It’s been a long time coming – at least according to some Longhorn fans. University of Texas at Austin Athletic Director Steve Patterson looks like he’s on the way out, after just under two years on the job.
So what happened?
Brian Davis is a Longhorn beat reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. Davis said part of Patterson’s job was to turn around a program operating in the red, which he tried to address by raising ticket prices. Some 2015 season tickets went up by 30 percent and fans were not happy, especially coming off a bad season last year. Some Texas folks also didn’t feel like he could mingle as well as they wanted.
“He just doesn’t have a great bedside manner,” Davis says about Patters. “He’s not the type of guy that is going to go around at alumni functions backslapping people… after awhile that just rubbed people the wrong way.”
Davis says who the athletic director is matters less than who the coach is, and whether the team is winning. To jumpstart two of the school’s biggest sports, Patterson hired the “hardcore football coach” Charlie Strong and “impressive” basketball coach Shaka Smart.
“In my mind, Steve is 2-0 on the most important job,” in his role as director, Davis says. “The problem is, football goes 6-7 and then they go to Notre Dame… and they just get obliterated.”
The next director will have to focus on raising revenues, Davis says. By his count, UT athletics gives the academics side $9 million a year.
“There are a lot of pressures on the athletic director to make sure that, quick frankly, everybody gets paid,” he says. “And that Texas remains Texas in the eyes of the fanbase.”