Patterson has been an assistant coach in Clark County for 12 years
DeWayne Patterson has been part of the Columbia River football program for years.
Now, he gets to run the Columbia River program.
The 38-year-old former Washington State Cougar safety, Patterson has accepted the position of head coach for the Rapids. It is his first varsity head coaching job.
“It means a lot. There haven’t been many coaches at Columbia River,” Patterson noted.
That’s true. The program is the epitome of stability with only seven head coaches in its 61 seasons.
Patterson talked to alumni, including Jon Eagle, who has won state championships as coach at Camas and now West Linn, Ore. It was important to Patterson to have the support of those who wore the Columbia River colors.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “I’m looking forward to taking the reins and seeing what I can do with it.”
Patterson is a student advocate, working in Vancouver Public Schools. He has an office at Columbia River High School. He said that, too, is important, being on campus.
Patterson grew up in Redlands, Calif., and came to the Northwest to play football at Washington State University. He then moved to Vancouver. He was an assistant at Evergreen for two seasons before moving to Columbia River. He has 12 total years of assistant experience, including three seasons when he was the JV head coach at River.
Patterson said he did not think he wooed anyone with his interview for the job. Instead, it has been his actions through the years at Columbia River that led to this position. He has been running the school’s weight room for eight years. He is also always one of the first on campus every day.
“I’m always there,” he said.
Patterson will be taking over for Brett Smedley, who resigned after four seasons.
“I want to put a good product on the field. When you see us, you’ll see 100-percent effort,” Patterson said. “I want people to see good football, good kids. I want to try to do my best to show the alumni some old River with a little new, things they are familiar with but add my own little flair to it.”
Columbia River football has a winning tradition but has struggled in recent years to find a winning season.
“I’m really big on tradition,” Patterson said. “I want the alumni to come out and see some old River with a little bit of new.”