With undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas, Steve Patterson experienced first-hand the transformative power of the Forty Acres. He lived and breathed the pride and passion of the Texas Longhorns.
"It's a life-changing place," Patterson said.
Now, Patterson returns to his college alma mater to assume a leadership role on a campus that prides itself on changing the world. The veteran sports executive officially took over duties as the seventh men's athletics director at UT on November 25, 2013.
Patterson, 55, previously served as athletics director at Arizona State University, and he succeeds DeLoss Dodds who served as UT men's athletics director from 1981-2013. Patterson is poised to continue the athletics tradition that flourished under legendary directors like Dodds, Darrell K Royal and Dana X. Bible.
"To be able to follow DeLoss Dodds in this role is something I never really thought about," Patterson said. "This is a premier program, and it has been for decades. We want to compete for championships day in and day out. We want to graduate our students and do it with great ethics."
In just more than a year with Arizona State, Patterson saw graduation rates rise, and he was able to reinvigorate the constituency of former letterwinners.
Prior to his time with the Sun Devils, Patterson 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, as well as the Houston Aeros hockey team. He also served as president of Pro Sports Consulting.
He has built championship teams and designed, financed, built and run stadiums and arenas.
As President of the Portland Trail Blazers, The Rose Garden and Rose City Radio from 2003-07, Patterson was responsible for all business and basketball operations for the team and arena, as well as local media outlets. Patterson engineered a record six draft-day trades that resulted in the selection of NBA Rookie of the Year and three time NBA All-Star Brandon Roy and fellow All-Rookie First Team, NBA All-Star and All-NBA member LaMarcus Aldridge, a former Longhorn standout.
From 1997-2003, Patterson served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Houston Texans NFL franchise where he led Bob McNair's successful effort to acquire a National Football League franchise and Super Bowl XXXVIII for Houston, Texas. Patterson was responsible for the establishment of the team's business, legal, media and political operations, as well as the development, design, finance and construction of Reliant Stadium.
Prior to joining the Texans, Patterson was the President, General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. For his efforts there, he was named the 1995 winner of the Andy Mulligan Trophy as the International Hockey League's Executive of the Year. In addition to his roles with the Aeros, Patterson also acquired and served as President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated Compaq Center, Houston's home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets. He coordinated the six-year, $7.5 million naming rights and sponsorship deal with the Compaq Computer Corporation and the $5 million renovation of the arena.
As General Manager of the Houston Rockets from 1989-93, he was the primary architect of the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets squad that captured the first NBA World Championship in franchise history, signing or trading for all the team's players and coaches. Patterson also led the club's successful bid to host the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, which held the all-time attendance record of 44,735 for 21 years.
UT President Bill Powers called Patterson "the perfect man" to take the helm of the Longhorns' athletic program.
"He ran a program (at Arizona State) that, yes, valued winning, but also graduating students on time, playing with integrity and honoring tradition -- all values we hold dear at UT," Powers said.
Patterson is married to Yasmin Michael, and the couple has two sons -- Austin and Dylan, and a daughter -- Leila.