Yesterday morning it was reported that athletic director Steve Patterson was being forced out at Texas, and by the evening it was official. Steve Patterson has resigned.
Former Texas AD Steve Patterson released a statement on his "resignation" pic.twitter.com/6nucXfEAH7
— Max Olson (@max_olson) September 15, 2015
With Patterson packing up his former office, Texas is in search of its next occupant. In the meantime though, Greg Fenves has introduced Mike Perrin as interim athletic director.
“Athletics is vitally important to the Longhorn nation,” Fenves said in a press conference this morning. “For many, athletics is the front door to the university. The excellence and integrity of our program shines a bright light on all we do. Mike Perrin will solidify strong relationships with and among our student-athletes, faculty, students, alumni and coaches, building morale for student-athletes and staff.
“Mike, a devoted Longhorn and respected Texan, has worked throughout his career to make the university a better place and is highly qualified to do so again in this new role.”
Perrin, an attorney out of Houston, TX, has strong ties to Texas athletics. He played linebacker and defensive end for the Horns from 1966 to 1968 under legendary coach Darrell Royal, and was a 3-year letterman, Academic All-American, and received All-Southwest Conference honors.
“I’m honored to be asked by President Fenves to serve as interim men’s athletic director. I will focus on helping the university find the best fit in a future director while listening to all the needs of the Longhorn family,” Perrin said “As a former UT student-athlete, long-time fan and volunteer with Texas Athletics, I’ve worked closely with faculty, students, alumni, coaches and administrators. I will continue to do so in an effort to bring the Longhorn nation together.”
We also got to know Perrin a little bit better as he spoke about his relationship with head football coach Charlie Strong.
“I met twice with Coach Strong on other occasions (before today),” Perrin said. “ I was privileged to spend some time with him last year when he was going through his first spring training. We just hit it off. He’s the real thing in terms of humanity, dedication to education, devotion to his craft of taking young men and taking them to a better place. I’m so impressed with him in that regard.
“I had a chance this spring to spend time with him again. He’s the kind of coach players want to follow and play hard for. When you see the way the team played last week, especially the enthusiasm of the special teams and the big plays, and freshmen, that kind of enthusiasm is infectious. It doesn’t end with the players. The coach has to foster that as well.
“Charlie Strong is enthusiastic, hard-working. I consider him a personal friend, and I look forward to continuing to support him. I’m very strong in that, as a former football player.”
As far as Steve Patterson other marquee hire, well he might not know him as well, but Shaka Smart has Perrin’s support as well.
As these things often are, it looks like this as been a move in the making for quite some time. Fenves took over at Texas in June, and almost immediately starting receiving complaints about Patterson’s business-like approach. It was clear a change needed to be made, and Perrin said he was first approached about possibly stepping in as AD over Labor Day weekend.
One of the first things on Perrin’s agenda will be getting butts back in the seats of the stadium named after the coach he played for.
“I’ve been concerned. I sat in the stands last week and saw empty seats. There’s nothing greater than the feel of being in the arena. Fans, band members, your peers supporting you, there’s nothing like it, and it concerns me that fans, last week, voted with the feet. I intend to reach out to the entire Longhorn nation. I have sat as a student in the stands. I have been a donor. I’ve been actively involved, and I want to reach out to the Texas Exes, the other alumni groups, I want to be a source of interface with all aspects of the Longhorn nation, because I want the fans there.”
The interim AD will have his work cut out for him to steady the ship in Austin, but he’ll get plenty of time to put his thumb print on Texas as Fenves indicated a new AD will not be named anytime soon.