Steve Patterson, the University’s new men’s athletic director, was hired for his commitment to success and impressive resume, according to UT President William Powers Jr.
Patterson, who will replace current director DeLoss Dodds, was nominated by an eight-person committee that included Powers.
Powers said Patterson was the ideal contender in the selection process.
“Steve Patterson emerged as the perfect candidate to build on Texas’ athletic success and DeLoss Dodds’ legacy,” Powers said. “Steve helped build an NBA championship team and brought the Super Bowl game to Houston. Far more important, he’s run a winning program at Arizona State that places students first and is committed to their lifelong success.”
Patterson, who started as athletic director for Arizona State in 2012, has a long history of involvement in professional sports.
From 1989 to 1993, Patterson served as the general manager of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and oversaw recruitment of much of the 1993-1994 roster that won the franchise’s first NBA championship.
Patterson also helped establish the Houston Texans’ NFL franchise and served as the team’s senior vice president and chief development officer from 1997 to 2003.
During his Texans tenure, Patterson assisted in planning the construction of Reliant Stadium, established the team’s business operations and brought Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston.
“He’s well equipped to handle the challenges at the University of Texas,” Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said. “He is extremely intelligent and poised and will be able to address and handle any challenges that may arise during his tenure. He’ll represent the University well.”
Mark Killian, vice chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, was completely unaware of Patterson’s acceptance of the athletic director position before Tuesday.
Killian said the great work Patterson had done in Arizona State’s athletic department made his decision to leave even more surprising to him and ASU officials.
“We had such high hopes for Mr. Patterson and what he could bring to the table,” Killian said. “Everyone was ranting and raving about the great job he was doing. I had not heard one complaint about him [during his tenure]. Most comments were that ASU was lucky to have him. That’s the main reason we’re all picking ourselves up off the floor.”
ASU President Michael M. Crow said that during his time at Arizona State, Patterson put the university’s athletic department on sound financial footing and positioned the department to continue moving forward.
“I well understand his desire to return to his home state and wish him well at the University of Texas,” Crow said. “We do not intend to slow our forward progress in the least.”
Killian said the board being unaware of Patterson’s procurement by UT is not standard procedure and said he feels Patterson’s decision to accept the UT position is a question of ethics.
“No one has ethics anymore — you sign a contract and it doesn’t mean anything,” Killian said. “I hope for the taxpayers’ sake that Mr. Patterson has some integrity. I wish him the best, but it’s really screwed up things here in Arizona.”