Texas athletic director Steve Patterson was reportedly told to “change his personal style.”
Earlier this summer, reports suggested Patterson was facing backlash from some Texas boosters who felt he was alienating the school’s coaches and fans. A report from HornsDigest.com said some prominent boosters felt Patterson was prioritizing money over athletes and coaches, “misleading football season ticket holders” and “alienating longtime donors as well as faculty and staff.”
The Morning News report on Wednesday said Patterson had not yet “reached the point of no return” with university president Greg Fenves, who replaced Bill Powers in June. Fenves and Patterson are scheduled to talk again on Friday as part of regularly scheduled meetings; according to the report, Fenves has in previous meetings “told Patterson of the need to change an approach that some see as impersonal or even arrogant.”
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Patterson was hired in November 2013 to replace longtime athletic director DeLoss Dodds. A former president and general manager of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, Patterson received a five-year contract worth $1.4 million annually from Texas.
Fenves acknowledged the regular meetings with Patterson in a statement published by the Morning News, saying he is “aware of the frustrations of some of our Longhorn fans. Our athletic teams are the front door of the university and our fans are essential to their success.”
The Morning News also obtained an internal athletic department memo sent to donors that listed a variety of concerns, including the department’s net loss of $8.1 million in 2013–2014; ticket revenue and donations remaining flat over the last five years; cost of attendance mandates that will average $5,750 per athlete and increased meals and snacks for athletes that will cost $1.05 million annually.
- Mike Fiammetta