AUSTIN, Texas — Steve Patterson is leaving Arizona State for Texas, where he will take over the wealthiest athletic department in the country and a program facing serious questions about the job security of its football and men's basketball coaches as well as its president.
Patterson accepted an offer from Texas on Tuesday after interviewing for the athletic director opening over the weekend. West Virginia's Oliver Luck had reportedly been the leading candidate, but Patterson was the choice to succeed DeLoss Dodds, who is stepping down at Texas after 32 years.
Patterson's hiring must be approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents, which meets Nov. 12-13, but that step is considered likely. The search panel included two regents, Steve Hicks and Robert Stillwell, who are the board's athletics liaisons. Texas President Bill Powers' office said Patterson would be introduced as a news conference later this week.
Patterson, 55, has been Arizona State's athletic director since March 2012 and had previously been responsible for the school's athletics business operations and facilities. Patterson has deep Texas ties: He got his undergraduate and law degrees at Texas, and had executive jobs with the Houston Texans in the NFL and the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA.
Patterson's most immediate questions at Texas likely center on the future of the football coach Mack Brown, men's basketball coach Rick Barnes, and a potential federal civil rights lawsuit from former women's track coach Bev Kearney, who was forced to resign in January after revelations of a previous relationship with one of her athletes.
He also comes to Austin at a time when his new boss is also fighting for his job. Powers has tangled with the regents in recent years over tuition and graduation rates and other issues, and has a thin majority of support on the nine-member board.