IU hires Oklahoma’s Patton as assistant D-line coach

Indiana has hired Oklahoma offensive line coach James Patton as its new recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator and assistant defensive line coach, filling the spot left open by Mark Hagen. The IU release follows.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana head football coach Kevin Wilson announced Monday that JamesPatton will join the Hoosiers coaching staff as recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator and assistant defensive line coach.


Patton has 14 years of experience in the Midwest, spending seven as a player and coach at Miami (Ohio) University and seven as an assistant coach at Northwestern University. He has coached the offensive line at the University of Oklahomasince 2006.


“I have a lot of trust and confidence in James Patton,” Wilson said. “I coached him and worked with him as a graduate assistant and an assistant coach. James was one of the toughest players that I’ve ever coached, and he is an enthusiastic, hard-working football coach. He has been in the big time arena, is a Midwest guy and brings some balance to our staff. We welcome James, his wife, Nichole, and their children to the Hoosier family.” 


Jon Fabris, who served as defensive ends coach and oversaw punt return and block in 2011, will assume the responsibility of defensive line coach with no special teams duties.


“We are excited about Jon Fabris coaching the front four,” Wilson said. “It gives us the consistency of one voice in the meeting room and on the field. Our players won’t have to shuffle back and forth between coaches, and James will be a great complement to Jon.”


Patton has coached in 10 bowl games and on six conference championship teams. He spent six years with Wilson at Miami (1990-94, 98), three at Northwestern (1999-2001) and five at Oklahoma (2006-10) and is eager for the chance to reunite with him.


“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to come to Indiana and coach with Kevin Wilson once again,” Patton said. “We had a great run at Oklahoma, but it is great to get back in the Big Ten. I know Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler very well and respect them both, and I look forward to working with Jon Fabris and Brandon Shelby. I will bring energy and enthusiasm to help take our defense to greater heights. I am also looking forward to overseeing special teams and recruiting. I am very familiar with the league and the region and will continue to build off of the positive momentum Kevin and his staff have created. It is an exciting time to join the Hoosiers.”


Patton also coached with Hoosiers assistant offensive coordinator Kevin Johns at Northwestern (1999-2001, 2004-05) and played with IU running backs coach Deland McCullough (1992).


At Oklahoma, four of Patton’s linemen earned All-America honors and played in the National Football League, including Trent Williams (Washington Redskins), Phil Loadholt (Minnesota Vikings), Duke Robinson (Carolina Panthers) and Jon Cooper (Minnesota). Robinson was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Cooper earned Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors.


Gabe Ikard earned first team All-Big 12 accolades for a second straight year in 2012. The Sooners finished the season fifth in the nation in passing offense and 12th in total offense.


His 2011 offensive line gave up just nine sacks, while OU ranked fourth nationally in total offense and passing. In 2010, Oklahoma ranked No. 4 in passing offense, No. 13 in total offense and No. 17 in scoring offense nationally.


The 2008 line anchored an offense that produced 7,670 yards, 99 touchdowns, two 1,000-yard rushers and one 1,000-yard receiver. It featured three All-Big 12 first teamers and protected Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, giving up only 13 sacks. 


Patton’s 2007 o-line ranked fifth nationally with an average of 1.0 sacks per game allowed. The line broke the school record of 1.21 per game set the previousseason.


Patton coached the offensive line at Northwestern from 2001-05 after he oversaw tight ends and H-backs in 1999 and 2000 for head coach Randy Walker. From 2002-05, NU had at least one 1,200-yard rusher and one of the nation’s top 30 rushers each year. Every Wildcat senior offensive lineman he coached made it to the NFL.


Northwestern’s 2005 offense was No. 4 nationally in total yards and No. 7 in passing. The offensive line gave up just 11 sacks in 512 passing attempts.


The 2000 Wildcats shared the Big Ten championship, advanced to the Alamo Bowl and finished No. 3 nationally in total offense.


Patton coached tight ends and H-backs at Miami (Ohio) in 1998, when the RedHawks posted a 10-1 record.


Before returning to Miami, Patton spent three seasons at the University of Rhode Island under Floyd Keith, who was an assistant coach for Indiana’s all-time winningest coach Bill Mallory from 1984-92. He worked with the offensive line in 1996 and 1997, and tight ends in 1995.


