so many more men's and women's sports than they currently do. Lets open up some honest discussions about adding to the sports offerings at UT. When Dodds met with the National Wrestling Coaches Association back in 2006, he said "if I were to add any sports it would Men's Wrestling and Women's Gymnastics". Nothing was added. Here you have the big 12 losing teams to other conferences, and several powerhouse wrestling programs (Oklahoma /Oklahoma State) encouraging Texas to man up and meet them on the wrestling mat and still no action. I would hope that we've gotten past the notion that Longhorn Football is the only thing that matters at UT. I feel certain that some feel that it's better to have few sports but be exceptionally good at each of them. There is absolutely no reason why Texas cannot be extremely good in Wrestling.
    • Quote 2
      David Bolger said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 6:54 p.m.
      As a Texas Ex living in Phoenix, I have been able to watch the positive effect Steve Patterson has had on athletics at ASU, working with a much smaller budget than will be available to him at UT. As evidenced by the obvious shock from the sports writers and the President of ASU at the announcement, Patterson had made an impact on ASU in a very short time. Great hire!
    • Quote 2
      RON FINN said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:56 p.m.
      The University of Texas will benefit from this change. Now welcome home Bill Powers and put the LONG HORN NATION back on the map.....get busy....Hook-em
    • Quote 2
      Rick Canales said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:40 p.m.
      I knew Steve while we lived at Dobie Center in '76. Great guy and a great sports guy. Congrats, brother! Hope we get a chance to reconnect some time. Rick
    • Quote 2
      Tom Stallings said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.
      Great hire! I was privileged to work under Steve for four seasons at the Aeros when it was starting up but we all knew of him from his days putting together the nucleus of the Rockets team that won back to back championships in the mid 90's. He was profoundly competent and no one was surprised when he got hired away by the Texans organization to help land the team and get Reliant Stadium built. Not just the right guy, but a great guy too. In addition, he is a fellow Longhorn. Hook 'em!
    • Quote 2
      JOYCE GOODMAN said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.
      Great choice! He did great things for sports teams in Houston. Hook'em Joyce Goodman, B.A. 1960
    • Quote 2
      Paul Bennett said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 4:51 p.m.
      I do really hope UT has selected the Athletic Director who has the wherewithal to put UT at the pinnacle of athletics. UT has what it takes to recruit the best and the best deserve to be coached by the best. The University of Alabama has figured this out. Paul Bennett Graduate of 1969
    • Quote 2
      Greg Asvestas said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.
      What a great hire! He has roots, passion, creativity and vision along with an ethnocentric approach… His ability to see the big picture and realize that athletics is part of the whole is great. The program has an effect not only on its student athletes, but the all stake holders of the university. Hook ‘em. Greg
    • Quote 2
      MAURICE BRONSTAD said on Nov. 7, 2013 at 4:43 p.m.
      There was a very uncomplimentary editorial by Buck Harvey in today's San Antonio Express/News. I'm willing to give Patterson the benefit of the doubt because I don't always agree with Harvey. HOOKEM, STEVE!
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