TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson this week turned down an offer to become the next athletic director at Texas, a source close to the situation told FOXSportsArizona.com on Wednesday.
After meeting with representatives from the school at an undisclosed location, Patterson resisted a strong push from Texas that would have allowed him to return to his alma mater and replace DeLoss Dodds, who will step down at the end of August 2014. While the source said Texas did not present Patterson a “formal offer,” it was clear the job was Patterson’s if he wanted it.
Patterson has strong ties to Texas, where he received his undergraduate and law degrees. Those connections and his rising profile at ASU made him a natural candidate for the job, but Patterson opted to remain at ASU and continue building up a program long labeled a “sleeping giant.”
In September, Patterson received a 15-month contract extension through June 2018 and an $85,000 raise. In turning down Texas’s overture, Patterson presumably passed on the chance to make significantly more than his current salary of $450,000. Dodds’ annual salary at Texas is $1.1 million.
Patterson, who replaced Lisa Love at ASU in March 2012, has professional ties to the state of Texas, having served as general manager of the Houston Rockets and senior vice president and chief development officer for the Houston Texans.
In recent years, ASU has seen two athletic directors depart for high-profile positions: In 2000, Kevin White left ASU for Notre Dame, and current Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith left ASU in 2005.
Patterson has spearheaded a number of major projects at ASU, including Sun Devil Stadium renovation efforts, creation of the 425-acre sports facilities district to be built adjacent to ASU’s campus and negotiations to move ASU baseball’s home games to Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Patterson was also lauded this year for standing up to Notre Dame when it tried to back out of a 2014 football game in Tempe.
Patterson, who came to ASU in July 2011 as chief operating officer for Sun Devil athletics, was also heavily involved in the 2011 hiring of football coach Todd Graham and earlier this year made his first hire as athletic director, tabbing Craig Nicholson to take over ASU’s softball program.