Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson is officially leaving the school and heading to Austin to assume the same position at the University of Texas. However, the hire hasn’t exactly sat well with one college football analyst in particular.
While Patterson, who was hired by ASU in March 2012, has a breadth of experience in professional sports — served as the team president and general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers, Senior VP of the Houston Texans and team president and general manager of the Houston Rockets — ESPN’s Mark May expressed concern about why a tradition-laden school like Texas would take a chance on a candidate with limited success as a collegiate athletic director.
“He has outkicked his coverage,” May told Arizona Sports 620’s Burn & Gambo Tuesday. “I think he’s in the deep end now. I probably would have gone a different route. I probably would have gone with an athletic director that’s presided over a school that’s won a championship and that’s made a lot of money or that’s in a major conference and competes all the time in multiple sports.
“I probably would have gone after Joe Castiglione at Oklahoma, because he’s in your conference. He knows your area and he’s done a terrific there with a lot smaller budget. Maybe Jeff Long of Arkansas in the immediate area. That’s the direction I would have gone. But heck I don’t make those decisions. That’s why I don’t get paid those big bucks.”
Although Patterson reportedly beat out West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck for the job, May’s not convinced that the 55-year-old’s connection to the school — received his law degree from UT — provides enough merit to warrant the hire.
“Tell me what championships he’s presided over here at this school,” said May. “Tell me how he’s elevated this school to be a lot better than they’ve been athletically since he’s been here.”
The Sun Devils didn’t claim a National Championship during Patterson’s year-plus tenure in Tempe, but the former ASU AD was responsible for hiring football coach Todd Graham, moving the baseball team’s games to Phoenix Municipal Stadium and overseeing the upcoming renovation project at Sun Devil Stadium.