Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) coach Dale Patterson is stepping down as head football coach. He will remain on as the school's Athletic Director. The university says his resignation takes effect after the December Bowl Game.
"This was a very difficult decision to make, but after 43 years of coaching it was a decision that I feel is best for me and my family," Patterson said. "The hardest part was telling my players and coaches. I am very proud of these young men, and they have worked so hard to achieve so much over a short amount of time. I am a coach at heart and will continue to be a part of NEO Athletics as I will remain on staff as the AD."
Patterson returned to Red Robertson field in 2011 with a goal to turn the NEO football program around. He accomplished that goal in just two seasons. This year Patterson led the Golden Norsemen to a 9-2 season, earned title of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference regular season champions and is taking the Golden Norsemen to the Citizens Bank Bowl game in December.
The Norsemen had not been invited to a bowl since 2005.
"Coach Patterson has accomplished exactly what I asked him to do 18 months ago when we visited about his return to coach the NEO Football team; restore the great tradition of Golden Norsemen football. He's been a winner at every level during his career and has re-established NEO as a national title contender," said Dr. Jeff Hale, NEO A&M College President. "I am thrilled that these young men got the opportunity to learn and play under Coach P. this year. He and I will work closely together as we seek to find a new head coach who can continue the momentum that he has built."
The university says the process to select a new head coach will start immediately.