Texas Tech defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is heading to Abilene after being announced as the 21st head football coach in ACU history on Tuesday afternoon.
This comes after a nationwide search led by ACU’s new vice president for athletics, Zack Lassiter, and the removal of former head coach Adam Dorrel, who was just hired as the new head coach at the University of Central Oklahoma.
“This is a guy who has a proven track record of winning at every level that he’s coached,” Lassiter said. “He is also a builder, we’re wanting to attract builders here at ACU, and he is someone who understands what that is like. But it is not just about what he does on Saturday, it’s about what he does on Sunday through Friday and the kind of man he is and the relationships he builds. It’s what this place stands for, so to be able to find that in one package, we are so fortunate to have him here.”
Patterson has worked at numerous NCAA Div. I schools throughout his collegiate coaching career, including the University of Tulsa (2003-2010), the University of Pittsburgh (2011), West Virginia University (2012-2013), Arizona State (2014-2017), Utah State (2018) and, most recently, Texas Tech (2019-2021).
In an emotion-filled press conference, Patterson mentioned his gratefulness to his family, friends and coaches that have been and worked alongside him throughout his entire coaching career and that his dream of becoming a head coach was finally coming true. He also talked about his plans in changing ACU’s football program for the better, adding a win-now attitude and new style of football that will be built off of relationships and character.
“This job to me is about the people, the players and the lives that we can impact while we’re here,” Patterson said. “We will play with character, integrity, toughness and discipline because I believe that is how you win. We will put together a coaching staff that has a passion and work ethic for the game of football as well as guys who love the players.”
After the press conference, Patterson acknowledged the fact that the football program has struggled in its years as a Div. I school and is ready to take on the challenge of creating and building a stronger program, which starts with the players and coaching staff he will begin assembling.
“I love the challenge of it, and it is a new kind of challenge for me,” Patterson said. “Now I can guide the ship of what this program is going to look like and what direction it will go in, and also have the opportunity to surround myself with people that are likeminded.”
Before the press conference that introduced Patterson to the ACU and Abilene community, Patterson met with the players. The meeting occurred on Monday night with his new athletes and continued to have one-on-one meetings with players starting at Tuesday morning until the press conference Tuesday afternoon.
One of the players in on those meetings was redshirt sophomore cornerback Anthony Egbo, who was also a member of the search committee in charge of finding ACU’s next head coach.
“Instantly, I felt coach Patterson would command the respect of the guys and the team would flock to him,” Egbo said. “I have been a part of this team for a few years now, so I had a feeling of what my team needed, and I felt immediately that he will be a great leader for our team and for where we are at right now.”
Before Patterson officially starts at ACU, he will finish his time as the defensive coordinator at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders’ season will wrap up on Dec. 28 as they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.