Powers Welcomes New AD Home to the Forty Acres

Powers Welcomes New AD Home to the Forty Acres

Texas Ex and UT’s new men’s athletic director Steve Patterson is so excited to be back on campus, he got choked up about it.

At a press conference today, Patterson—who received his BBA from UT in 1980 and a law degree in 1984—was visibly emotional when he took to the podium at Belmont Hall, addressing the UT community for the first time as its 10th men’s athletic director.

“It’s good to be home,” Patterson said simply upon taking the mic.

Powers introduced his latest hire by running through Patterson’s lengthy pro-level résumé, which includes bringing the Texans and the Super Bowl to Houston and playing a key role in getting Reliant Stadium built.

“‘The key to any organization is to get the right people on the bus,'” Powers said, quoting author James Collins. “It’s a seat that was filled by legends like Dana Bible and Darrell K Royal. Now that seat is occupied by Steve Patterson. And we have the right person on the bus with Patterson.”

The two-time UT grad acknowledged that he’s following a tough act; his predecessor DeLoss Dodds held the AD position for 32 years before announcing his retirement in October. During his tenure, Dodds managed to expand the athletics budget from $4.2 million to upwards of $163 million, and organized more than $400 million in facilities upgrades on the Forty Acres.

“Any time you follow a legend or the premier practitioner of his craft, there’s a little trepidation,” Patterson said. “I have some big shoes to fill.”

Patterson faced tough questions from the media in attendance, including if he’d been hired to ‘”clean house”—a task he’d undertaken as athletic director at Arizona State. Though he admitted he’d only been back on campus for all of 15 minutes, Patterson was quick to defend UT Athletics, which he called “the premier athletics department in the country.”

“In any athletic department, coaches and their staffs will come and go. We did make changes at ASU, but it was a culture I thought needed to be changed,” Patterson explained. “The only way we are going to be successful in all our objectives is if we’re all pulling the same way.”

He continued on, saying adamantly: “I don’t anticipate any monstrous changes in the [Texas] program.”

A reflection of his business background, Patterson’s speech was peppered with the language of the corporate world, especially when he outlined his key priorities for the program: growing the brand, business, and exposure to help the University achieve its goals “beyond just winning ball games and graduating students.”

Patterson went teary-eyed when he pointed out his wife, Yasmin, and family members standing in the back of the room. His son Austin is currently a senior in UT’s College of Communication.

“I look at it as an opportunity for me and my family,” Patterson explained. “My wife has family in Houston. My mother and brother live here. It’s great to be back.”

Patterson met with the UT Athletics staff earlier this morning for the first time. But before he can officially take the AD title, he’ll have to be approved by the UT System Board of Regents next week. He also anticipates making trips back to ASU to tie up loose ends, during which Dodds will continue to hold down the fort. But, despite the fact that Dodds will remain on staff until August of next year, Powers was very clear: “Steve will be the AD.”

“You recruit for what’s in here,” Powers concluded, pointing to his heart. “Everyone speaks so well of [Patterson]. We’ve got exactly the right person.”

Photo by Bethany Walter. Courtesy UT Athletics.


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