Former Texas Longhorns athletics director Steve Patterson has a new job in the sports world.
Steve Patterson is returning to the Arizona desert, where he has been named the president and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes NHL team.
In 2013, Patterson was plucked from Arizona State to become the AD at Texas.
But, we know how that worked out.
A year-and-a-half after being hired, Patterson was out of work in Austin after he rubbed too many people the wrong way.
Patterson was in a tough spot asked to replace legendary AD DeLoss Dodds. It just was not the right fit for the Texas Longhorns culture.
Patterson wanted to bring a corporate, business-like approach to running the richest athletics department in the country.
It did not work out, though, as Patterson turned off boosters, alumni, fans, influencers, and decision-makers.
Now, Patterson is returning to professional sports to apply his business approach.
Prior to Texas and ASU, Patterson worked in Houston for the Rockets and Portland for the Trail Blazers. Now he’ll try his hand at hockey in Arizona.
Here’s the question for Longhorns fans:
What is Steve Patterson’s legacy?
What is the Texas Legacy of Steve Patterson?
There are three major elements that have or will define the legacy of Steve Patterson as Longhorns AD that will carry over to the Arizona Coyotes.
1. Hiring Charlie Strong.
Unfortunately, this did not work out, like Patterson as AD.
Coach Strong is a great man of character and conviction. He was just dealt a really bad hand:
- Bare cupboard from the end of the Mack Brown Era.
- Injured QB and Center in Game 1 of tenure.
- The strangest, flukiest losses and games.
- A very young team of high-level recruits that Tom Herman will benefit from.
- Not the best fit to run the Texas Football program.
Charlie Strong was not Mack Brown. And, he was not expected to be. Nor should he have tried to have been.
But, to be a successful Texas Football head coach, you need a little Mack Brown in you. Coach Strong did not have that despite his many great qualities. It was not the best fit.
2. Hiring Shaka Smart.
Shaka Smart is an elite basketball coach. This was a great hire by Steve Patterson even if the results have not been there yet.
First, Coach Smart struck out in the NCAA Tournament during his first year. Who ends their season losing on a halfcourt shot? That just doesn’t happen.
Then, Smart began the rebuilding process last season. It was ugly but expected without a true PG.
Year No. 3 for Coach Smart will be the year. Watch out for the Horns in the Final Four, tying this back to when Steve Patterson grabbed Smart from VCU.
Result: Solid double with a chance for a home run.
3. Trying to change Texas Sports Culture.
Steve Patterson tried to shake things up in Austin. He brought in a business approach and drew from Disney.
Patterson formed sponsorship and marketing deals, tapping into the legendary Texas Longhorns brand.
The partnerships you see with Chevrolet, Corona (post-Patterson but part of his style), and Nike are part of his legacy.
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But, he tried to change the culture too much. And it got him fired.
Result: Struck out after a long at-bat fighting off the pitcher’s best pitches.
So, that’s two strikeouts and a solid hit. Shaka Smart could become the home run Patterson was looking for in Austin.
At this moment, though, the Steve Patterson legacy is not favorable in the eyes of Texas fans. We’ll see how he fares with the Arizona Coyotes.