Patterson says he's making tough decisions for Texas
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas athletic director Steve Patterson made no apology on Friday for making ''tough decisions'' that have angered some fans in his first year and a half on the job, and insisted his goal is to make the Longhorns' program the best in the country.
Patterson sat down with reporters Friday amid multiple reports that his job could be in jeopardy, and a public acknowledgment earlier from school President Greg Fenves that some fans and key donors are frustrated. Fenves and Patterson met earlier in the day for the third time in less than two months.
''We have an excellent working relationship,'' Patterson said. ''He's an engaged CEO. We have broad-ranging and candid conversations about academics, athletics and financing, buildings and operations ... I feel really good about it.''
Patterson took over the Texas program in November 2013, replacing DeLoss Dodds, who retired after 32 years. Where Dodds had a casual, folksy personality, Patterson has been more direct with aggressive attempts to raise money at a program that already ranks among the wealthiest in the country.
Among his most contentious decisions was raising football ticket prices and steep new charges for parking after a losing season. Patterson also has forced significant changes in the ticket policies for faculty and staff and pushed to expand marketing of the Texas brand. One of his key initiatives is to build an endowment for each sport.
''Some people may like what we are doing and some people may not,'' Patterson said. ''Somebody's got to make tough decisions ... What can you count on? Death, taxes and change. If we are going to provide the best in services, we are going to have to evolve.''
Patterson said he's willing to meet with any donors who may have been upset by any of the changes to explain them. He said a lunch meeting with a donor on Friday ended with a $750,000 donation.
''If there is somebody out there we need to go talk to, (women's athletic director Chris Plonsky) and I aren't shy about that,'' Patterson said.