AUSTIN, Texas - Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson is leaving the Sun Devils 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 job over the weekend. West Virginia's Oliver Luck had reportedly been the leading candidate, but it will instead be Patterson who succeeds DeLoss Dodds, who is stepping down at Texas after 32 years.
"Steve Patterson emerged as the perfect candidate to build on Texas' athletic success and DeLoss Dodds' legacy,'' Texas President Bill Powers said.
Patterson's hiring must still be approved 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. Powers' office said Patterson would be introduced at a news conference later this week.
No reaction was forthcoming from Morgantown. Neither Luck nor school president Jim Clements responded to Gazette requests for comment.
Patterson's most immediate questions at Texas likely center on the future of 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 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. State lawmakers are investigating whether to impeach one regent over attempts to force Powers out.
Dodds and Powers have been Brown's staunchest allies through three consecutive sub-par seasons for the storied Texas football program. Brown faced intense criticism and renewed speculation about his job security when Texas started 1-2, but the Longhorns are on a five-game winning streak and in first place in the Big 12.