MOBILE, Ala (WKRG)
A pioneer of the game of soccer in Mobile, Roy Patton will be inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 2.
A native of Northern Ireland, Patton arrived in Mobile at the University of South Alabama in 1980 to take over a men’s soccer program that had played just one season. Over the next 15 years, Patton would establish the Jaguars as one of the nation’s top programs.
“Playing for him was an amazing experience,” said Ron Brill, a member of some of Patton’s early teams at USA. “He created a bond among players that still exists today.”
As head coach at USA, Patton had 14 consecutive NCAA Division 1 winning seasons and his team won the Sun Belt Conference five times. Patton was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year six times! His career mark at South Alabama was 202-81-20.
In fact, his teams were so good that their success inadvertently led to the demise of the USA men’s soccer program.
“The Sun Belt was changing membership and we had to go to an independent schedule,” said then USA Athletics Director Joe Gottfried.”We were too good. Nobody wanted to play us and it was next to impossible to schedule any home games.”
Patton took his coaching expertise to the University of Vermont where he coached eight years (1996-2003). He posted five winning seasons, was twice conference runner-up, and was named the America East Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000. His 2000 Catamounts team made the NCAA tournament.
After a spell as Athletic Director at Plattsburgh State (NY), Patton returned to the Gulf Coast, coaching the men’s team at the University of Mobile from 2011-2013. His 2012 UM squad won the SSAC Conference Championship and reached the NAIA National Championship Game. In three years leading the Rams, Patton’s teams posted a 42-17-3 record and qualified for two NAIA National Championship tournaments. Ram player Deshorn Brown went on to a career in MLS and international soccer.
In 27 collegiate seasons, Patton’s teams made 11 conference championship games. He received 10 conference coach of the year awards and compiled an overall collegiate coaching record of 369 – 167 – 7.
Patton received his bachelor’s of physical education and biology from Queens University in Belfast. He received his master’s of education from the University of South Alabama and a doctorate of education in sports management from the U.S. Sports Academy in Daphne.
The Mobile Sports Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony is Thursday, May 2 at the Battle House Hotel. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased at MobileSportsHallofFame.net Joining Patton in the MSHF Class of 2019 are Luis Gonzalez, the late Rea Schuessler, Danny Sheridan, Nyla Shepherd, and Rick Trickett. All inductees will be featured in the coming days on News 5 and wkrg.com