UT men's athletic director Steve Patterson, shown at a Longhorns practice in early August, said Tuesday that he plans to let Charlie Strong run his own football team, not get involved with personnel decisions regarding coaching staff.

Football

Steve Patterson: ‘I’m not gonna coach the football team’

Athletic director won't force Strong to make changes

Posted September 8th, 2015

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Story highlights
  • Patterson said "nobody's happy" with 35-point loss to Notre Dame
  • Staff changes are Charlie Strong's "prerogative."
  • Economic impact study reveals that Texas athletics brings in $728 annually to Austin and Texas economy

Though he’s unhappy about the way the football season has begun, Texas men’s athletic director Steve Patterson said Tuesday — previous to Charlie Strong’s announcement that he was stripping Shawn Watson of his play-calling duties — that he wouldn’t meddle into the coach’s staff decisions.

“Look, I’m not gonna coach the football team,” Patterson said. “That’s the football coach’s job.”

Patterson’s comments came amid speculation about the job security of offensive play-caller Shawn Watson. Including Saturday’s 38-3 loss at Notre Dame, Watson’s offense has scored a total of 20 points and two touchdowns in the past three games. On Monday, Strong said he would be evaluating the performance of Watson and other assistants and acknowledged “we can’t go through another season with a bad offense.”

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Patterson, who held a news conference to unveil an economic impact report commissioned by Texas athletics, said he had spoken with Strong earlier in the day.

“Obviously, nobody’s happy with how the game went,” Patterson said. “He’s probably less happy than just about everybody.”

Patterson said making staff changes is Strong’s “prerogative,” and are out of Patterson’s purview.

Saturday’s loss dropped Strong’s record at Texas to 6-8 and dampened optimism for his second season. The Longhorns were never competitive, falling behind 14-0 after one quarter and getting out-gained 527-163.

“It was not the performance that we’d hoped for,” Patterson said. “There was a lot of excitement going into the game. If you look at the 10,000 folks that we had at the Cubs game (on Friday) chanting ‘Texas Fight’ back and forth across the outfield. There was an awful lot of burnt orange at Notre Dame Stadium. There was an awful lot of excitement going into the game. Sometimes you have a bad day. (Notre Dame is a) real good football team, too.”

Patterson met with media to discuss the findings of an economic impact report Texas athletics commissioned six months ago. The study concluded that the athletic department and its facilities deliver more than $728 million annually to Austin and the state of Texas.
Austin-based AngelouEconomics conducted the study, and determined that the average economic impact for a Texas home football game in 2013 was $63 million. Also, an average of 80,800 out-of-town people visited Austin for home games that season.
Patterson seemed to dodge a line of questioning about whether the study was in response to his suggestion in September 2014 that the city of Austin should help the university foot the cost of a basketball arena to replace the Erwin Center.
Patterson’s comments — that the city had benefited from a free arena for more than 30 years — rankled public officials.
“The point was to take a look at the entirety of Texas athletics and the impact it has on the state, the region, and the city,” Patterson said. “We think it’s good to quantify those things as we try to make a decision on how to go forward with events that we do here and with how we look at facilities and a whole host of things.”
The study determined Texas athletics accounts for 5.2 percent of Austin’s $6.3 billion travel industry.
A university spokesman said the study cost the athletic department $75,000 including start-up fees. Updates will cost $20,000 per year.

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