Chris Patton is in his eighth season at Illinois State after completing six years in the highly-regarded Texas high school ranks.
In seven of his eight seasons, Patton has coached an all-conference selection on the ISU defensive line.
Three times during his Redbird tenure, Patton has mentored consensus All-America defensive ends, in Brent Hawkins, Ray Robinson and Jonathan Friend. All three have left their mark on the Illinois State record books by topping each other year-after-year for the school's top mark in sacks and tackles for loss.
Hawkins became Patton's first Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year and went on to be named the Defensive MVP at the 2006 Hula Bowl. He was also named the CollegeSportsReport.com National Defensive Player of the Year and finished second in the 2005 Buck Buchanan Award voting. Hawkins led the nation in tackles for loss and forced fumbles, while ranking No. 2 in sacks with a Valley Football Conference record 17.
The Chickasha, Okla., native also guided the Redbird punt team to three-straight top-15 national rankings, including No. 1 in 2003, after the special teams unit posted a 103 ranking in 2001.
Redbird punter Ryan Hoffman concluded his career as the school's all-time punting average leader and also capped his collegiate career with the Special Teams MVP award at the 2006 Hula Bowl.
Patton was in Dallas' Lake Highlands High School system from 1995-2000. During the 1990s, Lake Highlands was the fourth-most successful playoff program in 5A Texas football with three appearances in the semifinals and one in the quarterfinals.
He played at Oklahoma State from 1980-84, where he lettered on both sides of the ball as an offensive and defensive lineman. Patton was a member of three bowl teams at OSU, where he made appearances in the 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl, the 1984 Gator Bowl and was a redshirt on the 1981 Independence Bowl team.
Following his college career, Patton worked in the private sector, but maintained his coaching career, including a stint with a club team in Gavle, Sweden.
Patton, who graduated from OSU in 1989 with a degree in organizational administration, and his wife, Laura, have two daughters, Rachel (19) and Katie (9).