Brewer's Patrick Patterson coaches 100th soccer win
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
Patrick Patterson coached in the first soccer game he ever saw in person-and his team won.
It was 1997 and Patterson was the head soccer coach at Austin High School.
He had just begun his first teaching job since graduating from college.
One of the conditions stipulated by Principal Richard Pace was for Patterson to accept the soccer coaching job along with the teaching position.
"When I interviewed for the position, I said I would do it," Patterson said.
"I must have been crazy to agree to it. At the time I didn't even know how many players were on a team and I knew nothing about the rules
"But I had just gotten married and had been praying for a job. I had a wife to support and I was determined to take the first job offered me.
"I didn't know at the time I'd fall in love with the game of soccer, but I did."
Patterson has come a long way in his coaching career since taking the Austin job.
On March 11, when his high school, Brewer, scored four goals in the second half and whipped West Morgan 5-0, it was win No. 100 of his nine-year career.
School officials believe he is the first soccer coach in Morgan County to win 100 games while coaching only one team at a school.
Some area coaches are in charge of both the boys and girls teams at their schools, giving them twice as many chances to pick up wins.
Some schools have a volunteer coach who is not affiliated with the school. Therefore the school doesn't count those wins to the volunteer coach's total.
Patterson wasn't planning on keeping track of his coaching wins until his star player at the time, Andrew LaVasser, told Patterson he had set goals for himself and the coach.
"Andrew told me one day he wanted to score 50 goals before he graduated," Patterson said.
"Then he said he wanted to see me win 50 games before he graduated. It's when I started keeping track of them. I didn't make it to 50 before he finished school. It came two years later."
Patterson spent six years at Austin before coming to Brewer. During his time at the Decatur school, he took the Black Bears to the playoffs three times.
In 2002, he was named Morgan County Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches.
"It was the highlight of my career so far," Patterson said.
"To be recognized by your peers means more to me than others looking in from the outside doing so."
He came to Brewer because it afforded him an opportunity to see his own children at school each day.
"We live close to Somerville and teaching at Brewer would let me teach my own kids someday," Patterson said.
"Kyle (five years old) and Olivia (two) will attend Brewer. I would never have had a chance to coach or teach my kids if I stayed at Austin."
In his first season in Florette, Patterson won as many games as the school had won since the boys' program began.
"Brewer had won only 14 games since they started the sport," Patterson said.
"We won 14 games and lost 11 in 2003. I'm really proud of having turned the mindset around of the players.
"From day one our goal was to have a winning season. They began to believe we could win and it's just what happened."
In 2004, the Patriots went 12-10 and have started the 2005 season with a 4-2-1 record.
At Austin, Patterson compiled a 70-51-8 record in six seasons. His postseason record stands at 1-2, with all three playoff game appearances coming with the Black Bears.
Patterson's career mark now stands at 100-74-9.
The coach felt his team didn't play their best on the historic day. He said the milestone might have affected his players' nerves.
"We didn't play very well," Patterson pointed out. "The players were upset afterwards because they felt they could have played a lot."
Patterson hasn't set a new goal to chase, but he thinks he may be on the sidelines for years to come.
"I just love soccer. I don't know how long I'll coach, but hopefully as long as I teach I can coach. I don't have a number of wins in mind to reach for.
"I want to win as many as I can. I just hope we don't stop at 100," Patterson said with a laugh.