Jack Patterson was a long-time track & field coach at the University of Houston, Baylor University, and the University of Texas, where his teams compiled outstanding records of success.
Patterson competed as an intercollegiate athlete for Rice University (then Rice Institute) in the 1930s, graduating in 1939 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Southwest Conference (SWC) individual championship in track.
After high school coaching stints at Merkel and San Angelo (TX), he became the first track & field coach at the University of Houston in 1950. By his second year, Patterson’s Cougars finished as runners-up at the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, a feat they repeated two more times before Patterson left Houston in 1954.
Patterson’s next coaching job took him to Baylor in 1956. By 1960, he had won his first of three Southwest Conference track titles with the Bears. He was subsequently named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year for all sports, Baylor’s first non-football coach to win that honor.
In 1963, Patterson left Baylor to become track coach for the University of Texas where he won three more Southwest Conference team titles. Among Patterson’s athletes at Texas was distance runner Richard Romo, who held the UT school record in the mile for 42 years and is now the President of the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Patterson returned to Baylor in 1971 to begin a nine-year tenure as athletic director. When he took over the position, the school had one of the most disregarded programs in the Southwest Conference. That year, Patterson hired Grant Teaff as head football coach, and three years later, Baylor won its first SWC football title in 50 years. In 1980, Patterson was elected to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame; he retired as athletic director that same year.
For his many accomplishments as a coach and administrator, Patterson is a member of the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, as well as the Baylor University and Rice University Athletics Halls of Fame.