MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is leaving for Arizona State, two sources told MetroNews on Thursday.
Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen subsequently confirmed Patterson’s departure through a statement.
“I want to thank Keith for his two years that he spent coaching in our program,” Holgorsen said. “He was a valuable member of our staff, and we wish him nothing but the best.”
Patterson’s departure means Holgorsen will enter 2014 with his fourth defensive coordinator in four seasons at WVU. Sources said Holgorsen has identified an internal candidate as Patterson’s potential successor, but the decision has not been finalized.
Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham was expected to announce the hiring of Patterson, who worked as Graham’s coordinator at Pitt during the 2011, when the Panthers’ defense ranked 35th nationally. Their friendship dates back far longer than that, however, considering they were college roommates at East Central (Okla.) University in the mid-1980s.
Upon leaving Pitt in December 2011, Graham reportedly offered Patterson a spot on the Arizona State staff, but Patterson declined in order to serve as interim coach for Pitt’s bowl game and subsequently came to West Virginia.
During national signing day activities on Wednesday, Patterson was not at the Milan Puskar Center.
Patterson served as West Virginia’s co-defensive coordinator with Joe DeForest in 2012 and officially assumed control of the defense for the Pinstripe Bowl. That unit slipped to 108th nationally in total defense (477 yards per game) and 114th in points allowed (38.08 per game).
Patterson, who also coached linebackers, ran the unit last season when it showed modest improvements, ranking 101st in total defense (455 yards per game) and 99th in scoring (33.3 points allowed).
Patterson’s future position at Arizona State was not immediately confirmed. Paul Randolph currently serves as the Sun Devils’ defensive coordinator and the only anticipated staff opening would be the departure of Joe Lorig, the cornerbacks and special teams coach.
The Sun Devils, who were 10-4 last season, won the Pac-12 South Division before falling to Stanford in the conference championship and losing to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl.