KANSAS — There’s an Ottawa County arc in a move that saw Kansas High School head coach Steve Patterson accept a position at Carl Junction, Missouri.
Patterson, a Miami High School graduate and fo4rmer defensive coordinator and interim head coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, joins a Carl Junction staff that is headed by Quapaw native and former Golden Norse offensive coordinator Doug Buckmaster.
Patterson’ successor as head coach on an interim basis at Kansas is Jimmy Dushane, a 1983 graduate of Commerce High School.
And taking the arc one step further, Carl Junction’s superintendent is Dr. Phil Cook — who spent the early part of his career as a coach and teacher at Fairland.
“I am excited about the opportunity Dr. Cook and Buck (Buckmaster) gave me,” Patterson said. “It’s a great place.”
Patterson was 4-26 in three seasons as the Comets’ head coach.
Prior to accepting the job at Kansas, Patterson had been head coach and physical education instructor at Tulsa East Central.
A 1986 MHS graduate, Patterson began his coaching career at Wilburton in 1991 before moving to Claremore in 1993.
He was defensive coordinator for the Golden Norsemen for four seasons then was interim head coach in ’04.
He moved to Central Oklahoma at Edmond, where he was defensive coordinator for one year then was assistant head coach from 2007 to 2011.
He spent two seasons at Northeastern State University, serving as head coach Kenny Evans’ co-defensive coordinator.
“He (Buckmaster) has done a good job,” said Patterson, who will coach the secondary and high school track at Carl Junction. “Things are going in the right direction. It’s been fun so far.”
“We are ecstatic to have Steve and his son, Drew, here at Carl Junction,” Buckmaster said via text. “Steve has already made an impact with our coaches and players on and off the field this summer.
“Steve I believe is the ‘missing link’ to a very talented group of defensive coaches on our staff. He brings a wealth of experience and gives us a true defensive coach on that side of the ball. We are very fortunate to have him here.”
Carl Junction opened the 2016 season on an upbeat note, upsetting Missouri power Webb City 23-7 in the season opener.
That was the Bulldogs first win in the series since 1977.
Carl Junction finished 9-3, 6-2 in the Central Ozark Conference Large Division.
Webb City avenged the earlier loss with a 27-6 victory in a Class 4 quarterfinal game.
Dushane previously had been head coach at Fox, South Coffeyville, Fairland and Diamond, Missouri, and assisted at Commerce.
“I look forward to it,” said Dushane, who had been offensive coordinator under Patterson. “I honestly think we can place third or fourth in the district. In all honesty, I think we can be 5-5 or 6-4 with our schedule.”
"It happened so late in the year that we are putting him (Dushane) as interim head coach for this season and then we will go back and reevaluate the position at the end of football season," Kansas superintendent Jim Burgess told the Delaware County Journal. "This kind of caught us off guard."
The Comets return nine offensive and eight on defense from a team that went 0-10 but played in a district that included 2A runner-up Tulsa Victory Christian and quarterfinalist Tulsa Holland Hall.
Salina and Ketchum were the district’s other playoff qualifiers.
Finding a quarterback is the No. 1 priority facing Dushane.
“I am going to go back to old fashioned football,” he said. “We’re not going to throw it a whole bunch. We are going to throw it enough that people know they are going to have to cover it.
“The kids we have are really strong. That’s what we are going to do: just going to move you out of the way and play power football.”
The Comets, who won the Class 2A state powerlifting championship, attended a team camp at Ketchum and joined Colcord, Haskell and Porter at a four-week 7-on-7 league at Locust Grove.
“At the passing league, I think we threw eight or nine kids at quarterback in the four weeks we went,” Dushane said. “Steve had us hooked up in that Ketchum camp early. At first, I wasn’t real keen on going, because we play them in the middle of the year. But we went and it probably was one of the best things we could have done.”
Kansas begins preseason drills Monday, Aug. 7, and then opens the season Friday, Aug. 25 with a Week Zero game at Oklahoma Union.
Jim Ellis is sports editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached by phone at 918-542-5508 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsportsguy.