University of South Florida Head Coach Alex Golesh has named Clay Patterson as the Bulls’ tight ends coach.
An architect of record-setting offenses at the junior college level, Patterson comes to USF after serving a season as tight ends coach and passing game coordinator at Colorado (2022), adding offensive coordinator duties for the final seven games of the 2022 season.
“Clay has had great success coaching tight ends on the FBS level and has directed some of the fastest paced and most explosive offenses in college football both as a head coach and coordinator in junior college,” Golesh said. “Our unique relationship goes back to recruiting many of his players from junior college and watching his development of tight ends at both Colorado and Minnesota. I am very excited to add his knowledge and abilities to our offensive staff room, and welcome him and his wife, Ashley, to our Bulls family as we build one of the most exciting programs in college football.”
Patterson arrived at Colorado after four seasons coaching tight ends at Minnesota (2018-21). During the last two years with the Gophers, he worked under Mike Sanford, who he followed to Colorado when Sanford was named CU’s offensive coordinator. Patterson has been a part of winning programs wherever he has coached, as his teams have compiled a 144-81 record in 223 games across three levels of college football
In 2021, he coached Ko Kieft, one of three tight ends in the nation that earned 80-plus grades both as a receiver and run-blocker by Pro Football Focus. In 2020, behind the offensive line and UM’s bruising tight ends, Mohamed Ibrahim set school records in rushing yards per game (153.7), consecutive 100-yard games (8) and touchdowns in consecutive games (8). In 2019, Minnesota’s tight ends were part of one of the most prolific offenses in school history as the Gophers amassed 5,616 yards of total offense (the school’s third-most ever), threw for a school-record 3,293 yards and scored their second-most points (443) in the modern era.
During Patterson’s at Minnesota, the Gophers went 30-16 and were undefeated in three bowl games, winning the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl over Georgia Tech, the 2020 Outback Bowl over Auburn, and the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bowl over West Virginia.
Prior to his first FBS position at Minnesota, Patterson served as head coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (2016-17), where he led the Norsemen to a 14-8 record. After going 5-5 in his first season, NEO A&M went 9-3 and claimed its first Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) title since 2003, along with playing in its first bowl game since 2012. Patterson was named the SWJCFC Coach of the Year as his team was an offensive powerhouse, averaging 524.5 yards (253.8 rushing, 270.6 passing) and 36.2 points per game.
Patterson spent three years as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Trinity Valley Community College (2013-15) in Athens, Texas. He helped coach the team to five SWJCFC championships (three regular season and two playoff crowns), in addition to a pair of Heart of Texas Bowl championships. In 2015, his offense broke the all-time yards per game record at any level of football, averaging an astounding 656.1 yards per game. His 2014 team set two other National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) records for total plays and yards in a single season (938 and 7,778, respectively). In 35 games on the Trinity staff (30-5 record), his offenses scored 50 or more points 23 times (13 60-plus efforts and eight of 70 or more), overall averaging 54 points and 604 yards per game.
Patterson was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (2007-12) for six seasons. His Javelina offense broke 28 individual and 17 team passing records, as it claimed a share of the Lone Star Conference championship in 2009 and made two playoff appearances. He arrived at Kingsville after coaching the receivers for one year at Tarleton State (2006).
Patterson was a tight end at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (1999 and 2000) for two seasons before finishing his career at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he played wide receiver the following two seasons and earned his bachelor’s degree in health, human performance and recreation in 2003. He began his coaching career later that year at SE OSU, serving as wide receivers coach for the Savage Storm (2003-05) for three seasons while earning his master’s degree in Education Technology in 2005.
A native of Morris, Okla., he lettered in football and basketball at Morris High School. He is married to the former Ashley Holt.