Patton earned four letters as a tight end at Miami and had 45 career receptions for 504 yards and one score. He was named a captain his senior season and earned first team All-Mid-American Conference honors.


A Lafayette, Ohio, native, Patton earned his bachelor’s degree in 1993 and his master’s in 1995. He served as a graduate assistant in 1993 and 1994.


Nichole, was an all-state volleyball player at Fort Wayne’s Homestead High School and went on to play at Miami. They have one son, Brayden (15), and three daughters, Katie (11), Madie (8) and Abbie (4).

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  • Podunker says:

    Looks like a good replacement for Hagen. And this guy seems genuinely excited to be joining IU’s staff. Given the success of the places where he has coached before, he has credibility coming in.

  • wolfer says:

    The football situation just keeps getting better and better all the time. When is the spring game? Never thought I’d be so excited about IU football concurrently with IU basketball doing so well. Kudos to Coach Wilson and staff.

    How many of our recently signed kids will be enrolling early or will be eligible for Spring Ball?

  • Podunker says:

    wolfer, I think three JC transfers enrolled for the spring semester and will be ready for the spring practice. I could be wrong, but given that signing day was Feb 6, a couple weeks into the semester, I think that’s all we got in early.

  • Actually, it’s two of the three JUCO kids who are enrolled early and one high schooler. The third JUCO player (Chris Cormier) was a late signee and wouldn’t be able to enroll. T.J. Simmons, linebacker from Florida, also enrolled early along with LB Steven Funderburke and DT Jordan Heiderman.

  • Punjab says:

    Just curious how everybody feels about the correlation between the IU football and b-ball programs. Hoosier football hasn’t been consistently relevant since the Mallory years in the early nineties. Coincidentally, that was the last time we were considered perennial national title contenders on the court.

    Football seems to be on the rise again, just after our basketball team returned to national prominence. Is this just anecdotal stuff? Is Wilson the real deal? Is he just riding the wave of enthusiasm over Indiana athletics? Am I connecting dots that aren’t really there, or is there a true connection here? I’m curious to hear everybody’ thoughts.

  • Hoosier Clarion says:

    I have way to much respect for Coach Wilson to raise red flags or pitch a bitch about choosing James Patton. It is curious that Patton has coached since 1995 but has never coached a defensive position(OL mostly)nor coached special teams nor been a recruiting coordinator. Now I admire thinking out side the box, any and all cross training when possible and hiring the best man available, so is there more here than meets the eye? He is going to be an assistant DL coach working under Fabris. No doubt he will be learning at square 1 from a good teacher. But it makes me wonder if there is not some marching in place planned in preparation for Coach Frey’s departure sometime out in the future.

  • HoosierFan12 says:

    I was thinking the same thing Clarion; Wilson knows James Patton pretty well and probably knows what he brings to the table in terms of familiarity with other members of the coaching staff and recruiting in the midwest and also the oklahoma area. And just like you said, I think Coach Wilson could have made this move in preparation for another position coach leaving sometime in the future. You point out Frey, but in my opinion it’s coach Fabris since that’s exactly who he’ll be working under. Either way, I’m excited for the season to start! P.S. did anyone see some article floating around where they rank Memorial Stadium as the 14th best venue for college football?? I mean it was ranked ahead of most other big ten venues, including Ohio State and PU! Anyways, I think all the investment in the football program over the last 5 years or so is starting to pay off.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    I’m one of those who have seen a big, BIG return frm the hiring og Coach Frey; and it is also the length, success and varied experience of his career that have brought him to the point where he makes a very unique and important contribution to the Hoosier program. Both he and Frey are indeed ‘luxury’ coaches of the type that it makes both high school coaches take note as the note Frey and Fabris as mentors and models.

    And, of ccourse, if we’ve seen anything in this last year it is how much this has been noted by recruits who continually commented on the “quality” of the staff and the knowledge of the coaches that make up Coach Wilson’s staff.

    Thus, while we say we are pleased and proud about the coaches surrounding or brought into Wilson’s staff, we still continue to proceed the reasons behind his selection. Forgive me, but it makes no sense and follows no logic.

