Tempe, AZ – Steve Patterson has been officially hired as the new Athletic Director at the University of Texas. After reports came out that he had turned down the job a week ago, things took a turn over the weekend after Patterson had a formal interview with the Longhorns.
Patterson’s salary will increase from about $450,000 per year at ASU, to $1,400,000 per year at Texas. In addition, he will now be overseeing an athletics budget in the $150 million range.
Texas is also in the process of building a new basketball arena, so Patterson’s experience in that department along with his business background might have been the deciding factors for Texas to choose him over Oliver Luck.
The next logical question to ask is what does this mean for the future of Todd Graham as the head football coach at Arizona State?
It’s easy to connect the dots and say that Patterson will seriously consider hiring Graham at Texas to replace current head coach Mack Brown.
But not so fast, there are some things that need to happen in order for that to become a possibility.
First, Texas needs to determine the future of Mack Brown. It’s also likely that Brown had some input on the hiring of Patterson, which means he isn’t going anywhere this year. A possible scenario would be for Brown to gracefully step down following this season or next to pave the way for the next Texas football coach.
Second, Patterson won’t be the only one making the new coaching decision and will have significant input from a variety of big time Texas boosters. Those boosters will have other names at the top of their list like Nick Saban, Chip Kelly and Kevin Sumlin to name a few.
It is very realistic that Graham would become a backup option in this scenario and you never know how things will play out. But one thing is for sure, Texas boosters will want a big time name with a proven track record.
Third, Graham still needs to win big at ASU. Things are on track this year for a promising season and a quality bowl game, but the Sun Devils would most likely need to win the Pac-12 Championship and get to the Rose Bowl for Texas to consider Graham.
Finally, there was some sort of agreement between ASU President Michael Crow and Patterson that prohibits him from hiring anyone away from Arizona State. It is not known if this is part of a formal, written contract or a verbal agreement on a handshake, but either way it could be difficult to enforce.
All that being said, Patterson has a firsthand account of how Graham runs the football program at ASU. Others at Texas don’t have this same familiarity, so Patterson would also have to convince the Longhorns to take a closer look.
The bottom line is that Coach Graham isn’t going anywhere this year.
When he was hired at ASU, I always thought that there were only a few schools that Graham would leave for, and one of them was Texas. It’s not only one of the biggest and best football coaching jobs in the country, but it’s also in Graham’s backyard. Now that the perfect storm has started to take shape, it’s definitely something to keep a close eye on as the Sun Devils move into 2014 and beyond. As usual, timing is everything in this type of coaching scenario.
I’m sure Mike Norvell will be paying close attention.
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