Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said last month that Patterson is a “Hall of Fame” coach. Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, one of the bright offensive minds in today’s game, described Patterson as “a phenomenal defensive coach.”
There’s already a statue of Patterson outside Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Patterson reflected back on the roots of what got him to the pinnacle of the sport on Tuesday. He recalled the influence his parents had on him as each passed away this year.
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His father, Keith W. Patterson, passed away at age 82 from a bout with cancer on January 20. His mother, Gail Patterson, passed away at age 81 last Thursday. His mom’s funeral is Friday in Larned, Kansas.
Patterson ended his weekly news conference Tuesday by addressing their passing, calling each “big Frog fans.” Patterson said he visited his dad shortly before he passed, and his dad – who spent his working days as a heavy equipment operator – encouraged him to get back on the recruiting trail.
He went up to see his mom following TCU’s victory over Iowa State, and she – who worked 40 years as a nurse – encouraged him to return and prepare for Texas Tech.
“People say, ‘Why have you been as driven?’” Patterson said. “You’re driven because you had parents that actually drove you and you wanted to make sure that you paid them back for all the hard work they did.
“Everybody has parents, everybody has people that have given them a chance to be where they need to be. To be honest with you, that’s what you try to accomplish. When you leave, the best way you can pay them back is you can pay them back by trying to be successful. If you’re successful enough, you can actually help them through their life that it’s better and do things.
“It’s a learning experience for a lot of people. I think we all want to blame people – they were a couple that they knew what they were, how they did things, they worked hard. It’s the reason why myself and brothers and sisters turned out the way we did is the simple reason that they pushed us to be that. We never knew that we didn’t have anything. We didn’t really have anything, but we didn’t know that. They always found a way to make sure we had an education, clothes, everything you had to do.
“They were both really good people, like a lot of other parents out there in the world, and you all need to make sure you don’t take them for granted. I’ve worked too hard in my life, whether it’s my family, or my kids, or my parents, where you don’t spend time. You spend most of your time doing this, so make sure you don’t do it the way I do it.”