Patterson set to retire after lenghty coaching career

(Photo by Lexi Rose)
Track coach Keith Patterson explains the daily workout schedule to freshman Logan Weigel and senior Ethan Proffitt.

Carpentry teacher Keith Patterson plans to retire in May in hopes of focusing on his woodworking business.
“While I’m still young and have some productive years in my life I think it’s time I try something different,” Patterson said. “I have a business started already. I plan on doing some cabinetry, some millwork, just odds and ends carpentry jobs and things like that.”
Through his tenure at Sterling High School, Patterson, a former 800-meter collegiate track athlete at Fort Hays State University, has served as coach to multiple athletic programs, including middle and high school football, boys’ basketball, and track and field.
“My first track job was in the spring of 1984,” Patterson said. “I started teaching school in the fall of 1984,” he said.
Of the reasons to coach, a couple stand out in his mind.
“Running in college at Hays probably peaked my interest in coaching,” he said. “When I went off to college I knew probably if I went into education I was going to coach.”
His coaching philosophy is one that is, in his opinion, simple and direct for the athletes to understand.
“I’ve never worried about wins and losses,” Patterson said. “I’ve always just worried about making sure we get the fundamentals and we see a progression from the time we start a season until the end.”
While coaching track he has led a few state champions, one of them being 2008 alumnus and 400-meter school record-holder Steven Fankhauser.
“He always pushed us to want to be better and didn’t settle for less than that,” Fankhauser said. “I always thought that no matter the skill level, he tried to get the most out of each of us.”
Recent 2016 alumnus Sydney Wilson credits Patterson for helping her live out her dream of running at Wichita State University.
“KP does his job and doesn’t look for loopholes to get success,” Wilson said. “He coached with tough love that was misunderstood by some, but I really appreciated it. He always pushed me to do my best and I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.”
Patterson looks forward to being free to do as he pleases.
“I’m gonna do it in a retirement state where if I need to go to work that day I’ll go to work and build something. If the golf course is calling, I might go play golf,” he said.
As he leaves the position, he hopes to give advice to new and current coaches on what he sees as the key to relationships between them and their athletes.
“It is important that coaches have the ability to adjust to the modern athlete,” he said. “Attention spans are different than they used to be. If a coach can help motivate and try to relate to their athletes more today than in years past, that could really help build a successful culture.”

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