Univ. of Texas athletic director fired after donor complaints

University of Texas president Gregory Fenves fired Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson.

Fenves led a conference call with the university board of regents on Monday night, when it was determined Patterson would be let go. He was hired by Texas in November 2013.

The Austin American Statesman reported that several donors have told Texas officials that they will no longer donate money to Longhorns athletics as long as Patterson is the athletic director.

Fenves was promoted from provost to university president in June. Reports regarding complaints about Patterson began to surface not long after.

Among those complaints against Patterson were poor communication with donors, department employees and coaches. Other complaints involved the financing of a new tennis facility and the lack of transparency in the method used to deal with football season-ticket holders.

Among his major decisions were parting with longtime football coach Mack Brown and basketball coach Rick Barnes, who was in Austin from 1998-2015.

The coaches of major sports at Texas report to associate athletic director Arthur Johnson, who relays concerns or problems to Patterson.

Another issue according to was that Patterson had not talked with his coaches regarding his decision on a new shoe contract. Nike is in the final month of a period of exclusive negotiation with Texas, and starting in October, Nike and Under Armour could engage in a bidding war to be the school’s shoe and apparel sponsor.

In an email conversation, Patterson told that he and Fenves “have a good working relationship.”

Patterson was in the third year of a guaranteed five-year deal paying him roughly $1.4 million annually. He was the athletic director at Arizona State before being hired by Texas.

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