September 27, 2013

West Virginia's Patterson battles familiar foes as coach

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


When Oklahoma State takes on West Virginia in their first Big 12 game of the year today, a few Oklahomans might feel a little torn between allegiances.

After all, their friend/relative Keith Patterson will be up in the booth at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown calling the shots as Mountaineers' defensive coordinator against the all too familiar Cowboys. The Marlow native born into football — his father is Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame inductee Bob Patterson —  still has plenty of interests in the state he calls home.

"I own a home in Marlow," Patterson said as he reminisced, just days ahead of the OSU match up. "As a matter of fact, I'm in the process of buying my mother and father's home there, the one we were raised in."

In fact, Patterson's life hits closer to Grady County than even his hometown. He was born in Chickasha at what is now Grady Memorial Hospital when his father was coaching at Rush Springs. His father won a state championship there in 1966 with head coach Joe Tunnel before taking the top role himself and later moving the family to Comanche and later Marlow.

His sister, Traci Thompson, currently works at the hospital as a nurse. Patterson's nephew, Ty Thompson, plays for the Fightin' Chicks football and baseball teams. Needless to say, he knows the area well. 

The only thing he might know more about is Oklahoma and Oklahoma State football. He had an uncle that played for Oklahoma, which was a big reason he followed the Sooners closely.

"From 1970 to 1974, I didn't miss an Oklahoma football game, and even if I wasn't there I'd listen on the radio broadcast," Patterson said. Later when he moved with his family to Comanche, he found himself in the company of connections to Oklahoma State.

"So from 1975 to 1979, I didn't miss an OSU game," he said. "I liked them both. Even at a young age, I recognized the differences that made them unique. And I loved the environment at both stadiums."

It comes as no surprise that this upbringing bred in Patterson a desire to be around football, a genuine love for the game, and aspirations to become the thing in life he respected the most: a coach, or to put it more personally, his father.

"That was my whole life," Patterson said. "With my dad as a high school coach, our lives revolved around sports. I grew up around coaches that I really looked up to, and I saw the impact a coach can have in someone's life."

For the full feature, pick up a copy of the weekend, Sept. 28-29 edition of the Express-Star.