New football coach and alumnus Mario Patton, despite strict COVID-19 rules, still makes connections with athletes

Standing+on+the+practice+field+after+an+intense+scrimmage%2C+new+football+coach+Mario+Patton+is+adjusting+to+the+new+playing+style+at+West.+Patton+energizes+the+team+everyday+with+his+personality.+%E2%80%9C+I+want+our+kids+to+think+of+me+as+one+of+the+most+passionate+coaches+that+they+have+been+around%2C+also+someone+who+truly+cares+about+the+best+interests+of+kids%2C%E2%80%9D+Patton+said.+%E2%80%9CWhen+it+is+business+time+I+think+the+kids+know+the+difference.%E2%80%9D

Courtesy of: Jeff Duncan

Standing on the practice field after an intense scrimmage, new football coach Mario Patton is adjusting to the new playing style at West. Patton energizes the team everyday with his personality. “ I want our kids to think of me as one of the most passionate coaches that they have been around, also someone who truly cares about the best interests of kids,” Patton said. “When it is business time I think the kids know the difference.”

Handing off his knowledge to football athletes, coach Mario Patton is the new running back coach.

Patton has coached for 16 years, but this year is more meaningful than others.

I had an opportunity to come home and coach at my alma mater. I could not pass on this opportunity,” Patton said. “It has been the experience of a lifetime so far, not many people get this opportunity.” 

Patton originally coached wide receivers, defensive backs and kickoff and punt returners at Ritenour High School.

“I think the kids feel like I am a ‘players’ coach’ who is fun, but serious about getting the best out of our student athletes,” Patton said. “My goals are simple, take advantage of the time that we have together.  Also I would like for us to stay healthy and win.”

Patton is also related to junior Ja’marion Wayne, who is coming off a season where he broke records.

“Coming back to West is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. This is my dream coaching job.

— alumnus Mario Patton

“Being able to coach a family member is really unbelievable because in all of my coaching years, I have never had that opportunity,” Patton said. “His mom and I are cousins, but we grew up more like brother and sister.”

Restrictions like having to stand six feet apart and wear a face mask have made it difficult to interact with players, but Patton connects with his personality.

“I will continue to build relationships with our student athletes by staying engaged during practices, drills and working around the setbacks that occur on the field,” Patton said. 

Patton is now set to get started working with football athletes. 

“I remember the call from Mr. Kessler stated that everything was finalized. I was so excited because this is a dream come true. I have always wanted to come back to my home school to give back and go through some of the same experiences that I did,” Patton said. “Coming back to West is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. This is my dream coaching job.”