NORMAN, Okla. -- James Patton, the offensive line coach at Northwestern for the last five years, has been named to the same position at the University of Oklahoma. OU head coach Bob Stoops made that announcement Monday.
Stoops announced other moves on the Sooner staff, as well. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, the offensive line coach for the last four years, will now coach tight ends and fullbacks. Kevin Sumlin, the tight ends coach for the last three seasons, will now coach the receivers and add the titles of co-offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator.
The changes came after Darrell Wyatt, who had been Oklahoma’s receivers coach and passing game coordinator, accepted a position with the Minnesota Vikings.
“James did a great job at Northwestern and we’re excited to have him join our staff at Oklahoma,” Stoops said. “He fits our style of coaching and has the background and track record that we like. And the consistently strong offensive units Northwestern has produced are impressive. His relationship with Kevin Wilson and his knowledge of our style of offense also made him attractive to us.”
Patton’s addition allowed Stoops to make other changes he desired on the staff.
“I wanted to free up Kevin Wilson a little bit,” Stoops said. “The offensive line is a consuming job with 12 to 15 players and a lot of different assignments. Now he’ll coach a smaller group, but also be right in the center of our offense and able to work centrally with both the running and passing aspects of the offense.
“Kevin Sumlin has experienced a lot of success in some very good passing offenses here, at Texas A&M, Purdue, Minnesota and Wyoming,” Stoops said. “That move was a natural. He will do a great job with our receivers and in contributing to the leadership of our offense.”
Ironically, it was Patton who replaced Wilson as Northwestern’s offensive line coach when Wilson left the Wildcat program to join the OU staff at the end of the 2001 season. He also played at Miami when Wilson was an assistant there and was a graduate assistant under Wilson at the same school.
“Kevin was an outstanding mentor to me,” Patton said. “It’s great that we have a chance to hook up again. We have a very good working relationship. When he says something, I know how he wants it done.”
Patton said OU’s tradition and potential were strong lures in making the move.
“This is an opportunity to be part of a national championship program,” Patton said. “That’s also a great challenge, but it’s one I look forward to. Coach Stoops is a very well-respected coach and I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to work for under him.”
Prior to his stint with the offensive line, Patton spent two years as the tight ends and H-backs coach at Northwestern.
Northwestern finished 7-5 last season. The Wildcats ranked No. 4 nationally in total offense (500.3), No. 7 in passing offense (306.8), No. 16 in turnover margin (+.75), No. 26 in rushing offense (193.4) and No. 28 in scoring offense (33.9).
QB Brett Basanez ranked No. 3 in the nation in total offense with 337.1 yards per game, while running back Tyrell Sutton ranked No. 8 with 122.8 rushing yards per game. Sutton was also No. 16 in scoring with 9.0 points per game. WR Shaun Herbert was No. 20 in receptions per game at 6.6.
The Wildcats gave up just 11 sacks on the season and offensive lineman Zach Strief was a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America.
Following his first season at Northwestern, Wildcat tight end Jay Tant was picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2000 NFL draft. Two members of his 2001 offensive line, Leon Brockmeier and Mike Souza, were invited to play in one of the five postseason all-star games.
In 2002-03, Austin King and Jeff Roehl, participated in postseason all-star games. King and Roehl are now playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants, respectively.
NU's three senior linemen from 2004 -- Trai Essex, Ikechuku Ndukwe and Matt Ulrich all were on NFL rosters in 2005 with Essex picking up a Super Bowl ring with Pittsburgh.
In 1998, Patton coached the tight ends and H-backs at his alma mater, Miami University, another stop at which he coached with Wilson.
Patton, 34, earned four letters at Miami as a tight end. He tallied 45 catches for 504 yards and one touchdown during his four-year career, including 16 catches for 166 yards his senior season. He was named a captain his senior year, and earned first-team All-Mid-American Conference honors.
After working as a graduate assistant for two seasons at Miami, Patton joined the Rhode Island staff in 1995.
He was the Rams' tight end and tackles coach and served as the squad's assistant strength and conditioning coach during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He then served as the team's offensive line coach for the 1997 campaign. Patton earned a bachelor's degree in health and sports studies in 1993 and a master's in sports psychology from Miami.
Patton, a native of Lafayette, Ohio, and his wife, Nichole, have a son, Brayden, and two daughters, Katelynne and Maddie.