As the national Signing Day springs upon us and we eagerly anticipate to see which new recruits our favorite college program gets to bring onboard, the business of building a coaching staff doesn’t always have the same glamor and flash that new recruits do. However, a successful football program begins from the coaching staff down and the keys to success – or failure – lie in who a head coach brings into the office with them.
For Steve Sarkisian, the offseason recruiting trail has been fruitful and in a sense the recruitment for assistant coaches has been equally rewarding. The newest and most widely known recent addition to the Longhorn coaching staff has been Gary Patterson, the long tenured and widely successful former head coach at Big 12 rival TCU. The move from Fort Worth to Austin isn’t that far distance-wise but Coach Patterson’s arrival and contract with Texas may be a boon to the UT program, even if he doesn’t stay that long. Gary Patterson finds himself in a new but not necessarily unusual role as the “Special Assistant to the Head Coach.” What that title really means is that Patterson is essentially a paid consultant and as such cannot have direct contact with athletes per NCAA rules. What Patterson can do of course is share his decades of coaching knowledge and his defensive mind with the Sarkisian staff.
Will Patterson stay around for awhile in Austin? That’s the million dollar question and more than likely this stop is exactly that – a stop until the next big job opens up. However, if current Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski doesn’t pan out this coming season, Patterson may be able to step in and become the next Longhorn DC. I think that Gary Patterson misses being around a program -any program – and will be an asset to Texas football even if he’s only around for a short spell.
Next up on the new Texas coaching roster is Tashard Choice who will be the next running backs coach. Choice played seven years in the NFL and worked with the Dallas Cowboys as a coaching intern. Choice then enrolled in graduate school at North Texas and later became the Mean Green RB coach. Choice has spent the last few years trying to build up the Georgia Tech backfield and was heading to join Lincoln Riley’s new staff at USC when Stan Drayton left Texas to become the new Temple head coach. In a quick reversal that lasted about a week, Choice returned to the Lone Star State and was hired by Steve Sarkisian.
The third big assistant coaching addition to the Longhorn staff this offseason has been the hiring of wide receivers coach Brennan Marion from Pitt. Marion has moved around the football world from being on the Miami Dolphins practice squad to Division III and high school coaching to position coaching spots at Arizona State and Hawaii. The former University of Tulsa wideout left his mark at Pitt as the Panthers led the ACC in passing yards this past season, no doubt in part due to having Kenny Pickett’s throwing prowess as the PItt quarterback. Brennan Marion has already had a positive impact on the UT football program by recruiting top WR transfer Isaiah Neyor to come from Wyoming to join the Burnt Orange Nation.