    For me, it seems much more productive to watch, silently and let the man do what a CEO does; pick people according to the fit in his vision and the ‘needed blend and mix in his staff’. It said a lot to me that CKW went with a name who had began and developed his career under him. It is apparent thhat CKW is extremely pleased with his choice and how it may fit what the need is now. Perhaps it has changed a bit after leading the program through an initial stage where locals contacts were paramount. In other words, I don’t know the reasons…but I have trusted CKW’s judgment and continue to do so in a silent and quiet support, thus minimizing the possibility that I may say something that sticks my royal foot in it and mucks up achieving a goal we all badly long for.

    Coach Wilson, dop what you think is best. It is your team!

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Now that would be a good story…inteviewing Coach Wilson to learn how he puts a mid to long range strategy together and how he goes about selecting coaches to serve functions within his designed structure. Particularly now that the size and roles of staffs have been thrown open by the new NCAA rules regarding staffing. Does it change the formulas? DOes it separate ‘recruitment’ from ‘coaching’; how…can we afford it as per our current budget or is there an inherent advantage to the ‘now rich’ (OSU, Michigan)? Can we do anything to close the gap? Will it continue the OSU, Wisconsin and Michigan and everybody else that most of the media seems to follow? How does CKW see the process of evolution for the Hoosiers mid-range and long range? How does CKW- indeed AD Glass- define ‘competitive’ for the Hoosier football program?

    Wow…wouldn’t delving into these questions be nice just as we go into the grind of Spring football and the diversions of following fourth grade grade school basketball recruitment stories(sorry if there’s a bit of sarcasm in this but the regularity of a 4-6 month absence of football except on commitment day makes me a bit delirious. I apologize and will drink my quinine water while I await the answer).

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Sorry…my very bad for thinking too many thoughts together about the hiring and forming of the Wilson staff. I meant to say Coach Fabris and Frey. Fabris has become a real favorite of mine. Seems as if he is one of those old timers who give truth to every trite statement ever written about wisom, experience and longevity. Hope all of them- Fabris and Wilson in particular- are here until we give them rocking chairs and park them at the main door to the Memorial Stadium Office Building.

  • Ron says:

    Punjab. Think you are correct with connecting the dots.

    I’ll use my nephew as example. Freshman in High School, 6’3, good build and is a football nut. High School coach last yr met with him, recommended he join the Y, gave him instructions on which type of equipment to work with, gave him name of a dietician and athletic trainer to consult and invited him to watch the team practice. Kid has always wanted to be a Texas Longhorn. Took him to a couple of IU BB games last year. Now he wants to play for IU. He thinks he could help IU football turn around just like IU basketball. Sitting out this year due to knee problems.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    How can IU football ever be put on the backburner? It’s never even been near the stovetop. Hell, for thirty years it’s been piled up somewhere with the rarely used pizza pans in the bottom warming tray. If Dustin farts a football story in June it’s more than the university has ever cared to get it up under a flame. Dustin does more for football than any other site in town covering Hoosier sports. Even during the late summer, fall, and height of football season, ITH blows away Scoop in the number of posters comparatively visiting the sites. Does ITH cover football?

    Send all the sarcasm you choose toward Dustin, the only reason football has been permanently boarded up is the lifeblood from the storied basketball program. Saying “It’s Indiana” has quite the contrasting connotation when talking gridiron instead of hoops.

    Don’t blame Dustin for 30 years of neglect. Don’t blame Dustin for the disproportionate love for basketball in this basketball mecca state. Don’t you remember the great ESPN piece by that Dana O’Neill young lady? Don’t you remember her searching along Highway 50 for goal posts in cornfields? She should have took a detour to Santa Claus, Indiana, in search of Jay Cutler’s childhood home…Find tthe tire swing that hung from the family oak(the one struck by lightning)that his father mounted…The tractor tire swinging in the summer breezes and used for Jay’s wicked spirals aimed at a constantly moving target….Damn, we sure do eat, drink, and sleep football in Indiana. Place almost feels like Texas on a Friday night. You really need to stop fumbling around with hoops and a #1 team in the nation, Dustin. Bobby who? Bird who? Oscar who? Wooden who? Plump who? Milan who? Gene Hackman? Hoosier Daddy? Beat OSU on the road who?

    Yes, I can hear Seth Davis this very moment…Once Cody and Oladipo go pro this spring, the party will be over anyhow…IU should really stop with this basketball experiment. Football is where it’s at in Bloomington.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    ….. the only reason football [hasn’t] been permanently boarded up

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    1987 since our last basketball championship…26 YEARS! Almost as long as Richard Dent chasing down a Patriot QB at a Super Bowl.

