University of Texas regents unanimously approved a settlement agreement Thursday with Steve Patterson, who was ousted last week as men’s athletics director.
The UT System Board of Regents authorized university President Gregory L. Fenves to firm up the agreement with the approval of system Chancellor Bill McRaven and two other senior system officials. Terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed.
A source familiar with the negotiations has told the American-Statesman that Patterson would be paid one year’s salary of $1.4 million and either a full salary for a second year or an amount that deducts any income from a new job. Counting this year, Patterson had four years left on a guaranteed deal worth at least $5.6 million.
Although terms of the agreement were discussed by the regents in a closed session, the agreement will not be released publicly until it is made final, officials said.
“We needed authorization from the regents on the terms,” Fenves said, adding that no substantive details remain to be worked out.
“We’ll get it done as quickly as possible,” he added, declining to give an estimate of the timing.
Funding for the agreement must come entirely from athletic revenues, according to a motion approved by the regents.
Patterson, who is represented by Houston-based attorney Rusty Hardin, compiled a mixed record in the 22 months leading up to his dismissal by Fenves last week. His two major hires — Charlie Strong as football coach and Shaka Smart as basketball coach — drew praise from Longhorn Nation.
But his abrupt management style, his decision to raise ticket prices at a time when the football team was struggling and what some saw as an overzealous emphasis on profit made him unpopular with many fans and donors. Although it is clear that Patterson was forced out, Fenves has steadfastly referred to his departure as a resignation, undoubtedly for legal reasons.
The UT president named Mike Perrin, a Houston-based attorney, as interim men’s athletic director last week. Perrin played linebacker in the late 1960s for legendary UT coach Darrell Royal and once owned Smokey, the cannon fired at UT football games.
Perrin’s one-year deal for $750,000, which runs through next August, did not have to be approved by the regents because it is under $1 million, said Patricia Ohlendorf, the university’s vice president for legal affairs. The arrangement did, however, receive the needed approval from UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven.
“He’s been fabulous,” Fenves said of Perrin. “Mike has been truly fabulous.”
Fenves said no timetable has been set for seeking a permanent athletic director. He and Perrin have been somewhat coy about the question of whether “interim” could turn into “permanent.”