Keith Patterson, who has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 11 seasons as defensive coordinator, has been named Utah State’s defensive coordinator, it was announced Tuesday by Aggie head coach Matt Wells.
Along with his defensive coordinator duties at Utah State, Patterson will coach the safeties. With the hiring of Patterson, assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Frank Maile will continue to coach the defensive line, while assistant coach Julius Brown will work with the cornerbacks, and assistant coach Stacy Collins will once again coach the inside linebackers.
“We are very excited to announce Keith Patterson as a member of our defensive staff,” said Wells. “Keith’s experience as a defensive coordinator and aggressive style will mesh very well with coach Maile and our current staff. Keith and I have spent several years coaching together previously and I know his work ethic, passion and energy will fit perfect into our Utah State football culture. We are excited to have Keith and Melissa as part of our Aggie football family.”
During his collegiate career, Patterson has coached in 11 bowl games.
“I am excited to become a member of the Utah State family,” said Patterson. “I have tremendous respect for coach Wells, the staff and players in this program. I look forward to helping build upon the success and foundation that has already been established.”
Prior to his appointment at Utah State, Patterson spent the past four seasons at Arizona State serving as the Sun Devils’ defensive coordinator for three of those years and working with the linebackers all four seasons.
With his focus on the inside linebackers at Arizona State in 2017, Patterson oversaw the evolution of D.J. Calhoun and Christian Sam as both earned all-Pac-12 honors. Sam finished the season ranked seventh nationally and first in the conference, averaging 10.6 tackles per game, while Calhoun ranked seventh in the conference with an average of 7.6 tackles per game. Furthermore, ASU ranked 22nd in the nation with an average of 2.77 sacks per game.
Arizona State was especially efficient on third downs in conference games in 2017, allowing just a 34.82 opponent conversion percentage to rank 32nd nationally and second in the conference. ASU was also first in the league and 13th nationally in allowing just 37.50 percent of opponent fourth-down conversion attempts to be successful.
In 2016, Patterson’s guidance was instrumental in the standout performances turned in by linebackers Koron Crump and Calhoun. Crump led the Sun Devils with nine sacks, while recording three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception. Calhoun was the team leader with 77 tackles, was tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 11.5 and was second to Crump in sacks with 4.5.
Patterson also had a big hand in the Sun Devils’ special teams success in 2016, as Arizona State finished fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in net punting (42.0).
The 2015 season saw Patterson put together one of the elite linebacking groups in the Pac-12 with his starting trio of Salamo Fiso, Sam and Laiu Moeakiola finishing first, second and sixth on the team in total tackles. Fiso went on to earn all-Pac-12 accolades while racking up a career-best 20.0 tackles for loss, good for sixth nationally.
Patterson’s defense helped the Sun Devils post 111 tackles for loss in 2015, with an average of 8.5 tackles per loss per game to rank third nationally and first in the Pac-12. ASU averaged 3.54 sacks per game in 2015 to lead the nation.
Under the direction of Patterson, the 2014 Sun Devil defense finished sixth in the nation in turnover margin at plus-14 and led the Pac-12 with 14 interceptions. Patterson mentored linebackers Calhoun, Fiso and Moeakiola to third-team all-Pac-12 honors, and Calhoun was named a freshman All-American. Patterson’s linebacker group combined for 16 of the team’s 39 sacks and produced three of the team’s top five tacklers.
Prior to his arrival in Tempe, Patterson spent two seasons at West Virginia, where he served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2013 and as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2012.
At West Virginia, Patterson mentored linebacker Isaiah Bruce, who was named to three freshman All-America teams and two all-Big 12 teams in 2012 after ranking second on the team in tackles with 94, fourth in tackles for loss with 6.5 and first on the team in fumbles recovered with two. He also tied for the team lead in interceptions with two.
In 2011, Patterson served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Pittsburgh, helping the Panthers’ defense rank third nationally in quarterback sacks (3.31 pg), tied for 12th in tackles for loss (98), 14th in defensive third-down efficiency (32.98), 21st in rushing defense (116.9 ypg), 35th in total defense (350.62 ypg) and 38th in scoring defense (22.4 ppg). That defense placed five players on the all-Big East Team and featured one All-American.
In 2011, Patterson served as the interim head coach for Pittsburgh at the BBVA Compass Bowl against SMU.
Patterson also coached at Tulsa from 2003 until 2010, where he tutored some of the most productive and accomplished defenders in the school’s football history. Patterson began by coaching linebackers in 2003 and then added the title of defensive coordinator from 2006 through 2010. In 2010, he helped mold a defense that led the country in interceptions (24) and ranked third in turnovers gained (36). Facing the nation’s top passing offense in Hawai’i in the 2010 Hawaii Bowl, Tulsa’s defense forced five interceptions and six total turnovers en route to a victory over the No. 24 Rainbow Warriors.
The win was the Golden Hurricane’s 36th over a four-year span and marked the program’s third-consecutive bowl triumph. His star pupils included first-team all-Conference USA performers Nick Bunting, Chris Chamberlain and Nelson Coleman. The three rank among the top-10 tacklers in school history, a list topped by Coleman, who had an impressive 413 career stops. Bunting finished his career as one of the most decorated linebackers ever at Tulsa as he was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2006 and the Western Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year in 2003. Chamberlain, who finished fifth in Tulsa history with 352 tackles, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2008.
Prior to his college coaching experience, Patterson spent 16 years coaching high school football in Oklahoma and Texas. He spent two years (2000 and 2002) as the linebackers, defensive backs and special teams coach at Allen (Texas) High School. He also coached at Allen HS from 1995-96. Before that, he was the head football coach at Ardmore (Oklahoma) HS for three seasons (1997-99). At Ardmore, Patterson led his team to the District 5A-1 Championship in 1999, while earning district coach of the year honors. In 1994, Patterson was the head coach at Edmond Santa Fe (Oklahoma) HS. Prior to that, he served as the defensive secondary coach at Edmond Memorial HS for two seasons (1992-93). He began his high school coaching career in 1988 at Altus (Oklahoma) HS, where he coached the outside linebackers and defensive backs for four years. He helped lead Altus to a state runner-up finish in Class 4A, while helping Edmond Memorial to a Class 6A runner-up finish in 1993.
Patterson earned his bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from East Central (Oklahoma) University in 1986. He was a four-year letterman at defensive back for ECU and later served his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach. He earned his master’s degree in kinesiology and sport studies in 2003 from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Patterson and his wife Melissa have three daughters and one son.
Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.