Patterson will have help in finding coach

AUSTIN, Texas -- For new athletic director Steve Patterson, the first step in starting Texas’ head coaching search was seeking the help of the people who were smart enough to hire him.

Texas announced Tuesday that Patterson is bringing an eight-person advisory committee and the Korn/Ferry executive recruiting firm into the mix to find the Longhorns’ successor to Mack Brown.

That advisory committee is made up of the eight people who helped convince UT president Bill Powers to hire Patterson in November. Included in the group are the following:

  • Michael Clements, an accounting professor at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin

  • Steve Hicks, vice chair of the UT System Board of Regents and owner and executive chairman of the private investment firm Capstar Partners LLC.

  • Ricardo Hinojosa, a U.S. federal judge for the Southern District of Texas

  • Charles Matthews, the former VP and general counsel of Exxon Mobil as well as the president of the Texas Exes

  • Robert Rowling, a former member of the Board of Regents and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc.

  • Robert Stillwell, a member of the Board of Regents, retired partner at Baker Botts LLP and original director of Mesa Petroleum Co.

  • Charles Tate, the chairman of Capital Royalty

  • Pamela Willeford, the former chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and a former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein

These eight advisors were brought on Oct. 14 as Powers’ committee to hire a new athletic director. The presumed longtime frontrunner, West Virginia’s Oliver Luck, got an interview. So did Patterson, who blew the committee away and was the surprise hire.

Why does this matter? Patterson knew what he was signing up for when he accepted the job. He and all other candidates had to realize making a decision on Mack Brown and finding his replacement might be required this winter.

The eight-member committee trusted Patterson was the right guy to make the call and handle that situation, and he’ll have to do so early in his tenure. Patterson’s first day at Texas was Nov. 25, but he’s no stranger to hiring coaches as a longtime sports executive.

Now he and Powers will have eight people they trust in their corner as they work to find Texas’ first new head coach in more than 16 years.

Don't expect Patterson go public with much during this process from here on out, though. He acknowledged Sunday that deals like this one require a high priority on privacy and a bunker mentality.

I think that's the only successful way to have a search process,” Patterson said. “I'm not going to be sitting in front of you guys everyday talking about who I had a phone call with.

“At the end of the day, there's been a lot of malarkey in the press over the last couple of weeks. I think Bill and I have had lunch with about a dozen coaches or something, it's been reported one time or another. We haven't talked to anybody or had anything go on. I think you have to have the ability to have a private conversation and come out of it with the best coach you can get. That's the only way you're going to get there.”

Powers will give his input throughout, but he made it clear this is going to be Patterson’s hire. He know now he’ll have plenty of help, but now the pressure is on him.