Former Arab football standout Matt Patterson believes he’s ready for his first high school head coaching job.
His resume certainly indicates that he is.
What Patterson wasn’t ready for was the deluge of calls and texts of congratulations from family and friends after Buckhorn High School announced on social media this past weekend that Patterson had been hired to be the Bucks’ new head football coach.
“I didn’t know they’d done that,” Patterson said Monday. “I had my cell phone turned off and when I turned it back on, probably an hour or so after (the announcement), I had all these texts and messages, people calling to congratulate me.
“It was wild.”
On the school’s Facebook page alone, more than 150 people posted messages of support and congratulations to Patterson.
It was just part of the “whirlwind,” as Patterson calls it, of the last two weeks of his life.
“New child, new job and now trying to find a new house,” he said of the hectic past two weeks.
First and foremost in this busy time, Patterson and his wife of six years, Anna, welcomed a little girl, Collins, into their home a couple of weeks ago. The newborn will be the little sister of Ridge, now 2 years old.
Though he was an assistant at Madison Academy last year, he lived about 30 minutes away, toward Athens. With the new child and new work responsibilities, he wanted to find a home closer to Buckhorn in New Market, northeast of Huntsville.
As for the new job itself, Patterson thinks he’s prepared himself as much as he possibly could since his days at Arab.
“You never feel fully ready until you just go and do it, take that risk,” he said.
He doesn’t lack for good mentors, that’s for sure, starting with his high school coach at Arab, his father, the legendary Pod Patterson.
He won the Bemon Lyon Award as a junior in 2003, graduated in 2005, then played four seasons for Div. II legend Bobby Wallace at West Alabama, where his offensive coordinator was Will Hall, named in December as Southern Miss’ head coach. He started his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Albertville under Joel Poole.
He then coached at Demopolis under another successful coach, Tom Causey, before becoming the offensive coordinator and head baseball coach at Holt for one season. He then spent two years as OC at Bibb County, then six years as the Bob Jones OC under Kevin Rose.
Last season, he served on the staff of Bob Godsey at Madison Academy.
Godsey is the winningest coach in Hartselle history, going 141-51 in 16 seasons. His 2011 team won the 5A title.
“Coach Rose and Coach Godsey are sure-fire Hall of Famers,” Patterson said. “I’ve been around lots of good people all my life.”
At Buckhorn, Patterson replaces Keith Henderson, the popular former Arab assistant who stepped down at the end of the 2020 season after three years as the Bucks’ coach.
“Coach Henderson was instrumental in me getting this job,” Patterson said. “We had a lot of positive conversations.”
Patterson said his goal will be to take the best out of every coaching stop he’s had and apply it in his new capacity as the leader at Buckhorn.
“You want to impact these kids’ lives as best as you can,” he said, “and win a lot of football games along the way.”