Patrick returns to USF staff as assistant
Kevin Patrick, an All-American defensive end at Miami in the early '90s and the defensive ends coach at USF during the Bulls' first season in 1997, will return to Jim Leavitt's staff as an assistant coach on the defensive line.
"Kevin is a tremendous coach, a tremendous recruiter," Leavitt said Wednesday night on Miami radio station WQAM. "He'll do a great job, and he's very excited about coming. That part of the state of Florida (in the Miami area) will be excited about that."
Patrick, 36, has been out of coaching and in private business in the Palm Beach area since 1998, but he brings two key assets to the staff: playing the position at a high level and working well with Leavitt. He'll be working with USF's first consensus All-American, rising junior George Selvie, who led the nation in tackles for loss in 2007, and will recruit the Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach areas, the same as Dan McCarney, who left the Bulls this week to become defensive line coach at Florida.
Patrick interviewed with Leavitt on Monday and accepted his offer to rejoin the Bulls. It's the third time in the past year that Leavitt has turned to a member of his original USF team for an assistant coach, following receivers coach Mike Canales, who was USF's first offensive coordinator, and tight ends coach Larry Scott, an offensive lineman on the first USF teams.
Leavitt also considered former Auburn defensive lineman Jimmy Brumbaugh, who was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for LSU's national championship squad this past season. Brumbaugh, who worked closely with former USF assistant Earl Lane with the Tigers, needed a decision from USF before the Bulls were ready to choose a coach. He took a job Tuesday as defensive line coach at Louisiana Tech.
Leavitt has been coaching long enough that his former players, both at USF and at Kansas State, are now becoming viable candidates to join his staff. Mike Ekeler, who played linebacker under Leavitt at Kansas State and has worked as a defensive graduate assistant at Oklahoma and LSU, accepted a job in December as Bo Pelini's linebackers coach at Nebraska.
"A year ago, I would have been beating down his door to coach for him," said Ekeler, a Nebraska native who was considered for USF's defensive line job last spring, which ultimately went to McCarney. "Coach Leavitt taught me a ton about the game of football, and I hold him in very high regard. He's one of the big reasons I got into coaching."
Leavitt still has one opening on his staff, from cornerbacks coach Rich Rachel moving to a non-coaching position as director of high school relations. Leavitt said he hasn't made a decision on how he'll use the position but could give safeties coach Troy Douglas control of the entire defensive secondary, allowing him to use the final position to hire a defensive tackles coach to work alongside Patrick.
Patrick will be USF's fourth defensive line coach in as many seasons, after Lane (LSU), Bernard Clark (Florida International) and McCarney (Florida) left for jobs at other schools.