Speculation over the potential of former Arizona State athletic director leaving Tempe for Austin, where he’d play successor to long-time Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, began swirling early last month, when Dodds announced his retirement.
And rotating in that same rumor mill was the thought that, should Patterson — a Texas alum — beat out West Virginia AD Oliver Luck and other suspected candidates for the position, he may take with him Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham — a Texan.
Then came the announcement last week that, all of the sudden, Patterson had, somehow under the radar, emerged the victor for the prestigious job.
“I think we all were maybe a little blindsided by it,” he told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta of the hiring on Tuesday.
And with the hiring, despite supposed contractual documentation barring such a move, came a swell in the whispers that Patterson would, indeed, leave Tempe with Graham in tow, anointing the Sun Devils’ second-year coach as Mack Brown’s replacement with the Longhorns.
Such conjecture was shot down by ASU president Michael Crow, who corroborated reports of contractual bindings on the recruitment of any Sun Devils staff to Patterson’s new employer. But the public couldn’t help but to notice the apparent chemistry between the two Texas-rooted men. And they also couldn’t ignore the rumors that Patterson had already broken an alleged contractual clause in interviewing with Texas in the first place, so the notion of him trespassing on another didn’t seem all that far-fetched.
Naturally, then, in Patterson’s first interview since the hiring, Graham would be a topic of conversation. And when the prospect of the coach heading to Austin did arise, he was quick to provide an answer.
“That’s not going to happen,” Patterson said with an unequivocal tone.
“You know, I sat down with Michael (Crow) and told him that wasn’t going to happen. The documentation will make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Beyond the bindings, Patterson went on to say the reason for Graham’s fastening to ASU had a lot to do with the school and the community itself.
“Todd’s going to be here, Todd’s happy here, Todd’s family’s happy here — I think he’s a really good fit at ASU, style-wise and with the community,” he said. “I think he’s going to have a lot of success here for a lot of years.”
And, should the AD have any kind of special connection to another ASU coach or athletics faculty, they’re contractually unmovable, too.
“The rest of the staff has to stay as well,” Patterson clarified.
The Texas System Board of Regents is set to approve Patterson’s appointment during meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.