Texas Longhorns fire AD Steve Patterson

— -- Texas Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson, after 22 months on the job, has been fired by university president Gregory Fenves, a source told ESPN's Mark Schlabach, confirming multiple reports.

Patterson reportedly met with Fenves on Tuesday morning. He had succeeded longtime AD DeLoss Dodds, who retired in 2013 after 32 years.

University spokesman Gary Susswein told The Associated Press that Fenves, who has been on the job since June, would not discuss "the nature of his private conversations" with Patterson, who had a guaranteed contract through August 2019 worth at least $1.4 million annually.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Houston attorney Mike Perrin, who played linebacker and defensive end for Texas in the late 1960s, will be named the interim athletic director until a permanent replacement can be found.

A source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy, however, that search may not begin "until early next year" because of the difficulties involved with talking to candidates during football season.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, former Texas coach and ESPN analyst Mack Brown, Louisville AD Tom Jurich and NCAA executive vice president Oliver Luck are among the candidates to replace Patterson, sources told ESPN's Brett McMurphy.

Sources told the American-Statesman that Brown, who has had the title of special assistant to the UT president for the past year and a half, has met with Fenves but is not being considered for the permanent job. Jurich and Luck were both candidates to replace Dodds in 2013.

"I had a couple of conversations with Greg since he took over (in June)," Brown told ESPN on Tuesday. "We have had absolutely no discussions about the athletic director position. It was more about his vision moving forward at the university. I have had no conversations with anyone about the athletic directors position."

Patterson has overseen two popular hires at Texas -- football coach Charlie Strong and men's basketball coach Shaka Smart, both now in charge of underperforming programs -- but has been unable to win over fans and university donors and has had several meetings with Fenves to soften his approach to running the nation's wealthiest athletic department like a business.

He also pushed for and won approval of alcohol sales at athletics events, scheduled a men's basketball game in China next season and talked of someday taking the football team to Mexico. Under his watch, the Longhorns won one national title -- men's swimming and diving -- and made to the semifinals of the 2014 College World Series.

But Patterson raised football ticket prices after a 6-7 season in 2014 and instituted a loyalty program for tickets that rewarded some longtime donors. It also pushed some longtime season-ticket holders out of their seats.

His aggressive move to raise money for the department also came under criticism.

Those criticisms are similar to those of former Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, who resigned last year in part because of his businesslike approach to the job, and who critics said commodified Michigan's football tradition, raising student ticket prices to football games. As with Patterson, a new university president took over after Brandon, the former CEO of Domino's Pizza, was hired in 2010.

Patterson also refused to engage in a breach-of-contract lawsuit that Oklahoma State filed against Texas offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Texas was not named as a party in the case, which is ongoing, but the suit has led to Strong and his staff being subjected to revealing depositions to describe who calls plays.

Largely considered one of Patterson's first missteps was an awkward public push to have the city of Austin help finance a new basketball arena after having not "invested a nickel" in the current Erwin Center over the previous 30 years. Those comments caught city officials off guard and forced the school to backtrack.

Before Saturday's home-opening game against Rice, a plane flew around the school's stadium with a banner reading, "Patterson Must Go.''

The football program has gone 1-8 against ranked opponents during Patterson's tenure. With a win percentage of .561 since 2010, Texas football is in the midst of its worst decade since the 1930s (.515).

The firing comes at a critical juncture in Texas' negotiations for a new shoe and apparel deal, as the exclusive negotiating window for Nike, which has had the contract since 2000, ends Oct. 1. The deal itself expires in June 2016.

Adidas and Under Armour are expected to make bids for those rights that will surpass at least Michigan's recent deal with Nike ($11.2 million a year). Only Notre Dame is believed to have a larger deal on a yearly basis. 

Patterson, who has undergraduate and law degrees from Texas, was hired by former UT president Bill Powers. Before his time with the Longhorns, Patterson spent 19 months as AD at Arizona State. He also worked for the Houston Texans (1997-2003), Houston Rockets (1989-93) and Portland Trail Blazers (2003-07).

ESPN Staff Writers Darren Rovell and Brett McMurphy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.