JONESBORO (1/4/12) – Arkansas State head football coach Gus Malzahn announced Wednesday that Keith Patterson, who is currently serving as Pittsburgh's interim head coach, has been named the Red Wolves' defensive coordinator.
Patterson was in his first season as Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach this year prior to taking over as the Panthers interim head coach on Dec. 14.
Patterson will lead Pitt against SMU in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7 and will assume his duties as ASU's defensive coordinator after his responsibilities with the Panthers have been fulfilled.
"I am excited to bring Coach Patterson on board and we welcome him to our Arkansas State family," said Malzahn. "We are getting one of the nation's top tier defensive coordinators and one of the top defensive minds in college football."
The addition of Patterson gives ASU two coaches on its 2012 staff that are serving as interim head coaches for a bowl game this season. Current ASU interim head coach David Gunn will lead the Red Wolves into their GoDaddy.com Bowl game on Jan. 8. Additionally, Malzahn helped lead Auburn to a 43-24 victory over Virginia in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 as the Tigers' offensive coordinator.
Under his direction, the Panther's defense allow just 354.83 yards per game to rank 40th nationally in 2011. Pitt also ended the regular-season ranked No. 34 in scoring defense (22.4 ppg) and No. 23 in rushing defense (121.6 ypg). In his only season at Pitt, the Panther-led defense placed five players on the All-Big East Team.
Prior to Pitt, Patterson spent eight seasons at Tulsa, where he coached with Malzahn during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In addition to coaching linebackers, he served as defensive coordinator his final five seasons at Tulsa.
Patterson was a part of six Tulsa bowl teams, including the 2010 squad that defeated Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Facing the nation's top passing offense in Hawaii, Tulsa's defense forced five interceptions and six total turnovers en route to a victory over the No. 24-ranked Rainbows.
The win was the Golden Hurricane's 36th over a four-year span and marked the program's third consecutive bowl triumph. That same season, he helped mold a defense that led the country in interceptions (24) and ranked third in turnovers gained (36).
Patterson coached 10 players who earned All-Conference USA honors while at Tulsa, tutoring some of the most productive and accomplished defenders in the school's history.
Patterson joined Tulsa after building an impressive resume as a high school coach in Oklahoma and Texas. As head coach at Ardmore (Okla.) High, he led his team to the 1999 District 5A-1 championship and was named district coach of the year. He also worked under Todd Graham at Allen High in Texas, building that program into a perennial power.
Patterson earned his bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation from East Central (Okla.) University in 1986. He was a four-year letterman at defensive back for ECU and later served his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach. Patterson earned his master's degree in kinesiology and sport studies in 2003 from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Patterson's wife's name is Melissa. He has two daughters, Fallon and Erin; a stepdaughter, Bretlie; and a stepson, Kelby.