head athletic director

Texas men’s head athletic director Steve Patterson met with members of the media Tuesday morning and discussed, among other things, Texas A&M, collective bargaining for collegiate athletes and expanding the Longhorns’ global brand.

Patterson downplayed the possibility of the Longhorns resuming their rivalry with the Aggies.

“There’s a lot of great tradition with Texas A&M,” Patterson said, according to ESPN. “At some point in time, does it make some business sense — some branding sense — to play [the Aggies] again? I don’t know. It’s not at the top of my list. I’m really more focused on how we grow the footprint of the department.”

Patterson is more focused on developing the Longhorns’ national and global brand than reigniting a century-old rivalry. Texas has already taken large steps toward expanding the global Longhorn brand in basketball, as the Longhorns are scheduled to play the first-ever, regular-season contest in China against Washington in 2015. The team is also set to participate in a three-city basketball tour with Michigan State, North Carolina and Florida in 2018.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, Patterson has expressed an interest in playing a football game in Mexico City. He also mentioned Dubai, United Arab Emirates as a future site for an
athletic event.

“We have a lot of folks in the oil and gas industry,” Patterson said. “A lot of those alums spend time in the Middle East, and Dubai is a place that wants to use sports to help put itself on the map. So we’ll have some conversations, and we’ll see where they lead.”

Patterson also disagreed with a recent ruling by National Labor Relations Board that qualified Northwestern football and basketball players as employees. He said he fully supports providing student athletes for their full schooling costs but says, if they want to be paid, they should join a professional league.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

UT men’s head athletic director Steve Patterson approved an eight-person advisory committee and hired a recruiting firm to help the program find a new head football coach, the school announced Wednesday.

The eight members of the committee are listed below.

•    Steve Hicks, vice chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, one of the board’s athletics liaisons and owner and executive chairman of Capstar Partners LLC, a private investment firm.

•    Robert Stillwell, member of the UT System Board of Regents, one of the board’s athletics liaisons, retired partner at Baker Botts LLP and an original director of Mesa Petroleum Co.

•    Michael Clement, accounting professor and faculty representative to the Men’s and Women’s Athletics Councils.

•    Ricardo Hinojosa, United States federal judge for the Southern District of Texas and former member of the University’s Commission of 125.

•    Charles Matthews, former vice president and general counsel of Exxon Mobil and current president of the Texas Exes.

•    Robert Rowling, former member of the UT System Board of Regents and owner and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc.

•    Charles Tate, chairman of Capital Royalty and former member of the executive committee of the University’s Commission of 125.

•    Pamela Willeford, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein and former chairwoman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Patterson also hired Hughes of Korn/Ferry International to assist with the search.

Other than the addition of Hinojosa, the football coach advisory committee is a replica of the athletic director advisory committee that hired Patterson in November.

President William Powers Jr. said Sunday that the decision will be made by Patterson. The new coach will replace head coach Mack Brown, who formally announced Saturday he will be stepping down after the Longhorns' matchup with the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. Brown indicated on Sunday that he won't have a part in picking the next coach unless Patterson and Powers ask him to.

While the decision will be made by Patterson, the Board of Regents must approve the salaries of any employees who will make more than $250,000 per year. Brown was making $5.4 million per year.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Update at 4:50 p.m.: The UT System Board of Regents opted to take no action regarding President William Powers Jr.'s employment situation Thursday afternoon, though UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa issued a strong warning to Powers to "improve relationships" with the UT System and the board.

After being in executive session for nearly four-and-a-half hours, Cigarroa made a lengthy statement to the board in which he alternated between criticizing and praising Powers. Cigarroa said Powers had made public statements that showed misalignment between UT and the System despite being in agreement, and that Powers had been at times difficult to work with. Cigarroa also acknowledged Powers' broad support among faculty, students and alumni, and that a change in leadership would make it difficult for recruitment. He said the relationship between himself and Powers has also improved recently.

Cigarroa then recommended keeping Powers as the president of UT, and board Chairman Paul Foster adjourned the meeting.

"I'm optimistic about the future of UT-Austin, and I'm confident all this controversy will soon be a distant memory," Foster said.

After the decision, Powers said he is thankful for the chancellor's support.

Update at 4:35 p.m.: UT System Board of Regents take no action regarding Powers.

Update at 4:31 p.m.: UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa: "I am hopeful that the strained relationship [between Powers and the UT System] can be improved... it is my recommendation that Bill Powers remains president of the University of Texas at Austin."

Update at 4:15 p.m.: The UT System Board of Regents have just ended executive session are allowing media and outside personnel to convene in the conference room.

Update at 11:15 a.m.: Brown said he would not speak on his employment situation during the press conference, saying he needed to speak with President William Powers Jr. and new men's head athletic director Steve Patterson before doing so. Brown also apologized to Valero Alamo Bowl officials for his job status serving as a "distraction."

Brown avoided questions about his future during the press conference, making a brief statement and then asking the media to refrain from asking questions unless they were about the Alamo Bowl.

Afterwards, university benafactor Red McCombs spoke to the media and had this to say about Brown's situation.

