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Texas cuts free meals from coaches, staff to save $300,000

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
Former University of Texas president Bill Powers, left and athletic director Steve Patterson, right, introduce new Longhorns head football coach Charlie Strong. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

Several reports have emerged over the past few months relating to frustration among Texas athletics caused by Steve Patterson, the Longhorns’ athletic director since November 2013.

The Dallas Morning News reported last week that Patterson was asked to change his “personal style.” Additionally, Chip Brown of Horns Digest published a long report in June citing a variety of frustrations the Texas community has with Patterson, particularly his focus on revenue and “alienating longtime donors as well as faculty and staff.”

Among the complaints with Patterson, according to Brown’s report, was that coaches now have to pay to eat in the dining halls with their players.

Coaches used to be allowed to go into the athletic dining hall whenever they wanted under Dodds, often to bond with their student-athletes or have a one-on-one conversation. Under Patterson, coaches are only allowed 30 visits per year. If coaches go to the athletic dining hall more than that, they have to pay $10 for each visit out of their own pocket.

A month after Brown’s report came out, Matt Brown of SB Nation was able to confirm this Thursday via an open records request. The athletic department, which reportedly took in over $161 million in revenue in 2014, said these staff meals cost over $300,000 per year.

Ut Austin Athletics Staff Dining by Matt Brown

While this policy probably won’t have an impact on Charlie Strong (who makes $5 million per year), it reportedly contributed to the resignation of Texas women’s tennis coach Danielle Lund McNamara.

From Horns Digest:

Sources said this new policy had a negative impact on Danielle Lund McNamara, who stepped down as Texas’ women’s tennis coach last month out of frustration. UT didn’t have a tennis facility this season, and won’t next year, because the previous facility was demolished to make room for a new medical school. 

Patterson pinching pennies by cutting the number of times a UT coach can go into the athletic dining hall helped gut an already unstable women's tennis program, sources said.

"There was no place for Coach McNamara to meet with her team," one source close to the situation said. "Was she going to use her own money each time she wanted to go into the athletic dining hall just to meet with her players? She'd be taking a pay cut. Come on. It's ridiculous."

While the recent Dallas Morning News report makes it clear that Patterson is not in immediate danger of losing his job, it said that Texas president Greg Fenves has personally told Patterson he needs to “change an approach that some see as impersonal or even arrogant.”

For more Texas news, visit Orangebloods.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!


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