The late, great coach John Wooden said, “A good coach can change the game, but a great coach can change a life.” This is a very influential quote for the coach newly inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame, Brian Patton. Coach Patton has been part of the Greenville University Cross Country for 25 years. When asked how he came to Greenville he said, “I was coaching at the high school level and was asked if I would take over the program and I really didn’t want to do it, but would take it for a two-year stint. Twenty-five years later, I am still going.” Coach Patton has two assistant coaches as well who help him with his workload. These gentlemen are Scott Wilson and Andrew Thomack. A big objective for Coach Patton has for his team is that they are family and are together as much as possible, so that if something goes not well for one of them, they will have their brother or sisters’ backs at all cost.
Leading both men and women could be challenging, but Coach Patton seems to have found the balance his many years here at Greenville. Knowing that he will have a lot of people on his teams every year, Coach Patton always uses the following as his go to motto during his time at Greenville. He states, “When asked for our motto, I always answer with ‘we run for a good time, for a good time.” This shows the balance of team building and friendships right along with a lot of intensity and hard work. Having that motto shows that Coach Patton preaches to his runners to have fun with all the long distances they go through at practice and, most importantly, their meets.
Underclassmen will be looking up to the four seniors Damien Cantrell, Dylan Goodyear, Noah Dir, and Kori Nesbit in the Cross Country program for leadership. Coach Patton believes in his seniors and said, “This group of men and women will be missed next year like all seniors that leave the program.” There will be a lot of juniors as well including, for men, Jacob Casey, Caleb Grunau, and Collin Kessinger, and for women, Tori Dyson and Ashleigh Brubaker. Knowing there are a lot of upperclassmen with the coaching staff that Coach Patton has will make their squad more like a family. The underclassmen will respect listen to the upperclassmen as if they were their coaches as well.
Cross Country had their first meet on September 6th and placed 3rd overall at UIS Prairie Star Invitational. Top performers were sophomore Hannah Williams and senior Kori Nesbit, who placed 10th and 12th respectfully. For men, Dylan Goodyear that placed fifth. Coach Patton is looking for a successful season and he believes if everyone stays healthy, we will keep the respective seeding this year in SLIAC.
Media by Ryan Taylor.