Mesa football team adds Patton as defensive coordinator

One of Colorado Mesa football coach Russ Martin’s former players is coming back to be his assistant.

Marcus Patton agreed to replace Todd Auer as the Mavericks’ defensive coordinator. Patton arrived in town Friday and already is teaching his defense to returning players.

“He’s an outstanding person and coach,” Martin said. “He’s had a great experience both as a coordinator and in the high schools. The places he’s been, he’ll bring a great background in coaching and recruiting. He’s a great fit.”

Patton, 31, coached at the NCAA Division I and II levels, high school and with the Miami Dolphins as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Internship focusing on the secondary and special teams.

“The defensive philosophy I bring in is different than Coach (Todd) Auer’s,” Patton said. “I play pretty aggressive. It’s a 3-4 defense, but we have flexibility to do a lot of different things. We’ll give people a lot of different looks. There are some similarities to what Coach Auer does. With what we have personnel-wise, we can do some great things.”

Patton was the defensive coordinator at Division II Fairmont State (W.Va.) University last season. The Fighting Falcons were 3-7 and were ranked 43rd in total defense (348.1 yards per game), right behind Adams State and one spot better than Colorado Mines. Mesa finished 100th.

“We did some good things,” Patton said. “Most of the season we were ranked 22nd in the nation in defense until the last game.”

Patton grew up in St. Louis. He went to Southeast Missouri State University out of high school and played running back in Martin’s offense. Martin was the offensive coordinator there from 2000 to 2004.

“I always kept in touch with Coach Martin and had a good relationship,” Patton said. “I’ve been in contact with Russ for the 14 years I’ve known him. He’s tried to hire me before, but he didn’t have a position available. I’ve always wanted to work for him. All the stars aligned this time. I’ve looked at some film of the guys he’s got. They’ve done a good job recruiting.”

Patton transferred to Kansas State, where he was a three-year letterwinner (2001-03) and was on the 2003 Big 12 Championship team. Patton played safety for the Wildcats. He received the Purple Pride Award in 2002 as the top defensive walk-on.

He signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in 2004, but he was released. He played briefly in the Arena Football League before returning to his hometown to start his coaching career at Clayton High School, where he won a state title. Patton left there for a coaching job at a Florida high school. He coached five years at Lakeland High School and won three state titles.

Patton took a graduate assistant job with the University of South Florida and worked under current Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.

Patton left South Florida for Indiana State, but before he started he received an offer to be a graduate assistant cornerbacks coach at UCLA in 2011.

The next year, Patton got a full-time job at Seton Hill (Pa.) University as the defensive backs coach. The head coach was fired after an 0-11 season. Patton became the interim head coach and had to do the recruiting and day-to-day operations. In the spring, he got the defensive-coordinator job at Fairmont State.


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