MIAMI — Former Northeastern Oklahoma A&M head football coach Clay Patterson has joined the staff of Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck.
The announcement was made during a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Patterson, who guided NEO to the Southwest Junior College Football Conference championship this season, will serve in a “to-be-determined on-field role.”
He announced his resignation Sunday.
Longtime assistant Zach Allen was introduced as Patterson’s successor at a press conference Tuesday, Jan. 16.
The hiring of Patterson was one of a number of staff changes announced by Fleck.
Patterson had entertained a number of offers from NCAA Division I programs around the country, “but we wanted to wait for the right thing.
“We achieved our goal on that. It’s very tough to leave NEO. It’s a special place,” he said.
Patterson was head coach of the Norsemen for two seasons, compiling a 14-7 record over his two seasons.
He previously had been offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at SWJCFC rival Trinity Valley for three seasons.
Prior to that, for six seasons, he was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“It’s been a combination of what we do offensively and the success we’ve had, but I think what put it over the top for me what our program was able to do from a marketing standpoint, about what we’re about and the culture we built at NEO,” Patterson said at the press conference. “I think I got an opportunity to go be a Division I coach because of the people of Miami and the people of NEO.
“It was a very tough decision for us,” he said. “My wife and I love Miami. NEO is a great place to work. It’s the Division 1 of junior college. There’s not a better junior college in the country.”
The Gophers were 5-7 in Fleck’s first season, including a 2-7 showing in the Big Ten Conference.
Patterson becomes the second former Golden Norse head coach who will be coaching in the Big Ten.
Ryan Held, who preceded Patterson (spending 2014-2015 in Miami), moved to Nebraska along with coach Scott Frost late last year.
Fleck took over the Minnesota program on Jan. 6, 2017, after a successful stint at Western Michigan.