Patrick faces challenges as North's new football coach

Douglas Fritz • Mar 23, 2018 at 11:23 PM

It’s not the brightest future a coach could hope to have, but Preston Patrick is embracing the challenge.

Sullivan North, which has only two more years before it closes, selected the 39-year-old Patrick as the school’s new head football coach. He replaces longtime coach Robbie Norris, who recently resigned and will be the school’s athletic director.

“That’s a real big reason I wanted to do it,” said Patrick, a Kingsport native who has been on the Raiders’ staff for 15 seasons. “Being on the staff, I thought the kids needed someone who was familiar with them and could provide stability going into this situation.”

Patrick has been on staff through some of North’s best years. Included in that mix is last year’s Region 1-2A championship season. North also won a playoff game, beating Cumberland Gap (22-15) before losing to Rockwood (29-20). North finished with a record of 8-4.

Looking forward there is a gray cloud on the horizon.

“We have been successful,” said Patrick. “But it’s just not North anymore, it’s the whole county in the same boat. You only have one opportunity to play high school football, so we’re going to try to make it the best opportunity we can for them, and the best experience.”

Patrick said he will keep North’s wing-T offense.

“We will keep the same approach we’ve been successful with,” said Patrick. “The kids know it, so we will stay with the same system.”

North graduated some key players, but returnees like Dale Potter, Yancy Dolan, Kyle Fields and Zach Scott give Patrick hopes for a good season in 2018.

“I am excited about it,” he said.

Patrick said his promotion to head coach is not as important as the kids.

“I was very content being an assistant, but I just want to provide stability,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. I want to make it about the kids.”

Patrick said he will have two types of coaching approach.

“I consider myself conservative on offense and aggressive on defense,” he said. “We will try to keep things simple and let the kids play fast.”

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