Instant Impact: Patterson shines in debut season

McALLEN — McAllen Memorial head coach Moses Patterson grew up around football, with his father, Walter Patterson, serving as an offensive coordinator at different schools across the Valley, including Mission, PSJA North, Edinburg North, La Joya and PSJA Memorial.

After following his father around the fieldhouse and sporting events, Patterson dreamt of being a football coach when he grew up.

This past summer, Patterson’s first head coaching chance presented itself following the resignation of longtime McAllen Memorial head coach Bill Littleton, being named interim head coach after serving as the team’s defensive coordinator for the previous eight seasons.

Patterson seized the moment during his first year at the helm, leading the Mustangs to a 9-1 regular season record, including a 9-0 mark during district play to earn the District 16-5A DI title.

As a result, Patterson has been named The Monitor’s 2021 All-Area Football Coach of the Year.

“First of all, this has always been my dream,” Patterson said. “I knew I wanted to be a coach early on. My father was a coach. I was always running around the fieldhouse and all that stuff. I knew where I wanted to be. This is just a dream come true. I want to thank McAllen ISD for giving me the opportunity to be where I’m at today. More importantly, just thankful for the kids and the community of McAllen Memorial and administration for allowing me to come in here and really hit everything rolling.”

While watching his father coach and through his own 20 years as an assistant coach, Patterson has picked up different coaching lessons along the way. None, however, bigger than the way they interacted with the players, community and administration, Patterson said.

“Fortunately, for myself, I’ve had a lot of father figures,” he said. “I think just seeing how they interact with people, love on kids. Just the rapport they have with parents, administration and kids in general. It’s about getting them to buy in to whatever it is you’re selling, whether it’s your concept or program or team. That’s been the biggest takeaway I’ve gotten.

“I think that’s a big component of why we had the season we had. But I think the bigger part to that is the coaching staff, myself included, really believed in the kids. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here for those kids. First and foremost, we believe in those kids and what they can do and accomplish. Just getting them to believe in that as well was a big step in having the season that we had.

Patterson’s rapport with his team and the community of McAllen Memorial was evident almost immediately, with his players and staff rallying around their newly appointed leader.

“The mood was good when he took over as head coach. We knew we weren’t going to change that much aside from maybe passing a little more,” McAllen Memorial left tackle Thomas Domian said. “When he won (coach of the year), we were all extremely happy for him. It was his first year. He took us three rounds deep. We knew that he deserved it.”

During the postseason, Patterson helped the Mustangs advance to the third round of the Class 5A playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Patterson’s successful debut campaign turned the heads of his colleagues, being voted District 16-5A DI’s coach of the year.

On December 1, McAllen Memorial ripped the interim tag off Patterson’s title, officially naming him the school’s athletic coordinator and head coach.

With his first season under his belt, Patterson is ready to get back in the lab and prepare for next year’s campaign. His primary focus is getting kids who stopped playing football amidst the COVID-19 pandemic back on the field.

“We’re still trying to get kids back,” Patterson said. “We still have a group that is out there that got lost along the way that we’re trying to find. We’re looking to hammer that message home, get them back out here and get back to normal.”

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