"I think that Mack has earned the right to choose whatever he wants to do, whether he wants to stay or he wants to go," McCombs said.... "If you can find a reason to get rid of a guy like that, you’d really have to reach."

He also had the quote of the day when he spoke about Texas' potential interest in Alabama head coach Nick Saban and if Texas had enough money to sway him to Austin.

"I don't think there's any question," McCombs said. "All the money that's not in the Vatican is up at UT."

Original: On the second day of final exams, two of the University’s most prominent faces will be sizing up to tests of their own.

The UT System Board of Regents plans to hold a discussion “concerning [the] employment” of President William Powers Jr. at its meeting today, according to the board’s agenda.

Meanwhile, about 80 miles south in San Antonio, football head coach Mack Brown faces questions from reporters about his job situation for the first time since reports of him stepping down emerged earlier this week. The University strongly denied those reports. Brown is in San Antonio for a coaches availability for the Valero Alamo Bowl, in which the Longhorns will face of with the Oregon Ducks on Dec. 30.

The tenuous employment situations of the pair of friends and hexagenarians have been ongoing since 2010.

Powers and a handful of the regents have disagreed over a range of topics including the purpose of higher education, tuition increases and fundraising. Currently, the Texas Legislature is holding impeachment hearings on whether Regent Wallace Hall overstepped his duties as a regent, with allegations that he was leading a “witch hunt” to oust Powers.

And Brown, after leading the Longhorns to nine straight seasons of 10 wins or more and a national championship, has struggled to get Texas back on track after a disastrous 5-7 season in 2010.

Powers and Brown are also being evaluated by a different pair of eyes than they had in the past. Gov. Rick Perry appointed two new regents — Jeffrey Hildebrand and Ernest Aliseda — to the board in February, while the University hired Steve Patterson last month to replace long-time men’s head athletic director DeLoss Dodds, who will be retiring in August.

Check in with The Daily Texan for updates on Brown and Powers through the day.

Bev Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach, filed a lawsuit against the University alleging discrimination based on her race and her gender Thursday, according to her attorney, Derek Howard.

Kearney resigned in January after being told the University was prepared to fire her for a having a consensual relationship in 2002 with Raasin McIntosh, who was a student-athlete on Kearney’s team.

In her lawsuit — which seeks more than $1 million — Kearney said Bubba Thornton, former men’s track and field head coach, consistently demeaned her in front of others and falsely accused her of committing NCAA infractions.

The lawsuit points fingers at a wide range of University officials who Kearney claims she reported the harassment incidents to and chose to do nothing about it. The list includes men’s and women’s head athletic directors DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky, Jody Conradt, former women’s head athletic director, Patricia Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs, Gregory Vincent, vice president of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and individuals in the human resources department.

"The University of Texas will thoroughly review the unfounded allegations of Ms. Kearney's lawsuit and respond through proper legal channels," Ohlendorf said in a statement.

The lawsuit also alleges that other University employees — predominately white males — have been involved in relationships with students or direct subordinates and have not received any disciplinary action. It cites the University’s handling of an incident with football co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite as an example. Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” in 2009, according to a letter from Dodds obtained by The Daily Texan through the Texas Public Information Act in February of this year. Applewhite’s salary was suspended for a year following the incident, but he has since received promotions and raises.

"When the university reviews inappropriate behavior by its employees, each case is evaluated on its individual facts," Ohlendorf said in a statement. "In this case, it was evident that Ms. Kearney displayed a serious lack of judgment by having an inappropriate, intimate, long-term relationship with a member of her team. The team member later reported it to university officials who pursued all appropriate action."

Kearney took the helm of the women’s track and field program in 1992, and her teams have won six NCAA championships.

Kearney was placed on administrative leave by the University almost exactly one year ago after McIntosh revealed her past relationship with her coach to officials in UT athletics. Since then, much has changed in the department. Thornton announced his retirement in June and Dodds plans to step down in August. The UT System Board of Regents voted to approve Steve Patterson, the newly hired men's head athletic director, Monday.

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

The UT System Board of Regents passed a motion allowing President William Powers Jr. to negotiate and execute an employment agreement for Steve Patterson, UT’s newly appointed men’s head athletic director, at a special called meeting Monday. 

Because Patterson’s salary as athletic director will exceed $250,000, the appointment was subject to approval by the board.

Under his new five-year contract at UT, Patterson will receive an annual salary of $1.4 million as well as performance bonuses of up to $200,000 per year. The performance bonuses are based on whether the athletics department is financially solvent and whether it can avoid any NCAA violations, University spokesman Gary Susswein said. The University confirmed it hired Patterson last Tuesday. Patterson, a UT business and law alumnus, served most recently as the head athletic director at Arizona State.

“Steve Patterson is the perfect candidate to build upon UT’s successes,” said Regent Steve Hicks, who was on the athletic director advisory committee, on Tuesday. “His track record of achievements with finances, facilities, personnel and business operations in high achieving athletics programs makes him a perfect fit for UT, and I’m especially proud that he has UT and Texas roots.”

The employment agreements negotiated by Powers are subject to review and approval by the board.