Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Steve Patterson: A Bill Powers crony hire

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

With Steve Patterson on the way out, it's worth remembering how he came in:
In November 2013, Texas took an unconventional tact and hired Arizona State’s Steve Patterson as its athletic director. The move confused officials around college sports, as Patterson’s reputation was unproven in college circles and unpopular in professional ones.

Patterson’s Texas tenure came to an unceremonious and inevitable end Tuesday, with a source telling that the terms of his firing are expected to be finalized by the end of the day. The 22-month Patterson era—formalized as an error today—provides a cautionary tale of what happens when university officials defy common sense and try to outsmart convention. When it flops, you look that much dumber.

The issues with Texas’ antiquated athletic department, struggling football program and current leadership void can all be traced back to the arrogance, obliviousness and apathy of the school’s administrative decision makers.


New Texas president Gregory Fenves, who was hired in June, finds himself having to clean up the errors of his predecessor, Bill Powers. It was Powers and the hiring committee who Patterson charmed with his dynamic in-person interview to prompt them to make the surprise hire. They couldn’t have whiffed worse.
The above report is from Sports Illustrated, a national source.  It does a good job outlining the facts, but it misses underlying dynamics someone more familiar with U.T. politics would catch.  About "Bill Powers' hiring committee":
According to sources, the recommendation of UT's search firm - Korn/Ferry International - was then-West Virginia AD Oliver Luck. Patterson was an outside candidate recommended to former Texas president Bill Powers by Jeff Hunt, a Texas graduate working as the paid media consultant to the Pac-12, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and the Pac-12 Network.

Hunt used to be a partner with Paul Walker in Pulse Point, an Austin-based consulting group contracted by Powers' office beginning in 2010 (under Walker's name) for a fee of roughly $300,000 per year before Pulse Point was sold in 2013, sources said.

Hunt, not listed anywhere on the UT payroll, is now Patterson's closest confidante and helped plan the 2015 football season ticket renewal package as well as a survey of the media that led to the firing of longtime Texas sports information director John Bianco, sources said.
And who, pray tell, are Paul Walker and Pulse Point consulting; from a letter contained in the appendix to the 2014 Rusty Hardin report:

Bottom Line: If you were looking for a connection between cronyism in the admissions process and the under-performance of the athletic department, here's your smoking gun; at this point, we wouldn't be surprised to learn Joe Straus had written Steve Patterson a letter of recommendation.

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