Last month, Texas finally fired embattled athletic director Steve Patterson after a controversial 22-month tenure.
Patterson won praise for hiring two high-profile coaches in Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart, but was criticized for his aloof nature with donors, raising the prices for tickets and being excessively corporate, a shift perhaps best summed up when Texas started charging coaches to eat in the cafeterias with their players. Texas struggling on the football field and basketball court probably didn't help.
Complaints about Patterson were not limited to blogs, message boards and talk radio. Thanks to an Open Records request, we know people complained to the highest levels of Texas administration. A request for emails sent to the Texas University President's office from just Jan. 1 to April 1 turned up 22 pages of correspondence, mostly complaints about Patterson.
Here are some of the unedited highlights.
A former Patterson supporter gets MAD
You botched the firing of Mack Brown, a needed termination, and handled it so poorly that you allowed enough time to pass that Nick Saban backed out of any possibility of being hired
Go on (and for what it's worth, a book on Saban later indicated there was something to that) ...
After paying a consulting firm $267,000, you chose Charlie Strong as your new football coach. Just out of curiosity, why is Texas paying you $1.4 Million annually if you're simply going to ask somebody else to do your job?
Go on (and for what it's worth, we agree using search firms to hire football coaches probably is a waste of money) ...
Honest question, as you sit looking at your phone today, which is your worst life mistake--extending Rick Barnes for a lubricous amount of money (he's the 11th highest paid coach in America), or picking Greg Oden over Kevin Durrant when you were the GM of the Trailblazers? That's unfair, because you also tried to trade Olajuwon to the Clippers in 1992 before the Rockets fired you in 1993 and then won two NBA championships, so please consider that when reflecting on your terrible professional decisions.
What makes that even more astounding is that the author attached an email he'd sent back in 2013 congratulating Patterson (as well as offering quite a few suggestions on how to do his job).
New ticket policy alienated a longtime donor
Our family has had the same four football seats since 1971. In 2005, the Longhorn Foundation transferred my mother's two seats to us and we increased our annual gift to the Longhorn Foundation from $240 for two seats to $2,025 for four seats. Our Loyalty Point rank is 2,835 out of 18,240. Living in Dallas and Colorado, we cannot attend all of the home games. Our receipts from past sales have always been less than our ticket cost and the additional $8,000 contribution to remove the resale ban is substantially greater than the secondary market for the tickets. We could afford to pay the additional $8,000 seat contribution, but that would be contrary to our conservative approach to financial affairs. Without the flexibility to sell unused tickets, season tickets would be unworkable for us. Because the resale policy does not differentiate between donors at a"grandfathered" $120 seat level and donors at a higher level, we are "collateral damage.
It's tough to make every home game if you're a season-ticket holder, but typically, you can sell tickets to recoup your losses. A new policy at Texas prevents season-ticket holders from doing so unless they pay an extra fee.
Asking for money at a very inopportune time
I find it ironic that I received a call from UT asking for money literarily (sic) during the Rick Barnes press conference.
Having your hand out right when former basketball coach Barnes was having a goodbye press conference might not be the best of looks.
A football parent accuses Charlie Strong of harsh language
I would like to request a meeting with you (Arthur Johnson, director of football ops), Steve Patterson, President Powers and Charlie Strong. In this meeting I would like to discuss my concerns regarding a recent phone conversation with Coach Strong where I was threatened and cursed. This is a very serious issue and one that I feel needs to be addressed by the appropriate university officials.
As a parent and as an African American man I feel very disrespected by the language and tone in which Coach Strong spoke to me. Coach Strong has purported himself to be a man of integrity and an advocate of his Core Values that speak to Honesty and Respect. In his recent interaction with me he showed neither of those and I want to make sure he is held accountable for his actions the same way he holds student athletes accountable. If Coach Strong is the man he presents himself to be than I expect nothing less than an admission to what he said and an in-person apology.
This email came from the parent of a football player planning to take an official visit to Texas on Jan. 30. This does seem noteworthy, given that most critiques of the Strong era have been more to do with the on-field product.
[We've now reached out to Texas for further comment on this one.]
Oh hey, Texas reads SB Nation
Blogs are often wrong--UT President Bill Powers
One intrepid fan decided to forward President Powers this story from our own Burnt Orange Nation concerning a report from the Dallas Morning News that Barnes would need to fire assistant coaches in order to remain. This wasn't the first time BON popped up in a big story involving Texas administrators either.
You can see Powers' response. Agree to disagree, Mr. President.