Fenves confirms Patterson's resignation as athletic director

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Former athletic director Steve Patterson meets with the media following the hire of head basketball coach Shaka Smart. Patterson resigned from his position Tuesday after meeting with University President Gregory L. Fenves. Patterson served as Texas’ AD for 22 months prior to stepping down.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Steve Patterson agreed to resign as athletic director, University President Gregory L. Fenves confirmed Tuesday evening.

The Austin American-Statesman reported earlier in the day that Fenves made the decision to fire Patterson.

“Steve brought important ideas and changes to our athletics program, and I appreciate the good things he accomplished in his time at UT,” Fenves said in a statement. “I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Fenves confirmed in the statement that former Longhorn linebacker Mike Perrin will likely be the interim athletic director.

Perrin, who currently works as an attorney in Houston, played for Texas under coach Darrell K Royal in 1968. Perrin’s contract runs through August of next year at $750,000.

“As a former UT student-athlete, longtime fan and volunteer with Texas Athletics, I’ve worked closely with faculty, students, alumni, coaches and administrators,” Perrin said. “I will continue to do so in an effort to bring the Longhorn nation together.”

Patterson’s decision to resign comes after a tumultuous couple of months for him. The athletic department reported a net loss of $8.1 million in the 2013–2014 fiscal year. To reverse that trend, Patterson increased season ticket prices for football and basketball. Patterson also had trouble internally, firing longtime football sports information director John Bianco, who has yet to be replaced.

Last week Fenves told the Statesman editorial board that he and Patterson were working through some issues. Before the home opener on Saturday, a plane circled Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium with a banner saying “Patterson Must Go.”

Patterson was hired from Arizona State in December 2013 after athletic director DeLoss Dodds stepped down after 32 years. Prior to his time at Arizona State, Patterson spent time in the front offices of the Houston Texans and Portland Trailblazers.

Within his first few months on the job, Patterson made waves by hiring Charlie Strong, the school's first African-American head coach, in January 2014 after Mack Brown resigned the month before. Patterson also forced men's basketball head coach Rick Barnes to resign following 17 years on the job after Barnes failed to make changes to his coaching staff. Barnes was replaced by Shaka Smart, Texas' first African-American head basketball coach, in April.

“Change is never easy, but I have every confidence that UT Athletics will continue to thrive as it embraces the future,” Patterson said.

Fenves didn’t give specifics of Patterson’s severance package, but Patterson’s five-year contract extended through 2019 with an annual salary of $1,400,000.