WVU assistant finds new home, again
College Football Videos
Keith Patterson had just accepted a coaching position with offensive wizard Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State when his phone rang.
The call changed Patterson's life, as well as his zip code for the third time in a year.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was on the other end of the line. His sales pitch hooked Patterson.
Only a year after becoming the defensive coordinator at Pitt, and less than two weeks after taking a new job to be closer to family, Patterson decided to relocate one more time.
Ultimately, the opportunity to be a defensive coordinator in the Big 12 and work for another offensive-minded coach was too tempting to pass up.
“I knew my family situation was going to dictate what I did,” said Patterson, who is from Marlow, Okla. “I was going to try to get back as close as I possibly could to our hometown. I ended up going to Arkansas State with Gus Malzahn for almost two weeks. Then, Dana called. I flew out and talked to him and felt like, career-wise, it was a good move. My family's roots are in Oklahoma and Texas, so it's right in the heart of Big 12 country.”
Holgorsen felt it was important to bring Patterson to Morgantown, W.Va., for the same reason Patterson agreed to listen to him: mutual respect.
Last year, in Holgorsen's first season at WVU, the Mountaineers matched their lowest point total of the season, while being held to their second-lowest yardage output in a 21-20 win over Pitt. As an assistant at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech, Holgorsen had seen his offenses have trouble moving the ball easily against Patterson's defenses at Pitt and Tulsa.
“I've known his body of work for years,” Holgorsen said. “Our transformation from the stack to the 3-4 is something that he did several years ago at Tulsa. He was running the stack at one point, and then transitioned to the 3-4. He had many reasons why he wanted to do that, which were the same reasons why we did.”
Said Patterson, who was Pitt's interim coach in the BBVA Compass Bowl when Todd Graham abruptly left for Arizona State: “I didn't know Dana personally. It was just having the respect for what he's done offensively. I spent time trying to figure out defending him at Pitt and trying to become a better coach.”
Patterson said his year at Pitt was both exciting and sad.
He enjoyed coaching a defense that ranked third in the nation in sacks and 21st against the run. He disliked how his tenure with the Panthers ended.
“I loved the city of Pittsburgh. I enjoyed living there. I felt like I was close with our players on defense. I was excited about our future. I was excited about going into the ACC and hopefully be able to revive the program,” Patterson said. “I hated that it had to end that way.”
Patterson said he didn't join Graham at Arizona State for personal reasons.
“It was going to be the third school for Kelby in 12 months,” Patterson said about his son, a high school junior. “(Daughter) Bretlie has transferred to Tulsa to Pitt; now she's going to have to transfer again. At some point, you've got to step back and say, ‘When's enough, enough?'
“I felt like I put them in some difficult situations, so I tried to make the best of it. I ended up being very blessed to be here.”
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WVU’s Kwiatkoski settles in middle
- West Virginia cornerback Worley facing battery charges
- WVU suspends starting cornerback Worley indefinitely
- WVU notebook: Mountaineers showed off running game by committee vs. Maryland
- WVU women’s soccer has Canadian flavor
- West Virginia notebook: One CB in, one out for Mountaineers