The Rice Owls donned shoulder pads for the first time in their 2012 Fall Camp on Monday at Rice Stadium.
Darrell Patterson is back for his eighth season at Rice University and his third as Assistant Head Coach. After coaching the running backs during his first three seasons, he enters his fifth year of coaching the Owl's linebackers, his fourth as Special Teams Coordinator and his first as Run Game Coordinator.
In 2014, Patterson's linebacker lineup will be spearheaded by senior James Radcliffe, who was the fourth leading tackler on the team with 63 tackles in 2013. Redshirt sophomore Alex Lyons picked up 32 tackles in reserve duty and will step into the spot vacated by 2013 leading tackler Michael Kutzler, who entered earned second-team, All C-USA honors last year.
On special teams, Patterson has produced one All-American (punter Kyle Martens) and one freshman All-American (kick returner Mario Hull) in addition to the most productive kicker in school history, Chris Boswell who departed with all the school records for field goals and kick scoring. While working with the Owls' running backs in 2009, Patterson coached Charles Ross to an All C-USA freshman team effort. Both Boswell (Houston) and All C-USA deep snapper Trevor Gillette (Jacksonville) signed free agent contracts with the NFL in the spring of 2014.
In addition to his coaching duties, Patterson also continues to spearhead Rice's recruiting efforts in Canada, where he had a playing career in the CFL for seven seasons (1984-90). The Owls have signed a total of eight Canadians in the past seven years, including All C-USA offensive tackle Scott Mitchell and All C-USA tight end Luke Willson. The 2014 Owls defense will be led up front by returning All C-USA and preseason All-American honoree Christian Covington, while the newest Canadian recruit, Peter Godber, will be looking for playing time on the offensive line.
Patterson joined the Rice coaching staff on February 20, 2007 after two seasons coaching the linebackers at Stanford University.
Patterson's collegiate playing experience took place at Texas Christian University, where he was a standout linebacker from 1979-82. He is a member of the TCU Hall of Fame and remains the school's all-time leader in tackles (544), unassisted tackles (286), and assisted tackles (258).
He was selected in the sixth round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, but made his way to the Canadian Football League (CFL) for a seven-year career-playing for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1984-88 and the Hamilton Tiger Cats from 1988-90. Patterson won a Grey Cup championship with Winnipeg in 1984 and was on the runner-up team with Hamilton in 1989.
Following his playing days, Patterson began his coaching career as an intern for the British Columbia Lions in 1991. His coaching career has, since then, led him to Akron (1992-94), Temple (1995-96), Kentucky (1997-00), Arkansas State (2001), Baylor (2002), Southern Methodist (2003-04), and Stanford (2005-07). He also had a coaching stint with Ottawa of the CFL in 1995 as the defensive line and special teams coach.
While coaching at Southern Methodist, Baylor, and Arkansas State, Patterson coached the linebackers. At Baylor, he coached linebacker John Garrett, who went on to sign an NFL free agent contract. Patterson coached defensive tackle Larry Chester during his two seasons at Temple. Chester went on to sign an NFL contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
During his four seasons at Kentucky, Patterson was part of a staff that advanced to two bowl games: the1998 Outback Bowl versus Penn State and the 1999 Music City Bowl against Syracuse. While at Kentucky, Patterson coached safeties Willie Gary and Anthony Wajda to All-SEC honors, as well as Freshman All-America David Jackson.
Patterson graduated with a bachelor's degree in Human Relations from TCU in 1984. He and his wife, Julie, whom he met while playing professionally in Canada, have three children together: a son, Michael, who was a three-year letterman and 2012 Rice graduate, and two daughters, Monika and Meghan, who are both currently undergraduates at Rice.