For weeks, the search for the next Texas Longhorns athletic director appeared to focus almost exclusively on West Virginia's Oliver Luck, but a recent interview appears to have landed Arizona State's Steve Patterson the job, according to multiple reports, including SI's Pete Thamel and the Austin American-Stateman's Kirk Bohls:
Texas has hired Arizona State AD Steve Patterson, connected source says. Will make over $1 million.— kbohls (@kbohls) November 5, 2013
Patterson's name first seriously surfaced last week, although reports out of Arizona held that he had turned the job down, which obviously was not the case.
According to Thamel, it was the "marketing experience" and "business experience" that pushed Patterson in front of Luck. Both men got their law degrees from Texas and have experience managing professional franchises, Luck with NFL Europe and the Houston Dynamo and Patterson with the Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets, and Houston Aeros.
One of the key differences is one that hasn't made many rounds -- Patterson doesn't have the history of ethical violations of the sort that caused Luck to get booted from the negotiations for West Virginia's third-tier media rights because of conflicts of interest and impacted his congressional run.
Patterson also has a more extensive history of developing, financing, and building stadiums, as his Arizona State bio below indicates. While Luck was the head of the Houston Sports Authority and saw the financing and completion of several arenas, he was never a part of the process from start to finish.
Neither has substantial experience making hires, as Patterson did not hire current Sun Devil football coach Todd Graham, but most longtime Texas observers have long believed that the new athletic director would have little to no input on the hire of the next football coach, a decision still expected by many to happen this offseason.
The hires of new basketball and baseball coaches likely loom, as well as the financing and construction of new practice facilities for football and basketball and the new basketball arena, all three projects that will result from the massive construction about to begin on the Texas medical school.
Here's Patterson's bio from Arizona State:
Patterson spent nearly a quarter of a century as an innovative and successful executive in the NFL with the Houston Texans, in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, and in professional hockey with the Houston Aeros. He has built championship teams and designed, financed, built and run stadiums and arenas.
As President of the Portland Trail Blazers, The Rose Garden and Rose City Radio from 2003-07, Patterson was responsible for all business and basketball operations for the team and arena, as well as local media outlets. He refined his skills as a turnaround specialist, while garnering national recognition for his player acquisition skills when he took over the team's General Manager duties. Patterson engineered a record six draft day trades that resulted in the selection of NBA Rookie of the Year and three time NBA All Star Brandon Roy and fellow All Rookie 1st team, NBA All Star and All NBA member LaMarcus Aldridge.
From 1997-2003, Patterson served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of the Houston Texans NFL franchise where he led Bob McNair's successful effort to acquire a National Football League franchise and Super Bowl XXXVIII for Houston, Texas. Patterson was responsible for the establishment of the team's business, legal, media and political operations, as well as the development, design, finance and construction of Reliant Stadium.
Prior to joining the Texans, Patterson was the President, General Manager and Governor of the Houston Aeros hockey team. For his efforts there, he was named the 1995 winner of the Andy Mulligan Trophy as the IHL's Executive of the Year. In addition to his roles with the Aeros, Patterson also acquired and served as President and Partner in Arena Operating Company, which managed and operated Compaq Center, Houston's home of the Rockets, Aeros and Comets. He coordinated the six-year, $7.5 million naming rights and sponsorship deal with the Compaq Computer Corporation and the $5 million renovation of the arena.
As General Manager of the Houston Rockets from 1989-93, he was the primary architect of the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets squad that captured the first NBA World Championship in franchise history, signing or trading for all the team's players and coaches. Patterson also led the club's successful bid to host the 1989 NBA All-Star Game, which held the all-time attendance record of 44,735 for 21 years.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT's Law School in 1984.