PHOENIX -- Lisa Love is out as athletic director at Arizona State, replaced by longtime sports executive Steve Patterson.
Love had headed the Sun Devils' athletic department since April 2005. While the university said in a news release on Wednesday that Love is leaving to pursue other career opportunities, The Arizona Republic said that university president Michael Crow told her she was being replaced at a meeting on Tuesday.
Love, senior associate athletic director at USC when she was hired at Arizona State, hired two football coaches -- Dennis Erickson and Todd Graham -- and men's basketball coach Herb Sendek. The two highest-profile sports on campus have struggled. Erickson was fired after a 6-7 season last year. Sendek's Sun Devils went 10-21 last season but he was given a two-year contract extension.
While Crow put a positive spin on Love's time at the school, calling it "seven years of excellent service," he signaled that the record in those sports was unacceptable.
"Is there happiness over the performance of football over the last few years? The answer is no," Crow said at a news conference. "Is there happiness about men's basketball? It goes unanswered. How could you be happy about 20 losses in a single season? And so it is our expectation that none of our teams and none of our programs will be in the bottom tier of anything."
University spokesman Mark Brand said Love's contract ran through June 30, 2014. He said the buyout terms had not been determined because of the nature of her contract, which includes bonuses and other factors.
"But we expect it will be several hundred thousand dollars," he said.
Patterson already held a major post in the department as chief operating officer of Sun Devil Athletics and managing director of the Sun Devils Sports Group.
"In his time at ASU, Steve Patterson has shown a level of sports management expertise rarely seen at the college and university level," Crow said in the university's announcement. "He is the ideal person to build on the foundation Lisa built and to take Sun Devil sports to the next level -- to the highest level."
At the news conference, Patterson likened the situation at Arizona State to the one at the University of Texas when he was a student there.
"We had a football program that had fallen on hard times after a great run -- many, many years of tremendous success," Patterson said, "and a guy named DeLoss Dodds came to town and he wasn't so popular when he first got there and he was there when I was a student and he's still there today. And he's built one of the great athletic departments in America, one of the great sports enterprises in America. I think we've got all the resources to do that here and I don't see why we can't do it."
Crow said Patterson will evaluate how best to support the football program of new coach Graham and the readiness of the men's basketball program to return to the NCAA tournament.
Patterson served notice that coaches will have no excuse for a lack of success.
"If you can't figure out how to come here and be successful, it's not ASU's fault. It's the person that's coaching," he said. "If you can't convince the best athletes to come and play here, with the business school that we've got, with the communications school that we've got, with the Barrett Honors College that we've got, with the great weather, with the great city, there's something wrong."
Under Love's administration, Arizona State won seven national championships, all in so-called minor sports -- two in softball, one in women's golf, two in women's indoor track and field, one in men's indoor track and field and one in women's outdoor track and field.