Even after 11 years, Bill Patterson’s desire to coach at Sherman High School apparently has never diminished.

Even after 11 years, Bill Patterson’s desire to coach at Sherman High School apparently has never diminished.


Bringing to a close a hiring process that lasted for more than two months, Patterson was unanimously approved Monday night by the Sherman ISD board of trustees as the 31st head football coach of the Bearcats since 1914.


Patterson was not present at Monday night’s meeting, but he was at SISD headquarters last week to fill out paperwork. Additionally, Patterson and members of his family and coaching staff have begun to follow local media on Twitter.


"It says something for the board and their support when they vote 7-0 for someone, so I’m very pleased," Sherman interim athletic director Tommy Hudspeth said. "He’s been very successful in some places that were not easy to do the things he’s done. He’s a quality man."


Superintendent Al Hambrick also lauded the vote after Monday’s meeting, saying it shows that Patterson will have broad-based community backing when he begins working in Sherman next Monday.


"It was important … that we would begin the process with whoever would be coming into the district (with) support from myself, from the school board, and from the athletic director and the high school principal and all the people that initially will be working with this coach, including the booster club," Hambrick said. "That’s one of the reasons why we involved a wider range of people in this process. We felt like that wide involvement allowed us to be more in agreement of who the person could or would be."


Patterson will also serve as athletic coordinator and will assist Hudspeth in the running of the athletic department. This is a departure from the past at Sherman, where the jobs of AD and head football coach have traditionally been combined.


"One of the things you always worry about when you split the job like this is they always wonder who the athletic director’s going to be," Hudspeth said. "(Patterson) said he didn’t care. He didn’t want to be an athletic director. He wants to coach, so that was not an issue with him.


"School districts our size are starting to split the job because there’s so many sports and so many kids involved," Hudspeth added. "It’s almost a job that’s too much for just one person."


The job of head football coach has been vacant since Jan. 17, when Gary Kinne resigned after five largely-successful but turbulent seasons.


It’s Patterson’s second time to be approved by the SISD board. In May 2003, Patterson was at the center of one of the more bizarre coach hirings in Sherman school history.


Following the departure of longtime Bearcat coach Ronnie Tipps to become athletic director at Southlake Carroll, then-superintendent Rodney Hutto employed Champions Search Firm, an organization founded by former Carroll coach and AD Bob Ledbetter, at a cost of more than $3,000. The search firm screened applicants and came up with five finalists, as the district has done once again this time.


Patterson, who at the time was head coach at Garland Naaman Forest, was initially tapped for the job, but withdrew after the board only approved his hiring by a narrow 4-3 vote.


Five days later, the board unanimously promoted Tipps’ defensive coordinator, Drew Young, who was also one of the five finalists.


Only one school board member, Cathy Renshaw, remains from the 2003 vote.


"I don’t think anything has changed from his desire to be here," Hudspeth said of Patterson. "He’s always felt like Sherman was a great coaching opportunity, and he said he’s felt like he could win a state championship in Sherman. There were other circumstances (in 2003) that people don’t know, but tonight with the 7-0 vote, that’s just confirmation that he’s the man we need, and everybody’s supporting that decision."


In the latest hiring, Patterson was all along the No. 1 choice of the search committee headed by Hudspeth after interviews concluded March 10, but according to sources close to the process, Hambrick wanted to take a look at other candidates.


Attention turned to the No. 2 choice, Jim Garfield of Wichita Falls Rider, but Garfield withdrew and accepted the head coaching job last week at Elgin. The No. 3 on the list, Todd York of Kaufman, also withdrew last week.


Patterson, a Lubbock native and 1981 Texas Tech graduate, briefly played tight end at Angelo State and has more than a decade of college coaching experience at Vanderbilt, West Alabama and UTEP. Patterson earned a Masters of Education degree at Vanderbilt, where he served as a graduate assistant from 1984-85.


At the high school level, Patterson has been head coach at Northwest since 2009 and previously also coached at Garland Naaman Forest and Canyon. He has an overall head coaching record of 94-100 over 18 seasons, with playoff trips in nine of them.


But most of his career has been spent at programs with very little football tradition.


Northwest has gone to three postseasons in Patterson’s five years there, extending the Texans’ number of all-time playoff years from five to eight.


At Naaman Forest, Patterson took over a squad that had never been to the playoffs before and only one winning record in the school’s history, and built the Rangers toward two district titles and three playoff berths, including a 10-2 mark in 2008.


"When I talked to school officials at Northwest, they really praised him for the community involvement he’s been a part of, not only in the athletics and football program but also in other areas of the school," Hambrick said. "He’s a very involved person, and so we’re looking forward to him coming in and working with our students and athletes, but also with our staff here in Sherman."


According to biographical information on the Northwest High School web site, Patterson and his wife Jill have four grown-up children — Hunter, Hayden, Heather and Houston. The youngest, Houston, graduated from Northwest last year and attends Texas Tech.


The Bearcats will open the 2014 football season on a Thursday night, Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. against Frisco Lone Star at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium.