When Texas hired longtime sports exec Steve Patterson as its new athletic director in 2013, a good time was had by those who'd covered Patterson's stint as Portland Trail Blazers president.
Patterson once threatened to fire a line of staffers because a trade proposal appeared in The Oregonian. He lined up the secretaries, demanding to know who leaked the deal.
What Patterson never knew is that the source of the leak was -- himself. He'd accidentally left the trade proposal in plain view on a fax machine tray at the practice facility.
He talks like a spreadsheet. But how is he as an actual AD for Texas? WELL.
Horns Digest's Chip Brown has 5,000-plus words worth of reporting on the many people unhappy with Patterson's over-corporatizing performance. Yes, there's a whole lot in there on all that Dubai stuff, plus squabbles with coaches, honorees having to pay to stand on the football field and what sounds like the most anguish ever invested in a tennis facility.
You should read it when you get a chance, but for now, here are five eye-catching portions.
1. Texas accused of cutting corners tighter than Iowa State does.
Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff's personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.
Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches -- even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).
Strong's request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas' eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.
2. Sure, that's the way to ask for money.
Patterson said in an interview with Texas Monthly last September, the city of Austin should help pay for UT's new basketball arena because the city had gotten a free ride for 30 years by not having to bear any of the costs of the Erwin Center (a campus events facility), which is planned for demolition in 5-8 years as part of UT's new medical school.
Brown writes that the university president "basically apologized" for that comment and urged Patterson to work personally with the mayor about whatever's going on there (part of which might have actually worked).
3. Coaches have to spend money to eat with their players even once a week.
Coaches used to be allowed to go into the athletic dining hall whenever they wanted under Dodds, often to bond with their student-athletes or have a one-on-one conversation. Under Patterson, coaches are only allowed 30 visits per year. If coaches go to the athletic dining hall more than that, they have to pay $10 for each visit out of their own pocket.
4. Football ticket prices went up, and way more than UT claimed.
On March 9, Texas athletics announced its 2015 football season ticket renewal package, including this line: "To help shoulder the increased costs of recent changes in NCAA policy, seat prices across the stadium have increased by an average of six percent."
According to numbers obtained by HornsDigest.com through an open records request, football season ticket holders were being handed a cost increase in 2015 by an average of 21.5 percent -- with the Longhorns coming off a 6-7 season and a five-year record of 36-28.
Average attendance at Texas home games fell from 98,976 to 94,103 last year despite an exciting hire of head coach Charlie Strong, and prices went up anyway, with Patterson's department pinning the blame on non-Texas-sized increases in the value of player scholarships. (Patterson's made a big deal of those scholarship increases before, too.)
Business is fine!
Business is fine!
5. You ultimately have one job.
When TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte asked Patterson at the Texas-TCU football game last November, in front of media members, where Del Conte could find the suite of Dallas real estate mogul Mike A. Myers, whose name is on Texas' track and soccer stadium, Patterson didn't know.
Brown's story adds to the picture of Patterson as a man obsessed with finances and branding above all else, which could be an effective trait in an athletic director. Hiring Strong and basketball coach Shaka Smart further suggests Patterson has the necessary skills. But Brown's story also suggests an AD who isn't world-class at dealing with donors and potential donors anyway.