Newly appointed men’s athletic director Steve Patterson said he looks forward to the opportunity to return to Texas, but does not plan on making any significant changes to the program.
“I don’t see it as a situation where we need a dramatic turnaround,” Patterson said. “I don’t anticipate monstrous changes.”
At a press conference Tuesday, UT President William Powers Jr. officially welcomed and introduced Patterson and his family to the University. He said finding an individual who is a “great fit” for the University is paramount to the success of the athletic department.
“Jim Collins famously said that the key to an organization’s success is getting the right people on the bus and get them in the right seat,” Powers said. “We had the right person on the bus with DeLoss Dodds, we have the right person on the bus with Chris Plonsky, and now we have the right person on the bus with Steve Patterson.”
Powers said Patterson’s interview process did not include conversations about any of the University’s current athletic programs.
“We did not discuss plans or make plans for any existing programs in any specific sense,” Powers said.
Patterson said his departure from Arizona State University will come as a disappointment to some, as has received criticism from some ASU officials for leaving the program after a little over one year.
Mark Killian, vice chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, said he disapproved of the financial motivations he thought were behind Patterson’s decision.
“We’ve devolved in our society — that money speaks louder than words,” Killian said. “And that’s a damn shame.”
Patterson said discussions between he and Powers were never centered around compensation.
Patterson, who has family and friends residing in Texas, did not deny his compensation at UT as being substantial.
“My wife’s got family in Houston, my mother and my brother live here in Texas, [and] I have a lot of great friends and business associates here,” Patterson said. “I’m not going to deny that I’m well compensated. I’ve been well compensated as an executive for a lot of years. I could’ve stayed at ASU, but this is really a homecoming.”
Women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky said the department is very excited about Patterson’s move to Austin.
“This will be a strong transition,” Plonsky said. “You can see his passion for college athletics [and] he was somewhat taken with the thought that he was home. A guy who has had that much experience in the professional ranks, to still see the great stories that come out of dealing with the student athlete population and to be moved by that enough to stay in it and assume the role that he is at a great University — I think that speaks volumes about the man.”