The I-5 10: AC Patterson's road back to Portland State
The once-youngest coach in Division I football returned from the NFL and put together the No. 3 class in the FCS. Next up? Finding similar success as the team's new OC.
PORTLAND — It’s calm inside the Portland State football offices.
It’s not like trips to the Park Blocks are usually accompanied by fire alarms, but there’s usually something going on. Whether it’s head coach Bruce Barnum promising free beer for fans, assistant coaches installing saloon-style doors for their cubicles or someone making off with one of the practice field fences, there’s always..something.
Nothing. I’m here to meet with AC Patterson, who was named the team’s offensive coordinator earlier this year and is No. 2 in The I-5 Corridor’s series on the new faces of football around Oregon. Though Patterson gets a bit of an asterisk because he’s been here before, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Because right now?
There’s no need for chaos. It’s a perfect summer day in downtown Portland, players are running through conditioning drills on the field and when I meet a smiling Patterson it feels, for a second, like little time has passed since our last meeting in 2018. Then, he drew the short straw when Barnum allowed a reporter to tail his staff as they prepared for their season opener against Oregon. Assigned as my shepherd, Patterson led me through meetings, introduced me to players, took me to the cafeteria for lunch and shared some fascinating insight about PSU’s recruiting strategy.
He was a 26-year-old do-it-all who Barnum had hired three years earlier as the youngest position coach in Division I football. Barnum coached with Patterson’s dad, Andre, at Cornell in the early 1990s, and AC’s work on Mike Price’s staff as a student assistant at UTEP made him a ripe candidate for someone like Barnum to take a chance on.
So Barnum hired him as the team’s offensive line coach.