William Robert “Bob” Patterson, (Coach) was 84 years old at the time of his death on May 15, 2017. Coach was respected by many for his loving, caring attitude and magnetic personality.
Coach was born May 19, 1932, in Old Hickory, Tennessee. He graduated from Memphis State University in 1955 after transferring from the University of Tennessee. He married the love of his life, Dorothy Rose Leech in 1956 and started their family of four.
Coach grew up in New Jersey starring in every sport at Penns Grove High School, earning 13 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. In 1950, he received the William J. Miles Award for being the Outstanding High School Athlete and also received a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee where he was part of a national championship and SEC championship team. After two seasons at UT, Patterson transferred to the University of Memphis where he lettered in football his final two years. In 1953, he was named Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Player of the Year. In 1954, he was first team A.P. Little All-American and Honorable Mention All American. Upon graduation, Patterson served in the military and played for the Eglin Air Force Base team where he was named “All Air Force” and “All Service.”
After his playing days, he began his college coaching career including positions at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Memphis State, thirteen years at Vanderbilt University, and Texas Tech. In 1981, he returned to the University of Memphis as assistant coach and Athletic Director. He was also a defensive line coach for the Memphis Showboats before retiring from coaching in 1986. He has continued his involvement in football with part-time pro scouting stints for the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. Patterson’s many honors include induction to the Penns Grove Athletic Hall of Fame, All-Time Tiger Team of the University of Memphis, M Club Athletic Hall of Fame, All-American Football Foundation Little All-American and All-American Football Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for being “The Assistant Coach Who Made a Difference,” and he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Last month, he was honored by the Liberty Bowl with the Harry Zinn Award for his volunteer work for the game he loved.
After leaving his active role in coaching, the "ole ball coach" reinvented himself as a title insurance marketing representative. Bob first represented First American Title before changing to Security Title Guarantee Corporation of Baltimore. Coach was quickly promoted to Marketing Manager, and being based in Southaven, used his talents to quickly build Security Title into dominant title insurer in Mississippi. His cohorts recount that Coach never met a stranger, never passed up a meal (especially one that was to find its way onto his expense reports). With great fondness, his fellow Security Title Guarantee cohorts remember him using his recruiting techniques and spirit to gain the trust of many attorneys.
He was the younger of two children. He is survived by his wife, Dottie Patterson and his 4 children, Martha Rowan of Acworth, GA, Bill (Jill) Patterson of Allen TX, Beth (Steve) Ayres of Houston, TX and Emma (Mike) Powell of Southaven, MS. He also leaves behind 14 Grandchildren and 6 Great Grandchildren, and his sister, Jane Patterson Grum of Washington DC. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, numerous relatives and friends, and his precious dog, Ellie. He was a member of Colonial Hills Church in Southaven, MS.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 25, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Colonial Hills Church, 7701 Highway 51, Southaven, MS 38671. A memorial service will be held Friday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m. at the church. Please join the family to celebrate Coach’s Life.
In lieu of flowers please make any donations in honor of William Robert “Coach” Patterson to the following:
Methodist Hospice Residence – 6416 Quince Road, Memphis, TN 38119 or University of Memphis Tiger Scholarship Fund Designated for Football – 570 Normal Street Memphis, TN 38152