New coaching staff impressive in the experience they bring to Storrs.
Don Patterson, who has enjoyed a long and successful college football career as both a head coach and an assistant, in in his second year as Assistant Head Football Coach at UConn and has position responsibilities with the tight ends in 2015. Last season, Patterson worked with the quarterbacks.
He and UConn head coach Bob Diaco have strong ties -- Patterson was a member of the Iowa coaching staff when Diaco played for the Hawkeyes from 1992-95 and then was a graduate assistant coach from 1996-97. While the head coach at Western Illinois, Patterson hired Diaco to his first full-time coaching position in 1999; one year later, Western Illinois won the Gateway Football Conference championship with Patterson and Diaco on the sidelines.
Patterson served as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Buffalo from 2010-13 before coming to UConn. Patterson helped lead Buffalo to an appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this past season as quarterback Joe Licata passed for 2,824 yards and 24 touchdowns. In 2012, both Alex Zordich and Licata posted good numbers as Zordich threw for 1,254 yards and nine touchdowns while Licata passed for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns.
Patterson was the head coach at Western Illinois from 1999-2009 and had a 62-45 career record in 11 seasons before illness forced him to step away from coaching for a year. He led the Leathernecks to three NCAA playoff berths, a pair of Gateway Football Conference titles and a No. 1 national ranking in 2003. In his decade as head coach, Patterson produced 108 all-conference honorees, 34 academic all-conference selections, 59 All-Americans, including two consensus all-Americans, and two academic All-Americans.
Patterson led Western Illinois to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 2000 (first round), 2002 (second round) and 2003 (second round). Western Illinois won Gateway league titles in 2000 and '02.
Patterson came to Western Illinois after a 20-year run on the Iowa staff with legendary coach Hayden Fry from 1979-98. During his tenure at Iowa, the Hawkeyes appeared in 14 bowl games, including three Rose Bowls. The 1985 Iowa team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for five weeks, en route to a school-record 10 wins.
Patterson went to Iowa as a defensive backs coach in 1979, was the recruiting coordinator in 1980, worked with the tight ends from 1981-88, the quarterbacks and wide receivers from 1989-91 and then served as the offensive coordinator from 1992-98.
Under Patterson's guidance, the Iowa offense was explosive, leading the Big Ten in rushing (217.0 yards/game) and scoring (34.3 points/game) while finishing second in pass efficiency in 1997. Iowa finished the 1997 campaign ranked eighth in the nation in rushing offense and ninth in scoring.
Patterson was instrumental in Iowa's success, making the Hawkeyes one of only three Big Ten teams (also Ohio State and Michigan) to play in 14 bowl games during his tenure. Iowa appeared in the Rose Bowl after the 1981, 1985 and 1990 seasons, and made eight consecutive bowl appearances from 1981-88. The success of the Hawkeyes was immediate upon Patterson's arrival with Fry, evidenced by a Rose Bowl berth in their third season (1981), which was Iowa's first Rose Bowl appearance since 1958. Iowa ranked third among Big Ten teams in victories from 1979-98 and was one of three Big Ten teams to win more than 100 games between 1984-98.
Patterson was the last member of Fry's original Hawkeye staff and his association with Fry began in 1978 as an assistant at North Texas State coaching the defensive secondary.
Patterson is a 1973 Army graduate and served on the cadet honor committee and was named to the highest-ranking cadet staff while at the Academy. He and his wife, Lisa, have a daughter, Brooke, who earned her doctorate in pharmacy from Purdue.