There is an old saying that the only constant thing in this world is change and this certainly rings true for the Abilene Christian University football program heading into the 2022 season. From the hiring of new head coach Keith Patterson via Texas Tech to the creation of a new staff, Wildcat football will have a whole new look coming spring football drills.
One of Keith Patterson’s key coach hires came in the form of bringing offensive coordinator Stephen Lee over from Mary Hardin-Baylor to ACU. During his tenure with UMHB, the Crusaders were one of the most dominant programs in Division III including a perfect 15-0 season and their second national championship in the last four years. Prior to his stop with the Crusaders, Lee also served as the OC at West Texas A&M for five years and his passing unit set a Division II record for passing yards at 5,544 and passing TD’s with 57. In addition, West Texas A&M was a dominant force in the Lone Star Conference. Coach Lee has a strong pedigree from the high school level up through college football and should provide some offensive fireworks to the Wildcat repertoire this coming season.
Joining Coach Lee on the offensive side of the ball is Matt Clark. Clark with serve as the tight ends coach and the Special Teams Coordinator as well. Clark spent the last season at Texas Tech with Keith Patterson and previously was the offensive coordinator at New Mexico Highlands University. While coaching at NMHU, their offense averaged over 400 yards per game. Clark also spent time with coaching the offensive line at JUCO powerhouse Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and helped the Blue Dragons garner over 200 rushing yards per game. Matt Clark also has spent time working at the Manning Passing Academy as well and brings that knowledge and experience with him to join the Patterson Era at ACU.
On the defensive side of the ball, Keith Patterson went to familiar faces when bringing in other coaches to fill out his staff. Shannon Carter has been hired to coach inside linebackers and has a personal history with Coach Patterson as Carter was a player for Patterson at the University of Tulsa back from 2003 to 2007. In fact, Patterson offered a scholarship to Carter in his first year of college coaching and now Carter will be embarking on his first year in college coaching with the Wildcats and the same Coach Patterson. Carter will be joined by Conor Dubin as the new outside linebacker’s coach. Dubin has a coaching history of following Keith Patterson from Arizona State, Utah State most recently Texas Tech. While at Utah State, Conor Dubin saw the Aggies defense transformed into one of the most aggressive units in the nation, causing 32 forced turnovers and 22 INT’s on the way to an 11-2 record. Keith Patterson is installing the tools necessary for success in the WAC, and it will be fun to watch and see how Abilene Christian continues to improve from their 5-6 record last season.