The ASU athletic department has a new leader.
Steve Patterson, the chief operating officer of Sun Devil Athletics and managing director of the Sun Devil Sports Group, can now add a few more titles to his résumé.
“I’ve made the decision to appoint Steve Patterson as vice president for University athletics and director of Sun Devil sports,” ASU President Michael Crow said Wednesday. “Those are two very important roles within the University. They should reflect, as we have done with the appointment of Lisa Love seven years ago, the importance of university athletics to ASU.”
Although he has limited experience in the realm of collegiate athletics, Patterson has a wealth of experience in the athletic industry, such as working with the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers.
Patterson has been with ASU since July 2011, but has spent his time focusing on the business aspect of the school’s athletic department rather than the on-field performances. While his tenure in Tempe has been limited, Patterson has made positive impressions on the school’s coaches.
“In the short time I have known Steve Patterson, he has displayed a very positive leadership skill that ASU will benefit from,” softball coach Clint Myers said.
Football coach Todd Graham echoed these sentiments.
“I am ultra excited about the future of Sun Devil football,” Graham said. “Steve Patterson is a proven leader and his vision is in line with mine for this university and Sun Devil Athletics. Lisa Love is a great person and I enjoyed working with her. I wish her nothing but the best and I know she wants the same for Sun Devil Athletics.”
Patterson and Crow both acknowledged that the recent performances of the football and men’s basketball programs have not lived up to the standards and expectations of the department, but they insist Love’s tenure was not a failure.
“Lisa Love has made a number of accomplishments in her seven years,” Crow said. “ASU has achieved previously unattainable levels of academic performance, previously unattained levels of repeat national championship teams, but Lisa and I both came to the conclusion that at this stage of our evolution, where we need to go and what we need to do, that her interest in moving on to other things and our interest in concentrating (on) moving forward on gaining national championships, gaining conference championships, rebuilding our facilities (and) moving forward in other dimensions, that now would be a good time to make a new appointment.”
ASU won seven national titles under Lisa Love and finished at No. 4 in the Directors’ Cup rankings in 2008.
Although Love achieved ASU’s goals, the school wants to achieve more and Patterson believes that starts with a vision for the future and most importantly, wins.
“We need to be consistently competitive,” Patterson said. “We need to (compete) for national championships and while we do it we need to have some fun out there and I think we’ve missed a bit of that with some of the teams we had this year.”
Patterson believes ASU is one of the top universities in the country and said attracting the top athletes and being competitive is an easily attainable goal. Patterson mentioned the school’s location and weather among other factors. However, the athletic department is not in an ideal financial state.
Crow said the athletic department needs to earn $100 million per year to be successful. Recently, the Sun Devils have failed to hit that mark and Patterson’s business and financial experience were also factored in the decision.
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