    One of the most storied basketball programs in the nation with the best chance in a decade to sniff a deep tournament run…I would be perfectly content with postponing talk of Wilson’s pancake buffet chefs for another two months.

    I’m pretty sure Crean and this unique band of hoops resurrection brothers deserves 100% of the stage at this historic pivotal moment a program revitalized that only five years ago had two feet in grave and vital signs falling into such unprecedented danger levels that even the most loyal the hoops patient were making plans for a Memorial Stadium service(even a special grave site appearance by pallbearer Knight was in final planning stages).

    Yeah, I think I’m cool with sticking with hoops for a couple more months. Then we can talk of hockey, trains, pizza recipes, Mark Spitz, European vacations to Annecy, and the distant smell of fall’s burning leaves prompting football fever.

    26 years…It’s almost unfathomable. We can blame the last five on Sampson and thugs, but let’s face facts, the sun ain’t been shining on Hoosier hoops since the days Patrick Knight was our Super-Sub. And now we’re concerned with equal opportunity and some affirmative action for football coverage?

    I don’t know…That 30 point shellacking we gave that storied basketball program in West Lafayette sure felt like I just lifted 20 years of my gut. Didn’t any of the rest you feel young again. Hell, my wife looked like that Brazilian girl in my freshman American History class. Old nerves found doses of serotonin that had long given up. Now we want to talk football on the eve of March Madness. Can I please spank Purdue a couple more times first? I can’t even begin to imagine what beating Michigan or MSU on the road might feel like. I might be able to go off of Exlax. I might get regular again. My houseplants will likely get more cheerful….The dog will not lag behind on his walks…My car will start running better…My boss will grow friendly and smile at me once every two weeks. Talk football now? Only an Establishment reporter could think of anything so sacrilegious to the current hoops state of nirvana.

  • OK Harvard, We’re taking it a little overboard here. Tsao just knows that it’s the squeaking wheel that gets oiled. We’ll get the spring ball coverage rolling in a couple of weeks (Depending on scheduling, Andy will probably be carrying more of that) so we’ll be back at it.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:


    We all know he despises Crean and worships Wilson. But it’s been 26 friggin’ years.

    We have a team that’s #1 in the nation. At Penn State(obviously, before shower remodeling)did they plead for more basketball coverage on the eve of teams potentially playing for a national championship? And had their prominent football teams ever experienced a quarter century droughts from any real relevancy on the national stage?

    I know you have to provide balanced coverage, but I think enduring a couple more months of primarily hoops coverage would not prompt too many letters to the editor.

    Sorry, but I truly believe the resurgence is trivialized because of the smirking and disrespect for Tom Crean. Charlatan or preacher..or slightly better than mediocre tactician, or simply a fabulous recruiter and finder of East Coast diamonds in the rough turned into future NBA material, there is still no denying that he has brought Indiana Basketball back to the closest thing regarded as ‘prominence’ since the heyday of Bobby Knight?

    You seriously don’t believe that festers in the bellies those that forever wanted to enshrine the man and treat Bloomington as a basketball tomb in a once great hoops civilization with Knight as the final King its paradise on the Nile?

  • Podunker says:

    Harvard taking something “a little overboard here?” I’m shocked, just shocked by such an implication!

  • Podunker says:

    Tsao, #8 was a great post. Well said.

    And the thought I had when reading your post is that, by all accounts, and I think Dustin has confirmed it, Wilson is a very, very intelligent man. I don’t think Wilson suffers fools easily, so it is safe to assume that any coach he hires to be an assistant is, if nothing else, going to be a bright guy.

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    I’ve gone all Todd Linderman….It’s Linsanity!

    Yes, bring me back to earth with 6 pages of statistical gradient analysis along standard deviations and four dissertations comparing the last 20 years of pound per pound bell curves for multiple comparative size discrepancy studies covering every lineman played for Wisconsin and Indiana…Story at eleven.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Podunker, I agree completely and I won’t deny that Dustin is right as well in that there was a certain amount of oil canning in there. I was somewhat disappointed that going into a great recruiting class- some call it the greatest ever at IU- there were nearly 0 entries in Scoop that would have allowed for discussion and opinions from the different geographical areas (we are a diverse bunch). But, I hope the grease follows shortly. And I look forward to Andy’s thought and commentary…he seems to have really good insight.

