Sooners hire Northwestern assistant

Northwestern offensive line coach James Patton will fill the coaching vacancy left by Darrell Wyatt.

Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops announced Monday that Northwestern assistant coach James Patton will fill the vacancy left by receivers coach Darrell Wyatt.

Patton, who served as the offensive line coach for the Wildcats the past five seasons, will also coach the linemen at OU. Former Sooner offensive line coach Kevin Wilson will take over as OU's tight end and fullbacks coach, as well as the offensive coordinator position. Kevin Sumlin, who coached the fullbacks and tight ends last season, will replace Wyatt as the receivers coach.

"James did a great job at Northwestern and we're excited to have him join our staff at Oklahoma," Stoops said in a statement released Monday on "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 Wilson and his knowledge of our style of offense also made him attractive to us."

Stoops said the hiring of Patton to take over as the offensive line coach will give Wilson more time focus on his coordinating duties.

"I wanted to free up Kevin Wilson a little bit," Stoops said in a statement released Monday on "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."

Patton became the Wildcats's offensive line coach when he left for Oklahoma in 2001, when Wilson left for Oklahoma. Prior to that, Patton spent two seasons as Northwestern's tight ends and h-backs coach.

Northwestern's offense was No. 4 last season nationally in total offense.

Official release on Patton's hiring

Patton's 2005 Northwestern Bio


James Patton is in his seventh season at Northwestern, and his fifth as the offensive line coach. He spent his first two years with the Wildcats in charge of the tight ends and H-Backs.

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 -- are expected to pursue a professional playing career. Ulrich participated in the 2005 Villages Gridiron Classic. In 2004, Northwestern's offense ranked 29th nationally in total offense with tackle Zach Strief receiving second-team All-Big Ten recognition.

In 1998, Patton coached the tight ends and H-backs at his alma mater, Miami University. 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.

James and his wife, Nichole, have a son, Brayden, and two daughters, Katelynne and Maddie, and they reside in Skokie.

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