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Hoosiers fill out staff with Patton

Indeed, as we told you earlier this morning, James Patton has been hired to fill Indiana's final assistant coaching vacancy. Some pertinent details:

* Though his background is primarily in offensive line work, Patton will serve as Indiana's assistant defensive line coach. His most important role, though, will be working as the Hoosiers' special teams coordinator, a position he will fill by himself.

* Jon Fabris and Mark Hagen split special teams duties last season, and Hagen did the same with Brett Diersen the year before. This staff reshuffling will see Patton take over special teams duties by himself, so he's Kevin Wilson's first full-out solo special teams coordinator. He will also serve as Indiana's recruiting coordinator.

* Fabris will take over as coach of the entire defensive line, a position he filled to considerable effect for nine years at Georgia, coaching the likes of David Pollack and Quentin Moses, among several others.

Hope to speak with coach Patton at some point in the near future. Here's the full release from IU Athletics ...


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Monday that James Patton will join the Hoosiers coaching staff as recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator and assistant defensive line coach.

Patton has 14 years of experience in the Midwest, spending seven as a player and coach at Miami (Ohio) University and seven as an assistant coach at Northwestern University. He has coached the offensive line at the University of Oklahomasince 2006.

“I have a lot of trust and confidence in James Patton,” Wilson said. “I coached him and worked with him as a graduate assistant and an assistant coach. James was one of the toughest players that I’ve ever coached, and he is an enthusiastic, hard-working football coach. He has been in the big time arena, is a Midwest guy and brings some balance to our staff. We welcome James, his wife, Nichole, and their children to the Hoosier family.”

Jon Fabris, who served as defensive ends coach and oversaw punt return and block in 2011, will assume the responsibility of defensive line coach with no special teams duties.

“We are excited about Jon Fabris coaching the front four,” Wilson said. “It gives us the consistency of one voice in the meeting room and on the field. Our players won’t have to shuffle back and forth between coaches, and James will be a great complement to Jon.”

Patton has coached in 10 bowl games and on six conference championship teams. He spent six years with Wilson at Miami (1990-94, 98), three at Northwestern (1999-2001) and five at Oklahoma (2006-10) and is eager for the chance to reunite with him.

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to come to Indiana and coach with Kevin Wilson once again,” Patton said. “We had a great run at Oklahoma, but it is great to get back in the Big Ten. I know Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler very well and respect them both, and I look forward to working with Jon Fabris and Brandon Shelby. I will bring energy and enthusiasm to help take our defense to greater heights. I am also looking forward to overseeing special teams and recruiting. I am very familiar with the league and the region and will continue to build off of the positive momentum Kevin and his staff have created. It is an exciting time to join the Hoosiers.”

Patton also coached with Hoosiers assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns at Northwestern (1999-2001, 2004-05) and played with IU running backs coach Deland McCullough (1992).

At Oklahoma, four of Patton’s linemen earned All-America honors and played in the National Football League, including Trent Williams (Washington Redskins), Phil Loadholt (Minnesota Vikings), Duke Robinson (Carolina Panthers) and Jon Cooper (Minnesota). Robinson was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Cooper earned Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.

Gabe Ikard earned first team All-Big 12 accolades for a second straight year in 2012. The Sooners finished the season fifth in the nation in passing offense and 12th in total offense.

His 2011 offensive line gave up just nine sacks, while OU ranked fourth nationally in total offense and passing. In 2010, Oklahoma ranked No. 4 in passing offense, No. 13 in total offense and No. 17 in scoring offense nationally.

The 2008 line anchored an offense that produced 7,670 yards, 99 touchdowns, two 1,000-yard rushers and one 1,000-yard receiver. It featured three All-Big 12 first teamers and protected Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, giving up only 13 sacks.

Patton’s 2007 o-line ranked fifth nationally with an average of 1.0 sacks per game allowed. The line broke the school record of 1.21 per game set the previousseason.

Patton coached the offensive line at Northwestern from 2001-05 after he oversaw tight ends and H-backs in 1999 and 2000 for head coach Randy Walker. From 2002-05, NU had at least one 1,200-yard rusher and one of the nation’s top 30 rushers each year. Every Wildcat senior offensive lineman he coached made it to the NFL.

Northwestern’s 2005 offense was No. 4 nationally in total yards and No. 7 in passing. The offensive line gave up just 11 sacks in 512 passing attempts.

The 2000 Wildcats shared the Big Ten championship, advanced to the Alamo Bowl and finished No. 3 nationally in total offense.

Patton coached tight ends and H-backs at Miami (Ohio) in 1998, when the RedHawks posted a 10-1 record.

Before returning to Miami, Patton spent three seasons at the University of Rhode Island under Floyd Keith, who was an assistant coach for Indiana’s all-time winningest coach Bill Mallory from 1984-92. He worked with the offensive line in 1996 and 1997, and tight ends in 1995.

Patton earned four letters as a tight end at Miami and had 45 career receptions for 504 yards and one score. He was named a captain his senior season and earned first team All-Mid-American Conference honors.

A Lafayette, Ohio, native, Patton earned his bachelor’s degree in 1993 and his master’s in 1995. He served as a graduate assistant in 1993 and 1994.

Nichole, was an all-state volleyball player at Fort Wayne’s Homestead High School and went on to play at Miami. They have one son, Brayden (15), and three daughters, Katie (11), Madie (8) and Abbie (4).

  • Here's a statement from the Oklahoma side of things ("University of Indiana" reference not withstanding):

    "Coach Stoops' Statement on James Patton - 11:04 a.m.

    University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops confirmed Monday that assistant coach James Patton has accepted a position on Kevin Wilson's staff at the University of Indiana.

    "We appreciate the contributions that James made to our program over the past seven seasons," Stoops said. "He was a valued member of a staff that helped us win five Big 12 championships. We wish James and his family the best in this opportunity with Kevin Wilson at Indiana."

    "Our family has enjoyed a tremendous experience at the University of Oklahoma," Patton said. "It has truly been a pleasure to work with Joe Castiglione, Coach Stoops and the entire football staff, as well as the many talented student-athletes that I was privileged to coach at OU. I'm excited about this new challenge at Indiana, and am extremely grateful for being afforded a chance to work with Oklahoma Football the past seven years."

    Patton joined the Oklahoma staff in 2006 from Northwestern University where he spent seven seasons prior to his arrival in Norman."

    Zach Osterman // IU Athletics beat reporter // Follow me on Twitter at

  • More on Patton, from James Hale at our Oklahoma site:

    One of the finest men that I know. His players love him as well as the coaches that work with him. A family man who is a tireless worker, who will get to the office at 6:00 AM and be one of the last coaches to leave.

    A good fundamental football coach that gets the most out of his players. Handles his players tough, but they learn to play hard for him.

    Did his best job as a coach a year ago when OU lost three starters and one key back-up, three for the entire season and one for the final third. He has a fifth linemen that battled a lower back injury on the year, but somehow helped OU offensive tackle Coach, Bruce Kittie keep the line together.

    OU has been a very good pass blocking offensive line over the last several years and Coach Patton does a good job teaching that aspect of the position.

    Zach Osterman // IU Athletics beat reporter // Follow me on Twitter at

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