Former Memphis football player, athletic director passes

MEMPHIS, Tenn-Former Memphis Athletic Director and assistant football coach Bob Patterson passed away, Monday.

Patterson, who played at then-Memphis State in 1953 and 1954, was an Associated Press Little All-American and an honorable mention All-American. In 1953, after transferring from Tennessee, Patterson was named the Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Player of the Year at Memphis. He earned his all-American honors following his senior season in 1954, and after his graduation, served in the military and played for the Eglin Air Force Base team, where he was named “All-Air Force” and “All-Service.”

Patterson, a native of New Jersey, then went into football coaching, making stops at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt before returning to Memphis in 1981. He served as an assistant football coach and Athletic Director from 1981-1982, and then served as a defensive line coach for the Memphis Showboats before retiring from coaching in 1986.

He continued in football as a part-time scout, serving stints with the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, and the Baltimore Ravens.

For his career he has been inducted to the Penns Grove Athletic Hall of Fame, the Memphis M-Club Hall of Fame, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. In April, he was honored by the Liberty Bowl with the Harry Zinn Award for his volunteerism in the community.

Patterson’s granddaughter, Leigh Rowan, followed in her grandfather’s footsteps at Memphis, playing softball at Memphis from 2007-2010.

Funeral arrangements for Patterson are still pending.

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