    HarvardHillbilly: Where do you get the idea?…”We all know he despises Crean and worships Wilson. But it’s been 26 friggin’ years”. That surely doesn’t even begin to reflect my expressed opinion. I think I wrote here that I had reservations early but that watching the Hoosiers revive last year and the tremendous year-to-year improvement of individuals (such as Oladipo, Sheehey and Abell…) I became convinced that TC had earned our respect. Do I have questions, even different ideas (such as clock awareness, over reliance on the dribble), sure I do. (But I’m sure he knows a hell of a lot more about his craft than I do about mine). But, just as I said about Coach Wilson, this is Tom Crean’s team and all I can do is watch and accept the benefit on what he has done thus far.

    Besides, I’ve read quite a few critique- some hard,some even justified- of Coach Crean signed under the HfH screen name (perhaps someone is stealing it). If not, try to be consistent and avoid sticking a wet index finger up in the air to see where the wind is coming from, before exercising your right to an honestly held opinion. Consistency is important.

    Just as I remember the beautiful prose by Dana O’Neil describing her search for the heart and soul of Indiana hoops as she searched the curves of US50; the same piece that I seem to recall you dismissed with a very cool ‘it’s ok’- (my summary of your grade).

  • Harvard for Hillbillies says:

    Damn…I don’t even get a C+ from Professor Tsao Goldencleats?

    In all honesty, Tsao…My opinion on your feelings toward Crean seem rather justified by the way you just exploded off the thread over the Crean thing with Dustin at a Northwestern postgame press conference a few weeks ago.

    I’m not even sure if I would have jumped out of the screen like that if Crean stood up and made a crucifixion gesture upon his chest before the start of the press conference. It was as if you’re were just waiting for the right time, the right slip up, to create a huge hullabaloo over nothing.

    But it wasn’t actually nothing…Dustin stopped you from really making an a$$ out of yourself when he confided with the bloggers of Scoop the truth of the matter….the sarcastic smirk. Crean’s response was perfectly normal.

    You were ready to send in full heavy artillery. Dustin saved your butt some real embarrassment. But let’s not pretend that it didn’t expose the side of the fence you already stood(or, surely, the appearance of).

    It’s no big deal..Sometimes you just don’t feel right in the gut about a person.

  • Harvard,
    You’re starting to get Laffy-esque in your desire to start taking people on here. You’re just more eloquent about it. Let’s not start epic dragouts about nothing. Also, as I stated before, the explanation I gave about the whole press conference thing was cursory. There’s a lot I’m keeping between myself and Crean there, which I think is how it should be. If either one of you try to take sides on that argument any further, you’re out of your depth because there’s a lot you don’t know, and it’s a dead issue anyway. So, you know, stop.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    No Harvard, I actually reacted to the idea that the protocol for a press conference has to remain one of equals and not one that presupposes a coach has any justification for entitlement.

    As it were, I really did make a mistake in that part of my take on it was based on your observation (given that it would have been a repeat of an earlier exchange) and I should have known better than to rely on it. Thus, when Dustin confirmed that there was more to the episode than met the eye, I had to own up to my mistake. It doesn’t make me anything but wrong in that case, and aware that I do make mistakes and sometimes grievous ones.

    However, I also see you’ll now miss having a favorite ‘scarecrow’ to attack and argue your own frustrations with life and self doubts. Problem is HH, I’m really not interested in spending any time as Sancho Panza to someone’s Quixotic need for windmills to fight with.

    Let me know when you are ready to carry on a healthy, grown up man-to-man friend’s exchange about Hoosiers, Indiana memories and other great things. Otherwise, I pass.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Dustin, obviously I had not seen your response when I wrote mine (see time stamps). But thanks for making that clear anyway.

    I believe my note to Harvard makes that clear. As I said, I have no interest in it thus I’ll assume you are not addressing the ‘either one of you’ to me.

  • Mrs. Patmore says:

    Dustin- Harvard has always been Laffy-esque. But you calling him out is priceless, even if it was waaaay after the fact.

    I was just thinking today about Laffyish metaphors for Harvard; so funny you said that when you did!

    Harvard is a long-winded Laffy with better grammar and without the annoying capital letters. But that’s it!

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